Gertie Shares Her Adventures | Episode 18The owner of by Gertie, Gretchen Hirsch, shares her experience starting her own pattern company, writing sewing tutorial books, and more
Pattern designer, teacher, and author Gretchen Hirsch discusses the growth of her brand and business, her upcoming plans, and her sewing fantasies in the Sewing with Threads Episode 18 video podcast.
Gretchen, better known as Gertie, came on to the sewing scene with Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing. She expanded her business and created By Gertie, which offers online sewing tutorials; announces her upcoming events and traveling workshops; and sells her patterns, fabrics, and books. She also has been a licensed Butterick pattern designer.
Multipattern and a book
The Night and Day Dress is one of the most recent designs from Gertie’s independent Charm Patterns line. It graced the cover of Threads #203 (June/July 2019). Gertie reveals her inspiration for the versatile pattern and how it developed. It’s an advanced pattern with detailed instructions for 72 dress variations.
But Gertie says she also wanted to reach out to beginner sewers and “everyone who struggles to fit sewing into their day-to-day lives.” Her solution was a book: Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses (Abrams, 2019). She explains how she chose the title, her goals for the book, and the popularity of one of the book’s five patterns.
Plans for the days ahead
What’s in store for the future? Gertie is rereleasing the Lamour Dress pattern. It includes a 60-page instruction book to thoroughly explain how to create 18 variations of the design. This and her other work stems from her sewing dreams.
“And making my fantasy come to life is my favorite thing,” she declares.
Gertie’s goal is to release half a dozen patterns in 2019. At least one late this year will be particularly challenging. “I’ve got a great love for tailored things,” she says. So she’s revisiting an out-of-print princess coat design she created for Butterick years ago. The design will include bound buttonholes, fussy interfacings, and other tailoring details.
She also reveals where she sources most of her fabrics and why some designs require boning, preferably the spiral steel variety. For information on boning, see “Fundamentals: Easy-to-sew boning,” Threads #159 (Feb./March 2012).
Bias or shaped facing?
Gertie and the Threads editors also tackled a reader question about when it is a good idea to use a bias facing instead of a shaped facing. Insiders can learn a clever method for finishing an edge with bias tape, in “How to Sew a Bias Edge.”
This episode of Sewing with Threads is sponsored by Baby Lock and Dharma Trading Company.
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