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We love Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. We’ve had so much fun over the past several years watching Gretchen build a thriving career with her passion for sewing, her fabulous, retro-style and her love of fashion history (and the recognition of its importance today). Gretchen’s latest big project is Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques! The book is an extension of her blog, full of information on couture techniques and patterns for 25 “wardrobe essentials and variations.” The book design and projects are all presented with Gretchen’s signature modern-vintage flair (and Gretchen even models all of the designs!). We asked Gretchen to tell us a little more about the book and about her other projects, including new patterns and classes, a coat sew-along and more.
Sew,Mama,Sew!: Congratulations on the book, Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing! We love it, and we’re so excited to have it in hand. It’s wonderful to be able to infuse some “Gertie style” into our sewing. All the projects are great and the layout of the book is really easy to use and navigate. It has a great vintage, yet modern look.
What do you love about the book?
Gretchen: Thank you for the lovely compliments! I especially love the design of the book. Sun Young Park’s illustrations are gorgeous, and feel completely fresh while hearkening back to vintage illustration styles. But my very favorite thing is that she incorporated my beloved cat Henry throughout the book. Sometimes he’s the star of an illustration, and sometimes he’s hiding a bit in the background.
SMS: You model all of the looks in the book which is something fun we haven’t seen before. Why did you choose to be in the photos (aside from the obvious benefit of every dress being the perfect fit for you!)?
Gretchen: My editor, the brilliant Melanie Falick, came up with that idea. The book was meant to be an extension of my blog, and bloggers almost always model their own creations! Also, I’ve written quite a bit on the subject of body image and acceptance and I felt doing the modeling myself would make a strong statement on that issue. (Also, I do have a killer wardrobe now!)
SMS: You have a new series of Creativebug workshops. We had fun watching the “trailer” on your site. Can you tell us about the workshops?
Gretchen: I have two workshops out with Creativebug now and I’m very happy with how they turned out; one is on drafting and sewing silk tap pants, and the other is about sewing a petersham ribbon waist facing for a skirt. I have two more coming soon– one is a blouse project and the other is a dress.
SMS: Is your Craftsy course still available?
Gretchen: Yes, my Bombshell Dress course with Craftsy will remain available.
SMS: Tell us about “Patterns by Gertie” with Butterick.
Gretchen: It’s a line of patterns based on my favorite vintage styles. My first two are out now– I was so excited to see them in my local fabric store! Butterick 5824 is a full skirted coat inspired by Dior’s New Look. And Butterick 5814 is a draped wiggle dress that’s very Mad Men.
SMS: You have a coat sew-along for one of the patterns on the blog this fall, right? Is it too late to join that?
Gretchen: Yes, I’ll be doing a coat sew-along starting in early October and now is the perfect time to join up. Just go to the Flickr page and join. We’re already 240 members strong!
SMS: We heard a rumor about you and Project Runway… Care to share anything about that?!
Gretchen: I’m afraid there’s nothing juicy to share! Every time auditions are announced, I think about applying and then I don’t. I think I’m way too sensitive for reality TV!
Don’t miss Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques! AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! TELL US WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE EXPERIENCED AT “COUTURE-STYLE SEWING” . IF SO, WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN? ONE PERSON WILL RECEIVE A COPY OF THE BOOK!