Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A review on Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

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!


superheidi said...

Many are raving about this book and I wish Gertie al the best with the adventure. But I'm glad to read a balanced and honest review.

Erika said...

I mostly had the same reaction to this book. Fun to browse through, but not so much new info. This is the book I would have worshipped a few years ago (when Gertie forst reveiled she was writing it), but I've needed most of these skills since then, so I've had to learn them on my own.
To me it seemed like a great book for a beginner going on intermediate sewist, or someone with modern sewing experience who wants to learn some vintage style techniques.
And the patterns... Again, would have loved them 2-3 years ago, but when set against the sloper I've drafted since then, they're useless to me. Also, most of them are a bit tricky to FBA.
So I wasn't as blown away by this book as I had hoped, it was just a nice reading experience. Nothing wrong with that though =)

Jacqui said...

Just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Lady D said...

I think this book came out just at the right point in MY sewing journey. As when I started I'd never of traced off the patterns. And would have found the fitting adjustments a bit mind boggling. Now, I'm at the right level to sew most of the projects. i've sewn the pencil skirt pattern twice and startedon the portrait blouse.

Bex said...

Totally agree with your review.
I mainly bought the book for the patterns too - plus as the patterns are sized for a large C-cup, there's no need to do FBAs hurrah!

Isis said...

superheidi: I do think it is a good book and, if you are newer to sewing, probably a great one. And I love the fact that it available, but not completely teh book for me.

Erika: Yes, I would have loved it to bits15 years ago. Now I "just" like it. Still, that's not so bad. :)

Isis said...

Jacqui: Thank you! U wish you a great 2013!

Lady D: I would have adored it if it had came at anotehr point in my sewing life. :)

Bex: I think teh patterns make the book worth the money any day. :)

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