1940s | 1950s | Blouses | Dresses | Shirts

Sewing Through Gertie’s New Book

February 22, 2013

I’ve been having a fun time sewing my way through Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, and enjoying the vintage flair it’s adding to my wardrobe. I’ve found the construction fairly simple, although not suited to the absolute beginner. Her suggestions for vintage construction techniques are a great resource for knowing how to make true-to-period pieces, although you may want to look elsewhere for detailed technical instructions if said techniques are new to you.

I started with her basic high-waisted pencil skirt pattern to sew my autumnal wool pencil skirt. I followed all of her suggested construction techniques including boning the waistband and hand-picking the zipper. I’m madly in love with that skirt! I took the same pattern and added scallops to bottom and top to make my red scalloped pencil skirt. I’m wearing it with the bow-neck-blouse, which I also quite like, although I futzed with the collar quite a bit to keep it from choking me. Finally, I’ve made the shirtwaist dress. Although there are several changes I want to make for the next time, I’m happy with the result. I’ll definitely continue to sew my way through book, so there will be more to come.

One of the best parts of the book, in my opinion, is how she has sized her patterns. She’s based them on her body type – an unassuming bust and noticeable hips – which is perfect for me. I’ve found that I need to do only minor modifications to make the patterns fit me well (other than adding on quite a bit of length, but I have to do that with everything). If you are busty, you will probably need to make full-bust-adjustments, and if you don’t have a rear, you’ll need to cut down on some of the shaping.

I’m always happy to share more opinions, so feel free to ask. I have tutorials planned for some of the construction techniques used on these pieces, so keep an eye on SeamstressErin.com if you’re interested. Hearts! -e

  1. Wow love these well done, I’m just doing Gerties Shirtwaist dress now, yours looks fantastic I can’t wait to finish mine now too. My first time at bound buttonholes.

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