Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Patterns by Gertie and Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

Those who know my sewing obsessions best know that I love Gretchen Hirsch. She writes the Blog for Better Sewing, has her own line of patterns, Patterns by Gertie, for Butterick, as well as having two fantastic books, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. Also according to her blog there is going to be a third book that is chalk full of dresses. EEP, I'm so excited!

Now that I've run through Gertie's pedigree for those who were unfamiliar, let me tell you why I am in love. I have never had such an easy fit from any complete collection of patterns. When I was 25 lbs heavier they fit fantastic, with the exception of shortening the hem I could walk into my size with minimal alts and it's even easier now that I've shed the extra pounds. Plus with the vintage flair of her esthetic is so firmly in my wheelhouse it's ridiculous!

Recently Gertie announced the release of her own fabric line and along with it she announced a contest using her Butterick Patterns. To this point I hadn't made one of her Butterick patterns. I'd only ever used the patterns from her book. Well the contest and Butterick Patterns being on sale at Joann's inspired me to give it a whirl.

I must disclaim here and tell you that I am not one of the finalists for the contest but I really love my dresses so at least I have three gorgeous ne dresses to keep me warm at night. I made three dresses, two versions of Butterick B6094 and one of Butterick B6019.



They were both really enjoyable to make but I think that the strapless one may be my spirit animal. It was just so right. B6094 was really breezy to make. It goes together super quick and the fold backs look really clean and satisfying.

This first black version of B6094 was my answer to the little black dress. It was easy to wear and had a clean Audrey Hepburn quality to it. The black is a cotton blend shirting and the pattern fabric is a cotton sateen. I got them both from Joanns and the sateen was even on the clearance rack and on top of it was 50% off. I think I got it for $3.50.

I added a few embellishments which were not on the original pattern plan. I did the flat piping at the underbust and waist seaming. I also used horsehair braid on the hem to give it a really satisfying swish and flow.

I love how this pattern shows off my tattoo. This tattoo was my very first by the way.

The second version I did of B6094 was out of this really great patterned fabric. There were a few challenges with this one initially. First and foremost I didn't have quite enough fabric to start with let alone extra fabric to pattern match. I laid it out very carefully and marked everything out before I cut anything. I painstakingly matched the pattern on the center back seam. My mother always told me that how you could tell a garment was of a good quality was if the pattern matched across the seams.

The foldbacks are out of a natural linen and the fabric is Pernilla's Journey Linen Blend Parrot JungleVanilla, (the link is to another colorway of the same pattern, the don't have any of this colorway left.) I got it from  On this version again I did the flat piping on the waist and underbust seams. I think that doing it here helped to break up the heaviness of the pattern and kept it from being overwhelming. I also did covered buttons out of the patterned fabric to go on the fold backs.

Also just on a side note I look just like my mom in this picture. There is a picture of her here, in my post recommitting.

This is the slim version of this skirt. I really like it and it's not overly slim so it still has great movement.

Do you see that pattern matching down the center back!!!


The next dress was my favorite, my spirit animal, and the one I should've submitted to the contest but alas I didn't, I chose the patterned dress. Ah well no use crying over spilt milk. I still LOVE this dress!

This dress was one of the more complicated patterns I've done. It had shirring much like the Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress I wrote about on my post Humbled by a Dress. The difference here is that rather than six rows of shirring there were two big panels of it. It also had these fabulous shaped bust cups. It fits like a dream and the shirring really helps it snug right up to the body. This is a super sexy dress and I would absolutely make it again.

The fabric was another cotton sateen clearance rack find from Joann's. My mom gave me a Joann's gift card for Christmas which allowed me to go a little hog wild at the beginning of the year.

Again this is another instance where I look like my mom and my grandmother. I love the romance of this dress.

I had so much fun sewing these dresses. As you can see I also had fun shooting them. My friend was looking to get back into photography and very kindly offered to shoot for me. She is really talented (obviously) and took these great shots. Not to mention the fact that we were out living it up a bit in the process. We had a blast, so much fun in fact that we're shooting again this evening. More posts about my latest creations soon!


  1. I also love Gertie's designs and I'm making many of the garments in the books. Your dresses look superb and it makes me want to sew them for the warmer weather.

    1. Oh my goodness Elena, I am totally sewing for the warmer weather. I think the temperature is like 4 degrees and I'm like, "Ooh I could use a new bathing suit, I've never made one of those". In case my ode to Gertie's patterns wasn't obvious enough by my post I really love her patterns. They just fit me so right. Are there any patterns or pattern collections you've tried that maybe I should take a look at?

    2. I've made the 40s style blouse 4 times because it suits my style and shape, and I wear pants very often:

      It's quite easy to make and I didn't need any adjustment. I think Gertie's proportions are a bit similar to mine (but with a different size) so I find that the sizing works well for me.

    3. I've made that one too! It's really flattering. If I could have one magic christmas wish I would have a copy of her full measurement sheet. Everything I've ever made fits with only the most minor alterations. I love her patterns, well I mean, clearly.