When Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing first came out, I was on the fence about buying it – mostly because my style is far from ‘vintage’. However, after reading a few reviews and seeing several garments made from the book, I decided to add it to my ‘wishlist’… Thankfully, Santa delivered!
The first portion of the book is well written, gives good advice on fitting and tailoring, and discusses ‘essential techniques’ (a variety of hand stitches, buttonholes, zippers, and seam finishes), but I found that this book is not quite as ‘couture’ as stated in the title. Yes, there are elements that are considered couture that you may incorporate into your finished garment, but I wouldn’t necessarily compare it to a Chanel jacket. What I liked best about this section of the book (aside from the information) is the relaxed tone of the writing – I feel like I’m in a class versus reading a technical manual… you get the same great information without having to decipher technical lingo.
The best part of these types of books are the patterns inside. Gertie’s book contains 10 different designs, some with variations to each style to create a different look. Although the patterns are considered ‘vintage’, they have a modern feel that I’m even attracted to. I can’t speak as to how they sew up yet, but from glancing at some of the directions, many of the designs should be easy to stitch up. Be prepared, however, the patterns overlap some when tracing -although not as badly as what you might find in a Burda or Ottobre magazine. There are also no line drawings included, just the finished garment on the model, so be prepared to examine each design closely if you rely on the technical drawings to determine if you’re likely to sew something up.
The Bottom Line: A good book to have on the bookshelf, good information and cute patterns, just don’t expect your garment to be ‘true’ couture.