Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gertie's Vintage Fabric Collection

What do these fabrics have in common?


These are vintage inspired fabrics by Gretchen Hirsch, with many thanks to Jo Ann Fabrics. Have you met Gertie (Gretchen) yet?

I first "met" her a few years ago when I stumbled upon her blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, which was inspired by the book, Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. I liked that premise a lot and I've learned a lot from her explorations into vintage sewing and pattern analysis. Then one day it was announced that Gertie had a vintage inspired pattern line through Butterick! I've bought a few of them...


...and have already made the Bombshell bathing suit.


Then last spring a fabric line by Gertie was introduced, which is sold in Jo Ann Stores. I kept saying, "Oh my goodness!" I had just finished accessing my spring/summer clothing needs, as well as  my daughters. Our clothes were so old they were fading and coming apart. I've been saving money for the day we find something on the rack we like, but that rarely happens. We aren't much into  modern fashions. Also clothes these days are so cheaply made they rarely last the entire season. In addition, few clothes on the rack fit us. However the local fabric stores have been mostly full of icky fabrics for the last couple of years. Thankfully I had a stash of some scrumptious fabrics from years past that I had purchased. Initially I thought they would be all I had to sew to fill our closets. Then I saw the Gertie line and I was in love! When I showed my daughter she was excited! I don't know that they are exactly historically accurate but they are at least definitely inspired to the vintage feel. When we saw these fabrics in person we adored the drape and lovely hand. We started collecting them over the summer during super sales.

Pairing these fabrics with either a contemporary pattern or one from Gertie's line will be a lot of fun. (And yes, I buy the patterns on super sale too!) I've already sewn a few items for a fun event, so stay tuned for that tell-all post!

Here are some great videos of Gertie sharing the research process into original Vogue patterns at the Vogue fashion house in New York City. I love these videos! They are so beautifully made. There is a main one featured at the top of the page and more in smaller screens at the bottom. I hope you check out each one.

Remember how Gertie's original blog goal was to learn couture sewing by recreating each garment from Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing? Well, I have similar type goals, though I don't have a lovely book like Vogue's to help me. Thankfully I have Gertie to inspire me as I try a bit of this and that.  Gertie has brought some of these couture ideas into her product lines for that touch of flare.

Since I love and appreciate historic sewing so much (and I do have some of those projects in the sewing basket, a gal needs contemporary fashions as well), why not bring a bit of it into our daily wear for me and my daughter? I've learned from various historic sewing classes elements of the precursors of these couture techniques (which you can read about in this post about a great contemporary book on how to sew with couture techniques at home reminiscent of the Paris fashion houses), so I know they work. However I haven't quite introduced them into my everyday sewing yet because I'm not quite sure how to do everything. Thus my own couture sewing journey is reflected in my tab label "Couture Sewing Hopes."

It is my hope to sew as well as my great Aunt Laura did who worked as an executive secretary in Manhattan in the mid-20th century. My everyday sewing has been self-defeating, until I started learning a few couture techniques, like the need to make a muslin/toile to fit a pattern to my body. I used to think that all patterns fit all body types. Now that I've taken classes in 18th century sewing I completely understand how that is wrong. Patterns are merely a starting point. The finesse is through the muslin/toile...something I continue to strive to perfect so that the clothing I sew actually fits, and hopefully fits better than what I find on the rack. Besides whenever my daughter gets married, I'd  like to sew my daughter's wedding this is part of that journey too.

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