Sunday, September 19, 2021

Weekend Review: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual


Gertie Sews Vintage Casual / Gretchen Hirsch
NY: Abrams, c2014.
224 p.

This is another entry into the sewing series by Gretchen Hirsch, blogger, designer and owner of Charm Patterns. I picked this older book up on sale to add to my sewing book collection, and it's a cute book. Lots of mid-century charm here, and unusually for Gertie, it even includes pants -- not that I will be likely to make them, since I don't usually make pants ;)

This book follows the same structure as her others. It's even bound the same, with coil binding inside a hard cover and lots of bright colours, photos, and vintage sketches too. It opens with a section on sewing casual clothes, particularly instruction on sewing knits, and guidance on pants sewing and general fitting. You'd think casual clothes/sportswear would be simpler to sew than fancy dresses, but really it's not. Lots more techniques to learn and practice here. There's even a section on patternmaking -- adding collars, cuffs, pockets, pleats etc. and changing up necklines and hems, for example. 

(photos via Gertie's blog)

The second part of the book is the patterns. There is a super wide variety in this book. There are 3 tops and a sweater, 2 skirts, 3 dresses, and one basic pant with many variations. Each of these patterns has variations that change them significantly so in all there are about 24 separate looks to make. They are chic and cute designs that fit in with Gertie's retro aesthetic, and the models are varied too, it's not just Gertie this time. 

The sizing runs from 2--16 (or B32/W24/H36 to B46/W38/H50) and seam allowances are included on the patterns. The patterns are all on folded sheets in the back of the book to be traced off. I like how the basic pattern for each is traceable, and then the variations within each chapter show you how to alter and redraw style lines to create new looks. I think that this might make sewists more comfortable with doing this kind of pattern manipulation on other patterns they may own. 

This collection is more everyday wear friendly than her other books, at least for most people. I like the casual dresses since those are often my go-to for everyday. There is a simple knit pencil skirt that I may test out for my first project from this book, since I'm really into the skirt suit look this year. This was enjoyable to look through, and there is also some historical info (and movie recs) in the first half which is really interesting too. I liked this!

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