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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gertie's Sheath Dress Pattern Review

I made a dress from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. Here is Gertie's version.  I love the color and the fit.  This dress called to me!
 I chose a stretch cotton sateen for my fabric.  The fabric had been in my stash for a long time.  I got it at Mood in Los Angeles almost two years ago.  It was so precious to me that I didn't cut into it because I didn't want to ruin it, which was beginning to get silly.  The fabric is no good unless you use it.
In the book, she has a sweetheart neckline, which I am rarely a fan of.  I modified the neckline to a square - she gives instructions on how to go about this, which I found very useful.
 I love the patterns in Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. This is the third dress I have made from that book.  The first one was her Wiggle Dress and the second one was the Shirtwaist Dress.  All of them are flattering and perfect for my body type.  I know that some people have complained that if you don't have curves, the patterns are hard to fit, but since I have a fuller figure, I made almost no adjustments to get these to fit.
 I made a fabric belt from a belt kit I found at a thrift shop in my Grandma's home town.  She volunteered there for years and it was nice to purchase and use something from it.  It really finishes the dress.
 I made a lapped zipper.  There are lapped zipper tutorials everywhere out there, but the best one I have found is the free one available from Craftsy. It is Mastering Zipper Techniques with Sunni Standing.  She uses a technique I haven't seen anywhere else and it is really great.  Watching the video is also free!
 I lined the dress with 100% cotton. I wanted it to be breathable since it is a warm-weather dress.  I only lined the bodice
 Here is a side view.  I matched the flower patterns completely on the back, but I didn't do that on the sides.  My main concern was just not getting two white dots over my breasts.  It's happened to me before and I didn't have enough fabric to start over.
Now for the pattern review.
The good: I love this dress.  I wouldn't change a thing about the pattern.  The only thing about how it wears is the fabric.  The cotton sateen grew a size or two when I wore it for a day.  It was nice to have extra room after a large dinner, but overall, that isn't really ideal.  I'll have to find a fabric with give, but that doesn't grow out of control.  Suggestions welcome.

The complaints: Once again, I am not a fan of how the pattern pieces are all drawn on the same pieces of paper.  The pieces are overlapping and it is sometimes difficult to follow the right lines.  Not impossible, but kind of a pain. Once you get through that, it is easy and worth it.

Here is Gertie's first book (which I highly recommend).

Housekeeping:  I have been meaning to write a review of Gertie's newer book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual for awhile, but have been hesitant.  The sewing community is so positive (which is what makes you awesome) but this review isn't.  I pre-ordered this book and was so excited to get it, but I couldn't have been more disappointed.  She discussed on her blog that she lost weight and I suspect that it really made a difference in the type of patterns she produced.  NONE of the patterns looked like they were flattering for fuller figures.  Sure, there are some plus-size models in the book, but the clothes really looked terrible on these beautiful models.  Only buy this book if you don't have curves. It would also be useful to be a size six.  It could be that I am just experiencing the opposite of what less curvy girls thought of the first book.

I have also been procrastinating on another review... I ordered a lingerie kit from Gertie's Etsy store some time ago and was disappointed in the customer service.  It arrived very late (four weeks later than promised) and several of my emails were never answered - when it was only a week late, I noticed a new color came in and asked if I could switch.  Then a couple of weeks later I inquired again about the order.  I never heard back at all.  I understand if a switch can't be made, but customer emails should be answered.

I was such a Gertie fan and it is so disappointing to see.  I am sad to say I am not in a hurry to get any more of her products. Has anyone else experienced any of this? 

Thanks for reading - can't wait to hear what all of you think about the second book or if I am way off the mark about the customer service. 


  1. Cute dress. I really like the fabric print. I'm hesitant to make anything with a wide/deep front and back neckline because I don't like it when the shoulders in a garment move around too much. I have Gretchen's first book but have yet to make anything out of it. I just don't like the way she finishes her garments. I know that she is doing it the vintage way, but I prefer a more robust garment.
    I was going to buy her second book, but after I flipped through it in a book store it left me feeling very underwhelmed.
    It's sad that your fangirl-dom has been dashed by your bad customer service experience, but thank you for doing an honest review of your experience. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I complained about it, but it didn't stop me from just buying her fabric at Joanns. It was just so flowery I couldn't stick to my guns...


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