Gertie’s Vintage made Casual

I got the great new book by Gertie for my birthday – fantastic range of patterns along with a selection of pattern modifications to extend the selection.

As with her first book the descriptions are detailed and well explained. I enjoyed being able to follow the steps to alter patterns enabling you to create something unique.

This week I’ve tackled trousers – something I’ve not really done much of. First off I drafted a pattern for some shorts, similar to the Sailor shorts but longer. I used some leftover old fabric as it was really a muslin (although hopefully a wearable one!)

I made a few mistakes.. Missed the darts on the front as I forgot to trace them onto my pattern. Also messed up the length for my waistband, making it too short.

Having made them I used the book’s guidance to work out what modifications were required. Removal of droopy bottom, and baggy back.

Then I realised that what I really needed was light weight trousers not shorts!

Redrafted the pattern full length, keeping most of the extra width.

Success, a comfy pair of summer trousers. Perfect to fend of mosquitos.

To round off the evening I then rattled off a knit pencil skirt. Great idea to stitch in the ditch on the seams to hide the stitching for the invisible elastic waistband.


Next up was a long sleeve version of “the pin up sweater”. I found some rib knit fabric in Leeds market – perfect to emulate the jumper in the book. My fabric is green, so a little different from the blue in the book. I decided that as we’re approaching winter in the UK that full sleeves were called for. Drafted the sleeves by extending the short ones. Next time I might make them a fraction longer. They feel quite tight, but I think that’s the look. The only other modification I’d make is to widen the front slight around the bust. As there are no darts it could do with a little more room if you normally need a fba.


Overall, great book and patterns so far. Well done Gertie.


Gertie’s Portrait Blouse – with Peter Pan Collar

As we leave summer and head into autumn I started thinking about outfits than can layer well.

I’d been thinking about trying to follow instructions to draft my own peter pan collar.

Having recently made Gertie’s portrait blouse, and liked it, I thought I’d use it as my base pattern. I used the instructions in Gertie’s book to help me draft the pattern.

Best tips, overlap the shoulder pattern pieces by 1.3cm on the outer edge when you draw the neck and edge shape.

Other fab tip wad reducing the lower collar piece by 3mm so that the upper piece curls over slightly, making sure the seam line is hidden.


I finished the top the night before my birthday – and wore it the next day.

I used some pale pink jacard from my stash – making the collar using the slightly darker side.

Was pleased with the finished top, and will be adding collars to other tops in the future.

Gertie’s Portrait Blouse

Given all the good weather we’ve been having I’ve been making more tops recently.

This week I decided to try out a pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I’ve owned the book for ages, but to date only used it as a reference guide.

The book comes with patterns, however you need tracing paper as there are multiple patterns on the each page. I guess this was done as the book explains techniques to modify patterns,  providing example ideas as well.

I decided to make the original shape of portrait blouse first.

Sizes are always a bit of a challenge. Each range of patterns being a little unique. I struggled to find the sizing guide in the book. It is there page 125!

The blouse has a loose top, which is then very fitted below the bust. Have to admit the fitted waist worked well and the shorter length works well due to the fitted nature.


The top has a nice side zip (I used a concealed one).

I finished the internal seams using my serger, however followed Gertie’s instructions for the narrow heam for the sleeve. Worked well and will use this technique again.

Narrow heam: sew close to fabric edge say 3mm, iron in then sew again close to first stitching line. Trim rough edge using small scissors. Iron in again by folding just beyond stitching. Final row of stitches keeping even distance as this will show on outside.