Book: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

I don’t know a lot about garment sewing but I still stalk Gretchen Hirsch AKA Gertie online and I have for years. She learned to sew with an old Vogue sewing book and that was the start of her blog. Her adventures learning to sew. That turned into creating her own sewing book, Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Now, she’s released her latest book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I asked for the book for Christmas, knowing it might potentially sit on a shelf for years, but I really wanted it. I hoped it would inspire me to dip my toes into garment sewing.

Gertie's 40s shirt

As yet, I haven’t had the time to even read through the book to learn what I’ll need to start sewing these fabulous pages. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t oggle every single pattern and bookmark a few of my favorites.

Gertie's pencil skirt

Gertie posted on her blog, after the book was released, about how easy the Easy Knit Pencil Skirt was to sew and wear so its definitely one of the projects on my sewing wish list.

Gertie's trouser fitting

The book looks to include lots of good tips and techniques for a good fit too so there’s really no reason why I don’t start making my own clothes… except time.

Is there any craft or project you’d like to undertake if only you had more time?


I got a vintage dress form!

My love for vintage has also made it clear that I need to step-up my sewing skills as vintage items often need to be repaired, hemmed or even altered.This, of course, led me to consider getting a dress form of some sort in order to help me hem and tailor. I thought “Hey, I’ll check Craig’s List to see if someone is selling one” since most of the ones sold at Joann’s are expensive and not very pretty. And what do you know? I didn’t just find a dress form on Craig’s List but I found a VINTAGE dress form and it was only a few blocks away. SCORE!

So, here she is:

We’ve been calling her The Other Missus since she doesn’t have a name yet but I did set all her measurements to my specifications. She’s a vintage Acme adjustable dress form in JR size. I’ve never thought of myself as a JR but the dress form can be adjusted to my size as shown. She’s a oatmeal brown heather color and full of little wingnuts and metal sliders to adjust all the different panels. She’s so cyber- and vintage-looking, all at the same time. I’m enamored! Now I need to step up my sewing game.

Still had the original tag on it

Relatively clean

Very little damage to the metal

The heavy metal base, no wheels but it slides on my wood floors


Studio Overhaul, v.3.0

Though my studio is still so tiny and overflowing with tools and supplies, I think I finally have it in a good working order. I spent all day Saturday rearranging and tidying. Its a small space and gets messy fast!

I needed to move my computer (Jupiter is his name because he’s so big he has his own gravitational pull) back against the north wall because the sun was reflecting on the shiny, shiny screen. As a result, I brought back my long steel-topped table. What I discovered was that the pink Formica desk still fit in the room. Continue reading


Denyse Schmidt is Amazing

Denyse Schmidt autographed my book!

Yesterday, Denyse Schmidt came to Hallmark and spoke about how she got started making her quilts, her creative process and where she’s hoping to take her business in the future. After her lecture, a small group of people got a chance to have a round table discussion with her and I got to participate. Denyse was very down-to-earth. I really liked her from the minute I met her.

It was great to be able to chat with Denyse and hear her talk about her creative process which has all the same pitfalls that I suffer as well like obsessive cleaning before starting a project (avoidance technique or clearing my plate… you decide.) and the moments of self-doubt about the work produced. Can you believe someone as talented and singularly-focussed as Denyse would have doubts? It gives me hope that maybe someday I could be even a little successful at my own creative adventures.

Cool things I learned about Denyse Schmidt:

She went to RISD to study design at the age of 29 after a career as a modern dancer .

She designed one commercial typeface, Scamp, based on cut paper letterforms.

She’s left-handed!

Her new fabric collection is due out soon. SewMamaSew has a sneak peek of the collection which is a heavier canvas weight called County Fair. SewMama Sew also has an extensive interview with Denyse.


Fabric Lust

tana lawn fabric swatch

I recently discovered Tana Lawn fabric on the Purl web site. Love it! According to the Liberty site, a lot of the designs were inspired by fabric in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The colors and patterns are yummy. I keep saying I want to make a quilt. Maybe this is the shot in the arm I need. How cool would a quilt look with this collection.

liberty colleciton fabric


Vintage Button Swap Loves Pin Cushions.

pin cushion
Originally uploaded by sugaroni.

For the vintage button swap hosted by Shim and Sons, I made a pin cushion using the beloved WhipUp pattern — the cushion features a vintage button on the front and back, of course. I threaded the vintage buttons onto the pins and stuck them all over the cushion. I used my favorite fabric of the week — something I picked up on a whim at Joann’s a few weeks ago — with a green felt base.

I didn’t remember to photograph the finished pin cushion all decked out with buttons before I mailed it, so this is a photo of the “test cushion” which I decided to use myself and I love it!