Floral Lawn: Gertie’s Wrap Dress

I’ve had Gertie’s first book for about a year now, and while I’ve only made two patterns out of it (despite having big plans for the wiggle dress), I’ve got a lot out of it. I got the new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual several weeks after it was released, and here is my first version of the wrap dress:

Excuse my lack of smiles in these pictures – I was facing the sun and trying not to squint!

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It’s a zoo out there!

Late last year Juliet had an idea for the January Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) meet up: zoo at the zoo. The idea was to make clothes with animal fabric/animal themed, and visit the zoo to celebrate. Apparently it’s also Jungle January, although I’m not so sure what that even is.


January worked out well because there was two-for-one tickets at Wellington Zoo, and the day worked well because my sister-in-law was working and I was able to watch her try to excite kids in games about Australian animals (it was Australian day… Jo was not impressed with all the pro-Australian greetings from staff!)


My skirt is, of course, Gertie’s high-waisted skirt, made in a bottom-weight Zebra-printed cotton from The Fabric Store. I bought it on another WSBN outing (the Craft Crawl run by The Dreamstress) – Zara grabbed the bolt from a part of the store I rarely look at, and I immediately rushed over and nabbed some for myself. This type of fabric is one of my favourites – it’s not obviously crazy patterned from far away but when you get close you see how awesome it is.


(I hate this Glassons t-shirt; the seams twists like crazy which is uncomfortable and not nice aesthetically, but the slouchy yet fitted shape is exactly what I want to wear with skirts.)

Construction wise, the skirt has no surprises. I used my already-altered pattern (and have realised that I need to take about 2cm out of the front panel, as it’s a touch loose and the side seams sit a touch further back than they should). Everything is sewn then overlocked, with an enclosed waistband using my stich-in-the-ditch foot (I love this thing!). The zip is lapped and I used the last black button from my stash (my red Gertie skirt is still lacking a button and I have to safety pin it up).


I got clothing tags! The quality is so-so (they’re polyester and unravel so bad at the sides that I have to burn each edge) but it’s really cool having labels in my hand-made clothes – seems so much more professional. I’ve been adding them to newly made stuff but should go back and add them to clothes I made a while ago.


I only bought 0.8m of it (the PERFECT amount for the skirt – I usually end up rounding up how much I need but end up having annoying 20cm scraps left over, so luckily Leimomi convinced me I didn’t need more than 80cm). I therefore didn’t bother pattern matching (too busy to need it, I figure) but I did end up with a lovely two-headed zebra over the zip (the magic of fusible stay tape. I would also like to point out how nice my darts are sitting – a combination of using my tailors ham and starting the dark from the top and sewing off the edge (of the point) means they don’t bubble.


My husband tells me this is not what Zebra’s do.


Pattern: Gertie’s high-waisted skirt (from her book), used for the 6th time

Fabric: 0.8m or heavy cotton from The Fabric Store, I-don’t-remember-how-much, approx $16. Black fabric (for waistband) is leftover from another skirt.

Notions: zip, thread and button, stash

Total: about $16. Frick yes! This is why we sew, ladies and gents.


And, a WSBN group photo:

http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/e54c7-dsc05336.jpgClockwise from top-left: Jo, Juliet, Joy, Zara, Gemma, Sandra, Kat and Myself.


Lobster lips

Sooo, guess what I made??

Yep, another pencil/straight skirt. ImageI’ve really gotten into this “tried and true pattern” business – I know this pattern fits well, and it’s such a daily wardrobe staple I could easily make and wear 20 of these. It’s flattering (I’m pretty sure đŸ˜€ ) and comfortable, with enough room for my badonkadonk when I go from sitting to standing all the time at work. Image This version is made from a cotton-polyester drill from The Fabril Warehouse. Medium-weight with a teensy bit of drill. Unfortunately it wrinkles a bit and does sit kind of weirdly, but meh. Don’t care.

In terms of construction, I trimmed the interfacing back to the seam allowances before fusing:

ImagePinked then trimmed the top waistband seam (the clippings look like little love hearts):

ImageI added my usual vent (next time I will try doing a kick pleat, for fun):


And, the best part, I added piping!


Green tartan piping.

ImageI love piping – such an easy way to add pizazz to an otherwise simple garment. And look how well it lines up at the back!


Lapped zipper, baby.

It, erm, may not have a button yet and is currently done up with a small safety pin. The button I bought (which matches the colour perfectly) is too big for the tiny flap I kept on the waistband. I’ve been thinking I might just put on one of those huge hook-eye-tab things like you get on pants.


Not much else to say, really. I promise I’ll put some more interesting stuff on here instead of copy pastas. But really, I could make and wear 20 of these.


Pattern: Pencil skirt from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

Fabric: 1.5m of cotton-polyester drill, $24 (could have gotten away with 1m)

Notions: Zip, $4, thread and interfacing, stash

Total: $28

Mr. Guy took me up the hill for photos, rather than having them always in the back- or front yard. It also involved swings!http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/p1050220.jpg

.Location shots FTW


So – do you guys tend to stick to one pattern you know well or continue to challenge yourselves?

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Gertie’s pencil skirt #2

Aaand, I’ve made this skirt again.

ImageI’m even wearing the same top as last time.

