Gertie’s New Book

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.

8 thoughts on “Gertie’s New Book

  1. Karin

    I’ve seen a few garments made from this book on different blogs. All of them were complaining about fitting problems! You might want to be careful if you decide to make something from it…

    1. Stacy

      I think garment patterns in books seem to have more fit issues than ‘commercial’ ones. The Built by Wendy series had considerable fit problems so I tend to make muslins when I work out of a book. I do have my heart set on the Tiki Dress (think ’50’s luau) – let’s hope I don’t have to make too many changes.

      1. Karin

        You are right about making the muslin! I rarely have the time to make a muslin and just hope for the best when I start a new project! Thank goodness it works out most of the time 🙂

  2. Leila

    As you know, I haven’t had any fitting issues. I’ve made 3 pencil skirts, a version of the Tiki Dress (bodice and pencil skirt), and muslined the coat dress with no big fitting problems. The only one that gave me grief was the Portrait blouse but I figured out how to work that pattern.

    Another thing to notice is that the final pattern measurements aren’t anywhere in the book or on the patterns, so people should measure first before choosing a size.

    1. Stacy

      That’s good to know – I always rely on the finished garment measurements to know which size to make. Although her designs seem like they don’t have a ton of ease so maybe I’ll be more true to size.

      1. Leila

        They definitely has less ease. I still had to adjust because I usually assume Big 4 ease. Can’t wait to see your tiki dress!

    2. Karin

      Thanks for letting me know! I really wanted to get this book but refrained from buying it because of the fit issues… I think I am going to see if my library has it. 🙂

      1. Leila

        Karin, I totally recommend getting it from the library. My library has some awesome books and checking them out has saved me from spending money on books that, turns out, I didn’t really have any use for or, like the Built by Wendy: Coats, would probably never use.

Comments are closed.