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Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing:: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques (Gertie's Sewing) Hardcover-spiral – September 1, 2012
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About the Author
Gretchen Hirsch writes Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing (blogforbettersewing.com) and teaches sewing in New York City, around the country, on PBS’s It’s Sew Easy, and on Craftsy.com. She lives in Beacon, New York.
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The problems are centered around the patterns.
First- the size chart doesn't have an accompanying figure to show you where exactly to measure yourself. Early in the book Gertie talks about measuring and recommends using your high bust measurement. But I'm still not clear if she wants the reader to use a high bust or bust measurement. (see edit below)
Second- there are no technical drawings of the garments. There are some artistic renderings throughout, but not all of them match the patterns, nor are they paired with the patterns. And there are no technical drawings of back views.
Third- the patterns lack lengthen and shorten lines.
Fourth- some of the patterns seem like they're not just inspired by Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing, but that they are the exact same Vogue patterns that have been made larger and then multisized. i.e. the portrait blouse, the bow-tied blouse, and the sultry sheath (she says that she wanted to include a version of that dress but with a different neckline. It appears to be the same dress (jumper version) down to the uneven dart placement). The uneven dart placement drives me crazy. I wish Gertie had moved the darts so they lined up. For someone who wants to sew the Vogue projects, but doesn't want to spend the money buying the individual patterns, this is a great option for them, but it didn't appeal to me and I wish the book had stated that some of the same patterns were included.
And yes, the fit bothered me a little. Some of the clothes look too tight in some areas and too loose in others. And sometimes the clothing looks vaguely upholstered.
Anyway, the first part of the book is wonderful, the information for sewing the patterns is ok, but the patterns present a few problems.
*the sizing~ Early in the book Gertie recommends using a high bust measurement. Hers is 36". Her full bust is 39" and her waist is 30". Later she says she created her own sizing using herself as a size 8 and then graded up and down from there. But when you get to the sizing chart, size 8 is 38"-30"-42". So do you use a high bust like she recommends earlier or a full bust which is closer to the size 8 given in her chart? There lies my confusion.
I have made the Portrait Blouse, The Pencil Skirt and the Bow Tie Blouse. I am about to start the strapless party dress.
The positive: the first half of the book is full of great information, gerties writing style is easy to understand and gives clear instruction on sewing techniques, seam finishes, tidbits on history of fashion, and more. It's nothing I haven't seen or read other places or in other books but it's nice to have it all in one spot. The artistic drawings are lovely also!
And that's where the enchantment ends....
Her sewing style seems to be "get it done ... No pressing, sloppy seams, it doesn't matter how polished it looks just get it done" there is no emphasis on good fit, taking pride in your work or quality workmanship. To be honest I find that very disappointing. Many of us sew for ourselves because we are disenchanted with the fit and quality of ready to wear clothing and want something more than that. She has such potential with her books concept and she seems to know allot but it just falls short in executing it. I am by no means a professional seamstress, but being self taught I could see this book discouraging allot of new sewers with patterns that don't fit well and results that look like homemade. I respect that she has inspired many women to sew In a generation where sewing is becoming a lost art, but with this book I no longer trust her sewing knowledge or any patterns she comes out with.
I also found the lack of technical drawings for the patterns included frustrating
I would recommend Colette patterns and sewaholics books, and sew chic patterns for vintage style patterns over anything written by gerties because they take time to encourage better quality sewing and teaching techniques. In general I feel their books have encouraged me to be a better seamstress, where gerties book only left me encouraged to sew that kitty cat fabric dress I have always wanted.