Tag Archives: Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing

Book: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

I’m sure if you read sewing blogs, you have come across the awesome Gertie, or Gretchen Hirsch, whose excellent New Blog for Better Sewing is a great resource for all things vintage ahd home-sewn. I have her first book, Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing and although I’ve only made one pattern from it, it is a great resource for information about fabric, fitting and how to alter patterns to make variations and lots of other things. So I eagerly asked for the new book for my birthday back in November and my lovely boyfriend bought it for me.

Gertie-Sews-Vintage-Casual-1 Like with the first book, there is a lot of great information in the front about fitting sportswear, so it’s definitely worth having both books as they cover different types of garments.


I’m definitely going to use the tips on fitting pants/trousers when I finally tackle some!

Gertie-Sews-Vintage-Casual-5Who is your vintage casual icon? I’m definitely more 50s than 60s, but I need to study the types a bit more to decide for sure.


There is a great overview of the styles of clothes from the past – I love the drawings in Gertie’s books and I pretty much want the whole wardrobe drawn below!

Gertie-Sews-Vintage-Casual-3And, of course, no modern sewing book would be complete without a lot of patterns included! I think I prefer the patterns more in this book than the first as I think more of them could fit into my style. As much as I love the idea of a big, swishy 50s dress, I just don’t think they’re really me – I’m more of a 60s shift-type.

I love the 40s style blouse! I like that it’s not overly fitted.


And there are 2 variations – sleeveless, which I actually like, even though I’m not generally drawn to sleeveless blouses.


And the bomber jacket is a variation of the blouse! Mind blown! It just does to show, the possibilities really are endless when it comes to making your down clothes!


I really like this cute little knit top – when I get around to sewing with knits, this will definitely be on my list!


I like this little scoop neck sweater, too. I love me some sparkles!


I’m not totally convinced by the cigarette pants – though possibly it’s just the tartan putting me off.


But the variations include pedal pushers, which were popular in the 60s, and the flared shorts are really cute!


The sailor shorts and jeans variations are also great. I’m not sure I could pull off the sailor shorts, but I do think they’re cute!



This basic knit pencil skirt is nice too – I have the Colette Mabel skirt to have a go at, but this one might make it onto my to-make pile one day!


I like the one-shouldered romper, though I’m not sure I’d have the balls to wear it. And I’m not sure Britain really gets the weather for it, for more than a couple of weeks!


I absolutely love the sweetheart neckline romper. I’m coming around to the idea of rompers/ jumpsuits and have the Holly Jumpsuit on my pile, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I think one-shouldered is a bit much, but with 2 shoulders/ straps, I think it’s doable!


Gertie has a new book due, just about dresses! I think I definitely will be buying that one!

Do you have this book, or do you think you’ll buy it? Are you looking forward to the dress book?

Gertie’s Bow Tied Blouse

I finally finished my Gertie Bow Tied Blouse, which I blogged about wanting to make frickin’ ages ago! I bought the fabric in one of the cheap fabric shops in Walthamstow. The first time I went there  (when I bought this fabric), I couldn’t believe a lot of the things were under £2 per metre! I only got a couple of things on that trip and one of them was this shiny navy blue teeny polka dot fabric. I didn’t realise it was so shiny as it was rolled with the wrong side out on the roll. I kind of like the shiny-ness though, which is lucky!


I think like the other bloggers who I’ve seen have made this pattern, I had issues with the neck being waaaay to small for any human! I measured it at one point and it was only 7 inches around – compared to my actual neck, which I’ve just measured, which is 12.5 in! I didn’t make a muslin because this fabric was cheaper than calico, so it seemed a waste of money and time to make one. So I just hacked at the collar once the blouse was mostly together. I can’t now remember how much I cut off, which is annoying because I wanted to make this again. If I make it again, I’ll re-draft the neckline to make it at least 12.5in round! I think I might make the neck tie a little longer too as I feel like the bow is a bit too small.


Apart from the neck causing me problems, the rest of the blouse came together really easily. It is made up of not many pieces, with the sleeves a part of the front and back pieces (so no annoying easing of sleeves into shoulders). The only reason this took me so long to finish is because I got to the point of only needing to hem it and do the button holes and sew on the buttons. But when I’ve done button holes on my machine before, they haven’t been great – mainly I think because I don’t have a buttonhole foot (don’t judge me, I’m going to get one…..one day!). But actually they were okay. I didn’t use the placements from the pattern, I just measured how long the back was and spaced the buttons equally, as I think some people mentioned the bottom button was a bit too high.


Looking at this photo, I think I need to alter the position of the neck-band if I make it again – when it’s done up, it’s all to one side!

I made a size 8 this time, but I think if I make it again I might cut out the size 10 instead as I think I would prefer the fit with a bit more ease. I think I would also add an extra inch or 2 to the length as although it looks okay with my new yellow skirt (blog post to follow), and with my jeans which have a fairly high waste, I think it might show a bit too much tummy with any bottoms with a lower rise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Sorry for the odd expression here – I look stoned!)

Overall, though, I’m pretty pleased with it. And I’ve worn it to work twice and got compliments on it both times, which is awesome, because then you can say ‘what, this thing – oh I made it’ and look at the look of surprise on their faces! definitely more of these to come!