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Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s Hardcover – September 16, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s
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  • Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing:: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques
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  • Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles
Total price: $70.30
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Not just a guide to sewing clothes such as cigarette pants, flared skirts, wrap dresses, pinup sweaters, and shift dresses, Hirsch’s volume explores the fashion landscape of the period as well as the particular challenges of sewing vintage. The book comes with basic patterns and instructions for multiple variations.”
(Library Journal)

“Complete with fun illustrations, great photography, and step-by-step directions, the author eases readers in with an illustrated fashion history primer and devotes five chapters to telling us everything we need to know to rock our attempt to sew a vintage wardrobe. With thick paper patterns included in a bulging pack inside the back of cover, this book delivers a massive amount of value well worth the cover price.”
(Grand Rapids Press)

About the Author

Gretchen Hirsch is the author of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and creator of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. She has a pattern line with Butterick and a fabric line with Fabric Traditions, and teaches sewing around the country and on PBS’s It’s Sew Easy, Craftsy.com, and Creativebug.com. Her work has been featured in Sew Stylish, Vogue Patterns, Threads, and Stitch, and on jezebel.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; Spi edition (September 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617690740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617690747
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just adore Gertie's blog and just about squealed out loud when the mailbox contained her book! This book does a great, I mean, GREAT job of explaining vintage casual techniques for both knits and wovens. There is a ton of information on fitting pants, fitting knits, and flat pattern adjustment as well as patternmaking techniques such as changing necklines, waistlines, pockets, collars, darts, etc. This is not a beginning book for someone who has no idea how to sew---there are plenty of those already on the market, so if you don't sew at all, don't expect to learn how to use your sewing machine. I would suggest Tilly's "Love At First Stitch" if you're a complete beginner and want to learn how to sew cute clothes using a pattern.

The wardrobe is10 included patterns on nice, thick paper---only part I dislike is they are printed on both sides so I have to trace. Hate that, but suck it up, self! Sizing starts at a 32" bust all the way up to 46" (hips 36--50) The 10 patterns are 40's style blouse, flared skirt, knit sweetheart top, cigarette pants, easy knit pencil skirt (looks like a breeze!), pin-up sweater, shift dress, wrap dress (looks a little frumpy on the model, don't know if I'll make this one!), zip-front dress, and halter top (fitted with bust cups and side ruching, which I'm really excited to try!) EVERY SINGLE PATTERN has at least one variation, some with multiple variations, so you get a total of 35 patterns. For example, the Cigarette Pants have variations using patternmaking skills so that you can make a 40's style wide-leg pant, pedal pushers, flared shorts, sailor shorts, and jeans (which look like Freddies of Pinewood jeans). The super cute halter top can be made as a romper if you attach the top to the previously mentioned shorts!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gertie does it again!! Her sense of wit, whimsy, & humour permeate every tip. She seems to really focus on packing in as much information as possible into her books, as if each book will be her last & she absolutely must impart all of her knowledge. I definitely don't get the feeling she's holding anything back in order to market a second volume, like I do with many other such books.
I am a fan of her blog & on it she details being disappointed with the mediocre information about professional & couture techniques available to home sewers. She also details many of her book purchases, so I know her library overflows (much to her readers' benefit). I feel that Ms. Hirsch writes the book that she wished was available to her when she began sewing & what more could a reader ask for?
I was doing a lot of research on which books would be best for learning techniques on working with knits, not knowing my time was being wasted, since Gertie had already completed & compiled them for me.

Even if her modern/vintage aesthetic isn't to your liking, & you don't care for the (35! WOW!!!) patterns, the wealth of information is truly staggering. Not to mention being well-thought-out, well-written, concise, & fun to read, as well as being beautifully illustrated or photographed.
Thanks Gertie! I'll pre-order your books anytime!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like this book. Many of the patterns are very "makeable". It is what it says it is: everyday casual patterns. So, first impressions. Nice to see well fitting clothes clearly presented on a variety of shapes. Clothes are shown on a "real person" and there are also some items shown inside out on a dressmakers dummy which is useful to see construction details.

The sizing covers from a 32" bust up to a 46" bust. The patterns are printed on white paper sheets and need to be traced. This does not bother me at all as I trace all my patterns anyway.

Thre are 10 base patterns and an additional 24 variations (34 patterns in total) so tracing and some minor pattern drafting is required for some of the variations. Which suits my sewing style perfectly, so I am all good with that.

I do like the patterns - they are basic and some could say very simple, but nice all the same and contain an entire wardrobe - tops, blouses, a cardigan, skirts, long pants, shorts, a few styles of dresses (mostly fit and flare but there is wrap dress and a shift dress in there too), a bomber jacket, a jumpsuit, and they cover both woven and knit fabrics.

The first part of the book contains a heap of information on techniques and fitting, including a substantial section on sewing with knits, and a section on fitting pants.

The proof is in the making of course. Once I have made a couple of things I will update this review. But my first impression is that this is good value, solidly researched and professionally presented book.

I have quite a collection of sewing books and this is a good addition to the sewing library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you need to do any fitting or pattern adjustments I suggest using a different book in conjunction with this one.
The adding width and pinching out the neckline instructions are high school beginner sewing, so if you are looking for how to fit these, you aren't going to find it here. That is the reason I'm giving the book 4 stars. Well, that and the photo's, all done against a blah background, and occasionally in downright ugly fabrics.
The patterns are cute, and the instructions are for the most part clear. The writing style is fine, warm and easy to understand. The illustrations are clear enough, and sometimes quite nice.
One of the real values of this book is seeing the variations on the patterns and seeing how they were handled. I always enjoy that and felt that yes, I did learn something from those parts of the book.
I've heard a lot about sizing on these being unique. Gertie uses a different size number (10-12-14 etc) but these are still big 4 sizing for the most part. An 18 for example, is still a 46"bust and a 38" waist. The hip sizing seems a little generous but that is the style of the garments as well.
There aren't any really new patterns here, there isn't anything you can't find somewhere else, but having them all together is a great value.
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