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!

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

  1. Jeanette Garrison says:

    I sewed many clothes from the 50′s and 60′s. They were so fitted and graceful and, dare I say it-Romantic! Very fond memories.

  2. SewLindaAnn says:

    I love it all really. The mod look of the 60′s, the retro look of the fifties all flirty and feminine. I’m going to get the book regardless of whether I win it or not, I really want to learn to make a few retro inspired dresses.

  3. amy losordo says:

    I’m inspired to start sewing my own clothes again…except I want to find those vintage patterns! Thanks for bring back fun memories. Let’s start sewing clothes again!

  4. Debbie E. says:

    I grew up in the 60s and loved my mom’s outfits and cat eye glasses from the 50s. She is petite and needs the fitted things. I still have a tiny waist and love that Gretchen has the fitted styles. Can’t wait to make a bombshell dress from my Craftsy class!

  5. Ginger says:

    I really like the 40′s and 60′s.

  6. Audrey says:

    I once lived that retro look, and made some of my favorite ever clothes. Wish I still had them!

  7. Carla says:

    I’m a TOTAL sucker for 1920s fashions… and the mostly straight seams make it look almost do-able! LOL!

  8. Kari says:

    I love 40s fashion – so elegant!

  9. Ellen says:

    The 60′s

  10. Judi W says:

    I love the 50′s !

  11. Daisy Steiner says:

    I love the ’30s to the ’70s. It all depends on my mood and the weather.

  12. MelodyJ says:

    I love the styles of the whole 20th century. Every era had something special from the 1900′s to 1990′s. It was the most exciting and diverse century of fashion ever. We can make our own versions with comfortable undergarments, fabrics, and with more ease.

  13. Diana Janssen says:

    40′s. But I’m always on the lookout for inspiration as you never know when you’ll find it – all for the benefit of my wardrobe!

  14. Cathi says:

    I love the 40s. Shoulder pads done right! So there 1980s. LOL

  15. Anna Hutchins says:

    our younger generation are copying our 40′s- 90′s with minor modifications so any great books are a valuable resource. Looks like a great reference book.

  16. Jode says:

    I am so excited about Gerties book! I live remotely
    Without interaction with face to face sewers for
    Help and advice, hoping Gertie’s book will help me!
    I am particularly fond of the 30s and 40s because of
    The make do attitude but also love the frivolity the
    50s re introduced.

  17. Lizzy says:

    I adore the 50s! Feminine and flattering!

  18. Andrea Moran says:

    The 50s Are so glamorous, I love to watch the early episodes of mad men for sewing inspiration.

  19. Candy says:

    I like the styles from any era, they were all special in their own way, at the moment i’m inspired by some early 70′s patterns.

  20. Joan says:

    Love the look of the book!!!!

  21. Laura says:

    I think I like 50′s styles the best, although I don’t think I would have enjoyed wearing the foundation garments required to achieve some of those looks.

  22. Regina Roza says:

    i love vintage sewing…i’ve been collecting vintage patterns and vintage sewing items for years…there’s a special charm to all things vintage…The 50s represents something special to me…it was my Mom’s time!

  23. Lately, I’ve been drawn to the 40s look, both in fashion and the hair styles of the era. Beautiful! Thank you for the opportunity to win Gertie’s new book!

  24. Hm. I think I like modern fashion the best. I used to love the 70s, but I have recently been more into streamlined looks.

  25. Kelly Sas says:

    I LOVE the 60′s clothing. So freeing, colorful and it was acceptable to go without a bra.

  26. Janice says:

    I love the 70 hip huggers and peace love knit fabric. I do the love the technique that greatie teaches

  27. Janice says:

    Sorry spelled her name wrong gertie

  28. Elisabet says:

    My favorite fashion era is the late 40s and early 50s. Love the attention to detail that seems to be present in clothing from these eras.

  29. Margo says:

    I love the mod look of the 60′s. But I also love the fashions of Downton Abbey!

  30. Shirley McCollough says:

    I love the 40′s Think: Casa Blanca, Rear Window, Vertigo. Those gorgeous svelte suits and sexy tops and dresses.

  31. Ursula says:

    I love the clothes from the 60′s era as well, they are so sophisticated.

  32. Jamie F. says:

    The here and now for sure!

  33. Emily says:

    The 60s! I love anything mod and vintage. From “tacky burnt orange” polyester fabric to disco and roller skates. The fashions from the 60s and early 70s are making a comeback!

  34. Susan Ford says:

    Love the 40′s !

  35. Mama Lusco says:

    I love the feminine, flattering designs of the 50′s. Looks like a great book. Looking forward to adding it to my library.

  36. Marge Lind says:

    Really like the 60′s

  37. gail m says:

    at the lovely age of 60, I am just getting back to sewing. What era does flannel shirts and sweat pants come from…thats what I seem to be living in. I am attempting to make myself a pink fleece vest.

  38. Allie says:

    Definitely the fifties and sixties–I love the glamour of those decades!

  39. colleen hartlen says:

    I really love to see the many styling details which define vintage apparel.

  40. lara M says:

    I love those 50′s aprons.

  41. Sarah says:

    I love the 60′s for wiggle-style dresses, slim skirts and mod style. But as a child of the 80′s I also have a soft spot for garish neon, acid wash and legwarmers :)

  42. Linda Poulin says:

    I just started a retro dress and am not finished yet. It’s a little challenging but I am enjoying the challenge. I like to make victorian dresses as well. The decorative laces, piping and trim are a lot of fun to sew. I like contrasting colors like black and gold, or black and light purple. I have a pattern from the 1920′s which will be my next project. I am always willing and able to learn more to enhance my sewing techniques.

  43. Linda Noll says:

    The late forties and early fifties were really the heady of couture designers. Great things happened after WWII when materials became available again.

  44. Linda SK says:

    I love to sew clothing form the 40′s!

  45. Pingback: Free Stuff Friday Winner, Gertie Q&A Edition | Sew News

  46. Alisa Nelson says:

    I must say I am a huge fan of the 50′s and the 60′s, the woman were more classy then they ever have been. I swear I was born with a love for everything vintage, from clothing to music to even a love for vintage homes. I am a huge fan of Gertie’s and find her to be a huge inspiration to me!

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