This Gertie high waisted pencil skirt is made from a stretch denim with leopard print (obviously). To be honest the denim is not the best quality (although you wouldn’t guess that when the original price was $39.95/m!! What the hang, Arthur Toye), but I loved it at the AT 50% sale and wanted another skirt.


The details are all similar to last time; I used the same base size (12 waist to 14 hips, I think) that I traced last time. This time around I actually cut the excess fabric from the side seams from my pattern pieces. Interestingly, although I feel like it fits quite well and definitely isn’t too small, I can see some diagnonal pulling lines at the back. Maybe it’s something I’ll never get rid of while I have curves (mainly my pansita) and a bootay. Although it might partly be the fabric, as my sateen one didn’t do it so much.


It’s as if all the lines are pointing at my bum

I also took in the waistband a touch; last time I had to remove about an inch from the top of the waistband by angling the side seams. I wanted to keep the side seams at a 90 degree angle though, so snipped through the waistband piece from top to almost-bottom three times, and overlapped each piece by 5mm – so I ended up with 3cm less in total at the top of the waistband without removing any from the bottom. Perfect.

ImageWore it to work today and it’s comfortable for all the stand-sit-stand-walk-sit-standing I have to do.


ImageConstruction wise, it’s sewn with machine and finished with my overlocker. I did a lapped zipper using Scruffy Badger Time’s tutorial which I love, and it finishes with a button. Vent added like last time – see this post if you’re interested in how. This time I did no hand-stitching, instead using my MOST AMAZING NEW SEWING MACHINE FOOT, a stitch-in-the-ditch/edge stitching foot, which I picked up for $12 (I was expecting to pay $20-25) at fabric-a-brac. The stitching is perfectly invisible from the outside and just leaves a (very) straight stitchline on the bottom inside waistband.




Pattern: Gertie’s high waisted skirt

Fabric: Leopard print denim from Arthur Toye’s sale, $20/m. 1.5m bought (1m used) = $30

Notions: Thread $2, button and zip, stash

Total: $32



Gertie’s shirtwaist dress in Palomino Green

Gawd, I love shirtwaist dresses. I own two – one is a cute black and white polka dot one from glassons that is SO SHORT I basically have to wear it as a top, and a vintage blue floral with a strange/cool collar detail which is slighly too small.

But this dress is really rad, I love it.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/012.jpg


I’ve been, basically, scared of making a shirtwaist dress for a while – the buttons, the collar, the interfacing etc.. so daunting. Also, I never had a pattern for one. When I saw Gertie’s red rose dress, I fell in love – the liberty fabric is perfect (I would freaking love this shirtwaist dress in the rose pattern, but it would cost >$100), it’s nicely shaped, the shirring in the back promised to make it remarkably comfortable, and it has a nicely full skirt, just how I like it.

And yet, it’s taken me over a year to make it. I first got it out from the library last year whilst still in Christchurch, and had no idea how you were supposed to trace the patterns. I bought the book after coming up here and it’s still taken me this long to do it – not sure if it’s the amount of fabric need (which actually isn’t that much) or just beeing woosy – I think it’s the latter.

But this week I decided to just flipping do it – and lord, it was worth it. It was actually really easy to put together – well drafted

I didn’t make a muslin and only needed a couple of changes. Firstly, the shoulders are craaazy long. IMG_1653On my right is the original shoulder, on my left is where I’ve taken 1 1/2″ off (anyone else use metric for everything else, but imperial for sewing?). I do have narrow shoulders but I’ve never had this much excess before. I also had to take some width from the back yoke, to match. Everything else was a straight size 12.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/002.jpg

The hem is done with my Janome narrow hem foot. I am getting the hang of this and over half is a properly enclosed narrow hem! With the rest of it having straggly bits poking their head out.

Other fitting issues – I do admit the darts are much higher than I should have them, for my low bust. I did do all 6 rows of shirring but wish I had started lower to correspond to hit my lower back. I think there’s a touch too much fabric in the back for me, so the gathering/shirring produced some outpouching when I stand with correct posture. I also put the buttons on a bit wrong – there should be a button directly in line with my bust point, which I forgot to do – hence the bit of gaping. But otherwise I am really happy, the length is perfect.


Our friend Mathieu took these photos for me in our back yard. I’m certain he took twice as many photos (including one of the shirring) but only emailed me four. I have bought my battery charger, just waiting for it to arrive – so I’ll no longer rely on others taking photos of/for me.

And why palomino? Because of the buttons! 8 black metal horsebuttons adorn the front of this dress. It’s also in homage to my favourite Wellington coffee shop. Palomino on Cuba St, which I almost never get to go to seeing as it’s only open during weekday working hours.


I have discovered that i’m not very good at sewing on buttons – most of these have twisted around and I even lost one the first day I wore it – have had to cover up the missing spot with a belt before I have a chance to get to Made on Marion to buy another

This dress is a great one for bridging between casual and dressy. I can wear it to work (casual), and last night dressed it up with a set of pearls and my hair did – I got given a drink for having such an awesome dress, and someone even thought it was “real” vintage. I’m glad I’m at the stage where people compliment me on my clothing without it being obvious that they’re handmade – people are surprised when I tell them I made it, and I even mentioned this dress was “handmade” and I believe they still thought I mean handmade 40 years ago.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/007.jpg

Can you tell how much I LOVE this dress?