Q&A with Gertie, plus win Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing!

gertie 266x300 Q&A with Gertie, plus win Gerties New Book for Better Sewing!

Happy Free Stuff Friday! Today we’re SUPER excited to be giving away a copy of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch and published by STC Craft!

If you’re a fan of Gertie’s already, you know that she’s the creator of one of the web’s most popular sewing blogs: Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. Gertie started the blog in 2009 to share her progress as she stitched her way through all 14 designs in the classic ’50s sewing book, Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing. The blog quickly became a fantastic resource for couture and vintage sewing techniques, tutorials and “sew-alongs,” as well as Gertie’s fascinating observations about culture and fashion. Her new book is an excellent extension of the blog that includes an fantastic collection of nine patterns to create your own vintage-inspired wardrobe. She’ll also be appearing this season on Sew it All TV showing how to add a personal touch to garments with different trims.

gertie2 300x207 Q&A with Gertie, plus win Gerties New Book for Better Sewing!

Gertie & Ellen on the Sew It All set

Gertie was nice enough to answer some questions about her new book for our giveaway today and even shared her favorite sewing advice!

SN: What attracts you to vintage sewing techniques and patterns?

Gertie: I love the glamour of it all–the artwork on ’50s pattern envelopes is irresistible. But beyond that, I’m into “slow sewing.” There’s something so romantic about the old dressmaking and tailoring traditions, especially when we have such an emphasis on “quick and easy” in the modern world.

SN: Tell us about how you structured your new book to help sewists learn couture methods.

Gertie: The first half of the book is focused completely on technique. I start with the basics in one chapter–seam finishes, hems, etc. And then an entire chapter is reserved for more advanced techniques, like using steel boning and tailoring a coat. It was also important to me to put a strong emphasis on teaching beginning patternmaking–drafting a facing, changing a neckline–so that readers felt they could put their own spin on the book’s patterns. The second half of the book is the patterns–nine designs ranging from a simple blouse up to a tailored suit jacket. Even in the easier projects like the pencil skirt, I give a range of skills–for instance, you can start simple and use fusible interfacing. Once you’ve got that down, you can follow the instructions on using spiral steel boning in the waistband, as well as adding interlining and lining.

What’s the best garment for a beginner sewist to make to start a vintage-inspired wardrobe?

Gertie: I think the high-waisted pencil skirt is a great place to start. It’s relatively easy to fit. And in the right fabric (like a cherry red wool flannel!) it can be a total show stopper.

SN: What’s your favorite way to add a retro touch to sewing projects?

Gertie: Using high quality garment fabrics makes all the difference. I love finding luscious wools and silks to sew with–it really hearkens back to a time when you could buy all sorts of fibers and weaves at your local department store!

SN: When a project isn’t coming together as easily as planned, what do you do?

Gertie: Step away and sleep on it. Once I’ve taken a break and gotten some rest, a solution to my problem usually comes to me.

SN: Tell us about your experience taping Sew it All . What was your favorite part?

Gertie: It was so much fun! Working with Ellen is like chatting to an old sewing buddy rather than taping a formal segment.

SN: What’s the best sewing advice you ever received?

Gertie: Always stabilize your necklines. There’s nothing worse than a gaping neckline. (Well, there’s probably a lot things worse, but you get the point!)

Thanks so much to Gertie for sharing with us! We love the new book and we can’t wait to give away a copy! For your chance to enter, answer this question in the comments section: Many of Gertie’s designs take inspiration from the ’40s and ’50s. What era of fashion are you most inspired by?

We’ll choose one lucky winner from among all the commenters on Monday!

 Q&A with Gertie, plus win Gerties New Book for Better Sewing!
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96 Responses to Q&A with Gertie, plus win Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing!

  1. Kathy Davey says:

    I definately like the 50′s classic and fun all in one!

  2. Phyllis Finger says:

    I loved the mod look of the 60s.

  3. Cynthia Prewitt says:

    The classic styles are so much more flattering than what you find in the stores now.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I love the romantic look of the 50s. While I was growing up, I would see my aunts in these fashions and they looked like fashion plates! So feminine.

  5. Roberta Schultz says:

    I like the 40′s, 50′s and early 60′s. But who could forget the awsome shoulder pads we had in the 80′s???

  6. ellen kudron says:

    I love, love the 50s!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Deborah says:

    30′s and 40′s

    homemakerhoney @gmail .com

  8. Sue Haver says:

    I love, love the late 50′s and early 60′s the best. The dresses had so much detailing, and were fitted so nicely. Details, I think are the most influential to me as far as what is drawing me to this particular era of fashion. In addition to my old patterns I’ve collected, I have found 3 pattern books from the 1950′s, from the fabric stores. I absolutely love them!

  9. Mickey says:

    Totally love vintage clothing. I’m new to sewing and can use all the help I can get. Lol

  10. Lisa says:

    I love the 1930s and 1940s. Something about Katherine Hepburn in wide leg pants and a tailored shirt is a look I’ve always loved.

  11. Beulah says:

    I love sewing vintage/victorian for little girls fashions. I’ve long since stopped sewing clothing for myself, I live to wear Levi’s or leggings and long tunics with madarin collars.

  12. Karen T. says:

    I am most inspired by fashion from the early 1960′s. The fashion ranged from elegant (Jacquelyn Kennedy-Onassis) to the “itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.” Chances were being taken with fashion as with music. The early to mid 60′s seemed the be the last age of innocence, while at the same time becoming bolder than in the past. And heck yeah…I lived it, too! :)

  13. MaryMartha Rose says:

    I love sewing vintage baby patterns But for me 1920′s

  14. Sharon Stoehr says:

    I love the 50′s style dresses.

