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Book Giveaway: “Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing”

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch

In honor of Gretchen Hirsch’s recent interview with SewStylish, featured in the Fall 2013 issue, we are giving away a copy of her fabulous book Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A modern guide to couture-style sewing using basic vintage techniques (STC Craft, Melanie Falick Books, 2012).

After setting out to sew all 14 patterns from Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing (
Simon and Schuster, 1952), Gretchen became a vintage sewing icon while blogging about her progress at blogforbettersewing.com.

Inspired by vintage designs with a modern twist, Gretchen later wrote a book featuring important construction, patternmaking, tailoring, and fitting techniques for making couture-style garments. Also included is a pattern collection of 25 wardrobe essentials, as well as, information on fabric, tools, and more!

Have you ever sewn a vintage garment? What types of details from vintage garments inspire you?

Leave a comment on this post before 11:59 P.M. EST, August 11th and you could win a copy of Gretchen’s book. The winner will be chosen at random and announced via email the week of August 12th.

Good luck!


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  1. bekabug8 | | #1

    I've sewn a couple vintage garments. I love interesting trim details you don't normally find in modern garments.

  2. User avater
    kprincegentry | | #2

    I have sewn a few vintage garments. I would probably use more of my vintage stash but the sizes are so different now. Favorite detail? Piping! We should use of piping, it really highlights the contour of the seams and always add a wonderful contrast.

  3. sweetz | | #3

    I haven't had the opportunity to sew any vintage outfits, however, whenever I see any pattern from the 50's or earlier I must purchase it. And I inherited several fancy dresses that my mother sewed in the late 50's and early 60's that I love to inspect the inside of. Not sure I can ever measure up to her skills!

  4. TarDan731 | | #4

    I always too nervous to sew with vintage patterns. Maybe this will give me the confidence boot I need!

  5. User avater
    ShiningStar | | #5

    I love vintage style but haven't made anything yet.

  6. Marty_Marie | | #6

    I just bought my first vintage pattern and i cant wait to try it! i love the details you see in vintage clothing i.e. pintucks and different pleat/dart placements

  7. swearysewer | | #7

    oooh, yes, yes and yes please! i pretty much only sew vintage patterns, so i would love this. :)

  8. VanRudolf | | #8

    I have never sewn a vintage garment. I just started back sewing apparel garments a few months ago. I have been sewing quilts for the past 10 years and decided to start sewing for myself. I am learning a lot of new techniques and especially how to adjust my patterns to fit me.

  9. Kylli | | #9

    Vintage sewing is new to me, but Gertie's book is ment to be hepful, I guess.

  10. clauditza | | #10

    Even though I don't have much experience on sewing vintage garments, what I love about them is the way they fit the body.

  11. clauditza | | #11

    Even though I don't have much experience on sewing vintage garments, what I love about them is the way they fit the body.

  12. raewaters | | #12

    Would love to read this book. Have been following Gertie's blog for only a short time, but find it a great read with lots of helpful tips and projects to envy.

  13. raewaters | | #13

    Sorry, forgot to add: I love the structure of many vintage garments and would love to learn to sew like that.

  14. cweetgal | | #14

    Recently I got Burdastyle's Sewing vintage modern book and I have already made two garments from it.(http://thehobbyharbor.blogspot.in/2013/02/vintage-inspired-jackie-dress.html). I love the detailed construction details involved in Vintage styles,which result in such lovely garments.Thanks for the opportunity to win :)

  15. User avater
    aunrea79 | | #15

    I haven't sewn any vintage garments yet, but I really want to. I just don't know where to start.

  16. mogulsm | | #16

    I am currently trying my hand at vintage patterns. I love the details in the patterns. There are so many styles of clothes to make but when there are details in the design it sets the piece apart from anything else that can be purchased or made. The details in vintage clothing whether it be a neckline or several wonderfully placed seams, it makes all the difference in the world!

  17. idosew | | #17

    Vintage is always a style worth having. I am totally into the 30s and early 40s!!

  18. nataliehope | | #18

    I've never sewn anything vintage, but I love the hand sewn details I see on vintage garments.

  19. User avater
    grnthumb30 | | #19

    I love vintage patterns because they assume you can sew. They have detailing and fit! Course you have to modify the old patterns as they were made for a smaller size/stature woman, but it's worth it!

  20. Sophie101 | | #20

    Pick Me, Pick me, Pick me. I am making vintage 1940's aprons for family members on my vintage 1940's white sewing machine.

  21. manigoldgirl | | #21

    I'm a vintage 75, raised 6 kids, have 15 grandkids and 18 1/2 great grandkids. I have 3 cardboard boxes of vintage patterns I used with my kids and me. I love them! Sometime the pattern sizing is different. I still use them, mostly for kids clothes. It was difficult buying babysize to little boys size clothes at the stores. Just didn't make them. my 6th baby, a little 5# girl, you couldn't buy preemie size clothes for them back then, so she wore clothes I made from doll patterns. I still have them and now make them for all the kids dolls. My 2 boys and 4 girls grew up in 'home made' clothes. Only 1 daughter wanted a 'bought' dress so bad, out of her first paycheck when she was 18,she bought a dress that cost $70. I liked to have fainted. Early on when kids were little we all bought flour in 25# sacks that were printed with designs on them. Take out the seams, wash the sack and you had at least 1 yd per sack of material. Made the cutest dresses, aprons & etc. (Back then no wash and wear. Just Iron, iron, iron. Especially RUFFLES!!!! Ahhh, the memories. I'm getting ready to make this 'ol vintage' a couple of vintage dresses. What goes around, comes around. Enjoy them!

  22. lilhav | | #22

    I love the full skirts and nipped-in waists--so figuring-flattering. And fun to sew!

  23. User avater
    Metzy | | #23

    The blog about how the book came about is an interesting read. I would love to see the original book. Your new book sounds like it is well written

  24. ArtemisKeane | | #24

    I have a couple of vintage patterns I can't wait to try! Just waiting for the right fabric. I also love the full skirts.

  25. Bluizeblu | | #25

    I love vintage style with modern flair. I've seen many positive comments about Gretchen's book, and would love to learn her techniques.

  26. fashionmavin | | #26

    Gertie is a fascinating gal and takes me back to when I was a younger gal and saw mom in some of these styles...great details. feminine and great looking on. I do purchase "vintage" patterns on occasion and it is fun to sew them and know that some of them are far more stylish than what is on the market...unique and not everyone looks the same. I have watched some of her Beginner sewing" You Tubes and she is a great instructor. She allows one to understand how to do the project and not run away with it, leaving the viewer lost.

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