I’m sure most, if not all of you, know about Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing and so you already know that her book, Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch. It is a sewing book for those interested in sewing vintage, heavily inspired by the book that started out Gertie's blog, once upon a time, VOGUES New Book For Better Sewing from 1952. It’s been out for a while, so my review comes a little late, but better late than never.
The book has several parts and begins with a chapter on vintage sewing and a discussion on patterns, vintage versus reproduction. Then follow chapters on preparation, techniques, tailoring, how to change patterns and fitting. The book also contains several multi-sized patterns and the last part gives sewing instructions, tips and tricks as well as pattern adaptations on them.
The book is hard backed with a spiral, which makes it both sturdy and practical. There is a lot of illustrations and additional information apart from the actual text. The writing style is very informal and the book is easy to read.
Pros and cons
The layout of the book is very pleasing and it is also a book that is unique just that it targets vintage sewing, but in a modernized way. For me, who has been sewing a long time and enjoy reading sewing books, there weren’t anything in the techniques and fitting chapters that were new to me, but that isn’t really a con. One thing that may annoy readers is the rather chummy style the book is written in. here is your pal Gertie who really wants you to love sewing as much as she does and she has a lot of personal opinions on it. I didn’t mind, but if you want your sewing book more formal and impersonal, then this might be irritating.
The biggest pro for me is the patterns. Considering what a pattern cost and what a sewing book cost, this book is really worth the money! There are also several blouse patterns, which I have been looking for. I also really love the wiggle-dress with kimono sleeves that utilize an underarm gusset for a fitted look. I have yet to try any of them, though I plan to start with a blouse.
The vintage style presented in this book is Gertie’s own style which is heavily 50’s with some 40’s thrown in. So if you are interested in other vintage eras, then you may find the pattern section disappointing. Also, there are no trouser pattern at all, which doesn’t bother me as I never wear trousers, but, again, may be irritating for those who do.
The biggest con is the fit on some of the clothes. They are all modeled by Gertie herself and some of them just don’t fit well while others look great. I suspect that part of this is due to the way they are photographed as almost all patterns are made up in two versions and one version can fit well, but the other one don’t. I really find this rather annoying and something that would probably be possible to work around.
I have read reviews that which for more than one model to see how the patterns would look on other body types. I don’t think it’s so odd, the cost of making the clothes in several sizes and finding models for them would probably climb rather quickly. And, after all, you don’t get pictures of more than one model when you buy a pattern.
To sum it up
I like this book, but I don’t feel that it is the ultimate book for me information-wise. I have other sources that are true and tried and which I will continue to use them. However, if you are relatively new to sewing, or is about to begin, then I think this a really great book. I really love the attitude throughout the book that sewing is fun and easy, so if you think it’s scary, read this book! And, as I have already said, the patterns alone make the book worth the money!