Sunday, 4 January 2015

Gertie book review (Part 2): Gertie sews vintage casual

Pin up sweater with the flared skirt quilted option

I honestly meant to post the second part to my review much earlier than this and for that, I am sorry! Christmas, travelling back and forth plus a bout of being sick has drained all my energy away. I meant to get this done while I had free time before christmas but I left my notebook and the book itself behind by accident. So here it is! Better late than never! 

Knit sweetheart top with the sailor shorts version of the cigarette pattern 

The second book by Gertie is centred around vintage casual, precisely the 'American Look'. The styles in the book are drawn from the fourties to the sixties and are all very classic styles that can be used to build a wardrobe of vintage inspired basics. I say 'vintage inspired' as they are not all 'true' vintage copies and some have been tweaked for a modern lifestyle and modern materials. Gertie explains the reasoning behind this and as much as I would love a book full of truly vintage copies, I agree that practicality and modern materials are also a blessing. It may not appeal to vintage purists, but hey, I am no vintage purist! It's a good way of getting a vintage casual wardrobe without spending money and time trawling ebay, etsy or learning to draft multiple patterns. It's all in one!   

Sleeveless knit sweetheart top with easy knit pencil skirt

Like the first book it is split into two sections: skills and wardrobe 

Sleeveless option of the 40s blouse with the jeans version of the cigarette pants

The skills section itself is split into six subsections
1. Casual inspiration: Includes information on the 'American Look', popular designers and figures of the time plus movies to watch for inspiration. This section further explains the direction of the book and gives insight into the evolution of casualwear.
2. Materials and supplies: Basic skills such as choosing the right fabric, trim and general supplies
3. Woven skills: Section (you guessed it!) that focuses on woven fabric. Includes instructions on pretreating, seam finishes, zippers, hems, stitches, stabilising, facings, collars, pockets and buttonholes.
4. Knit skills: You guessed it again! A section JUST for knits! Includes instructions on stabilising, stitching, trim, seams, finishes and hems for knit fabric. 
5. Fitting: Includes information on wearable muslins and traditional muslins, fitting pants, flat pattern adjusting and fitting knit fabric
6. Pattern making: Included techniques for making changes to patterns, adding collars, cuffs, pockets and pleats 

40s wide leg trouser version of cigarette pants pattern


  1. Fourties style blouse with a sleeveless option plus instructions to alter it into a bomber jacket
  2. Flared skirt with A-line alteration, quilted option and pocket option.
  3. Knit sweetheart top with sleeveless version plus instructions to alter into a boatneck, scooped necked sweater and puffy sleeve sweater.
  4. Cigarette pants with information to alter the pattern into a pair of 40s style wide leg trousers, pedal pushers, flared shorts, sailor shorts and jeans.
  5. Easy knit pencil skirt with information to alter into A-line mini and flared skirt with gores.
  6. Pin up sweater with information to alter it into a cropped version with buttons and a cardigan
  7. Shift dress with information to change into a summer dress with flared skirt and a A-line swing top.
  8. Wrap dress with one shoulder romper and jumpsuit version
  9. Zip front dress with sailor blouse version.
  10. Halter top with romper version.
Wrap dress pattern

I've wanted a pattern for a 40s style wrap dress for a LONG time, I'm super excited to see how this turns out! 

Romper version of the halter top patter (one of my faves!)

This little romper got me! Oh man I just want to pull it out of the book and make it miiiiiiiiiiiine! 

Bomber jacket alteration on 40s blouse 

Things I liked: 
I loved the inclusion of a skill section for BOTH wovens and knits. I am someone who is quite terrified of knits and has never had any confidence to sew them.....mainly because I didn't really have that skillset. I feel that having skills based on both fabrics is a good way to educate people and hold their hand while they do something new. It is also great for intermediate sewers who may just want to look at the techniques to refresh or find alternative ways of doing them. 

It has helpful instructions and diagrams that are easy to follow and pretty to look at (a plus!). These techniques range from easy peasy to intermediate which means that beginner sewers with some experience can grow with the book as they go through the skills, and experienced sewers can challenge themselves or focus on refining their skills. 

The patterns themselves include an interesting range of vintage inspired to true to vintage styles which covers many tastes. They are quite wearable pieces that could me made to look modern or more vintage with taste. There is a good range of separates such as tops, skirts and pants with dresses and jumpsuits/rompers thrown in. 

Things I did not like: 
I felt some patterns had more variations than there needed to be and I felt some other patterns could have used more. I found myself feeling that there were too many versions of the knit top and pin up blouse and longed for more on the wrap dress, halter top and zip dress. 

I found the bomber jacket a bit odd, mainly because it looks a splitting image of a jacket I had when I was a teenager that I would wear with flared jeans and skate shoes (oh! the shame!), so I think that it is not the ACTUAL pattern but the memories I associate with it (weird huh?!). 

Overall I am SO glad I bought it, the skills sections alone are pretty bloody great! I cannot wait to sew some of these up and work on my knit skills.    

*This is all my own opinion and is an honest critique. I bought this with my own money*


  1. Oh, I really wish I knew how to use my sewing machine now... this book looks right up my street! It's exactly the kind of thing I wish I *could* sew... but considering the fact a simple hem is beyond me currently, don't think I'm quite up to scratch ;) CC x

    1. It is a lovely book! Don't worry, I almost broke one of my schools sewing machines when I tried sewing classes in school. It took me YEARS to pick it up again! It takes practise but its worth it :) Trust me, if I can do it anyone can! :)

      Alecia xx

    2. There is many tutorials online also I believe both joannns and hancocks have lessons. When there's a will, there's a way.


Hello! Thank you for commenting. I read every single comment and will try and reply as soon as possible.

Have a lovely day! :)