Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weekend Review: Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book


Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book / Gretchen Hirsch
NY: Abrams, c2016.
236 p.
Another mix-n-match sewing book! These were really popular a few years ago -- all the titles I've reviewed this month are a couple of years old and seemed to appear around the same time.

This one is by Gretchen Hirsch and falls thoroughly into her aesthetic of vintage fashion. It's all dresses (right up my alley) and the mix and match aspect comes from the way that all 23 dresses are designed to work together. She explains that the shapes and the ease of the patterns are all drafted to be able to switch bits around and still have the patterns work together. Honestly, in this book, I like so many of the designs that I imagine switching things around would mean I would take forever over these patterns! 

The back cover provides a good overview of a strapless evening style, a pink fitted day dress, and a casual fit and flare day dress. This shows the range of the styles in this book.


There are a lot of variations in the book, and if you're into the more fitted vintage looks you'll do well. This peplum dress with the large neck bow is quite charming -- I can see this being suitable for work, depending on where you work, or broken into two pieces and the top worn more casually.


This dress, on the other hand, just screams day in the sun. Can you see this one on a picnic, or a vintage-inspired stroll through caf├ęs and shops?



Honestly, though, these two are among my favourites in the book. The plaid one because I just love the fabric and the print matching! And that cute collar. I do like a bottom-of-the-knee hem as well.


And this one because I love the colour, the shape, the neckline, the little bow at the neckline -- well, just everything about it. If I only trace one pattern from this book, this is the one for me. 


It's a very visually inspiring book, as you might have noticed thus far. But it's also pretty full of useful info. The interior pages have charming illustrations, like in Gertie's other books, and there is a lot of really helpful detail given on vintage construction techniques, fabric choices, and so forth in the first half of the book. Honestly, for a newer sewist interested in vintage styles, just this part would be worth buying the book for, even without the great patterns that follow. 



The sizing runs from 2 -16, or 32" to 46" bust and 36" to 50" hip. There are four pattern sheets in the back with all the elements to put together to make the various styles.

Now, I haven't yet made a dress from the book, but have heard that there were some issues with the sizing of the patterns, so do be careful to measure the flat pattern before you start anything. I'll report back when I get one made. But as an engaging book full of 23 different dresses to look at and imagine making, I enjoy this one! 

Dresses are really my wheelhouse so I have a fondness for all three of the dress pattern books I've shared this month. Do you have a favourite? Is there another title that I just must find? Share any tips! 



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