  15. Derenda Laws says:

    I loved the styles of the sixtys, especially since I was a teenager back then.

  16. Sherrie Alleman says:

    I think I love the styles of the 50′s the best. It seams to me that women in the 50′s went to a lot of trouble to make sure that they were always dressed to please. Impeccably dressed to please the men in their lives and to show off to the ladies in their lives. Since many women made their own clothing, I was inspired to do the same, early in my life. My mother taught me to sew when I was four (in the 60′s), and off I went. I had a passion in me to learn everything, and to make everything. I was never afraid to push myself farther and farther, until I could design and make my own creations. I had to stop sewing 15 years ago due to a severe injury. But now I am raring to go. Your book looks wonderful and I would love to have a copy to learn new techniques and review old ones. Thank you for the opportunity.

  17. Sherry Thompson says:

    Love the 30s,40s & 50s!

  18. Mary Dinkel says:

    I love the 1940′s look, as I consider Katherine Hepburn’s classic looks, tailored and with exquisite details. Everything from the day dresses, to suits and evening wear. I love the old black and white movies with Lauren Bacall, or Bette Davis.

  19. Joyce Person says:

    Love the 40′s

  20. Evelyn says:

    I like the 30s with all the bias cut dresses.

  21. Mary Mac says:

    I may have been born in the 50;s but I love the style of the 60′s fun and funky.

  22. Debra Guarriello says:

    I am thrilled to find out about Gerties blog. My daughter loves the vintage look from the 50′s. Would love to have a copy of Gerties new book to help me create a new wardrobe for my daughter!

  23. Elizabeth Kuntz says:

    I love Pencil Skirts and fitted blouses. Styles of the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s I love best.

  24. Virginia Darwin says:

    I love the looks of the 60s and 7os. I group up in the 70s and still have an outfit I made for the local beauty pagent. My students get a kick when I show them how my mom and I constructed this outfit.

  25. Jeanne says:

    I love the fashions of the 60′s and 70′ because they are form the era when I was learning to sew and then teaching sewing. Some days I consider going back to sewing my own clothes…..if I just had time for this as well as quilting!

  26. Cindy Landry says:

    My favorite era is the 60′s. It was so Jackie Kennedy like! Everybody wanted to be her. Some of us still do! I would love the new book.

  27. Kimberly N says:

    I love looking at a lot of different time periods and styles as well as construction methods! There is so much to learn and so much that can be applied to today’s fashions.

  28. Linda Rock says:

    Her stuff is awesome. I am currently go through her class on Craftsy as well! Hope to make my daughter some of the items as she seems to love the vintage styles as well.

  29. Angie Larsen says:

    50′s were great! But then every decade has its special favs!

  30. Lori Roberts says:

    definitely the 50′s that’s when i grew up!

  31. Savannagal says:

    I really like western and southwestern styles. I feel like I was born in the wrong time and place. I live in a large midwestern city, but really feel more like a country girl.

  32. The suits of the 60s by far!! Dressed up and business-like at the same time. Was also the era of Jackie Kennedy, a very elegant lady.

  33. Mary says:

    I was a teenager in the fifties and I love the clothes from then. We always wore hats and gloves to church and rarely left the house in anything but a skirt or dress.

  34. Mary M says:

    I love the dresses of the 1920′s. The styles of the 1950′s say “fun” to me and I’m probably most inspired by the 50′s.

  35. Joyce in NC says:

    I am loving the suits from the 60s. I also like the styles from the 70s. I’d love to have a copy of Gertie’s new book.

  36. Sue K says:

    I love the classic styles, but I’m most inspired by current designs. We now have the opportunity to be beautiful women, without unnatural constraints in our undergarments. The garments of former eras are beautiful, but i’m always wondering how uncomfortable they must have been.

  37. bridgit montgomery says:

    Believe it or not the 20′s. Love all the flowing designs!

  38. Lorraine Groom says:

    I love this blog and look forward to seeing this book!

  39. Stacy says:

    I think that the retro styles of the 50 is fun and inspiring, but I don’t ‘pull it off” that well if they aren’t modernized in some way. So I probably have to say that the current fashion probably inspires me more in what I make and wear than any other time.

  40. natali says:

    Love the 50′s style dresses and coats! I am taking Gertie’s craftsy class, she’s great! Her book would be an added bonus!

  41. Carolyn says:

    I grew up in the 50′s so of course I love those clothing styles! Women were allowed to have curves back then and the clothing accentuated that.

  42. vera nichols says:

    I loved the 50′s .

  43. Manette Gutterman says:

    I love the 50s!! Teach me your ways, Gertie!!

  44. Amy says:

    I am heavily influenced by 60s mod.

  45. Patsi says:

    Love Love Love the 50′s. Woman’s wear was all so feminine. (with tiny waists!!)

  46. brandi says:

    I love the 50′s

  47. Bonnijean says:

    I like so many styles. I guess I like the 70s and 80s the best.

  48. Angela Cianfaglione says:

    I love vintage clothing and style a lot, I still wear my mom’s dresses and accessories from the 50′s. This book looks very interesting to me and I am now a fan of her blog. Thanks.

  49. Tara Culton says:

    I really like the 1960s era. It is timeless no matter what period you are in.

  50. LauraM says:

    I love the suits of the 1940s and the sheath dresses of the 1960s.