Monday, September 3, 2012

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: The Portrait Blouse

Whenever I get a new sewing book, I always flip through it before I really read it, just to get a feel for it. When I did my flip through of Gretchen's new book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, I gasped when I came to the Portrait Blouse. I knew I had to sew it immediately.
It takes very little fabric, and since I only had a small amount of this houndstooth charmeuse (What was I thinking when I only got 1 1/2 yards?!), I thought it would be perfect for this top.
The structure of the blouse is very simple, with just 2 main pattern pieces (front and back) plus facings for the neckline. The blouse is shaped with horizontal bust darts and vertical tucks which release below the bust. I've seen this shaping in a few 50s patterns I have, and I really think it is lovely. I didn't have to make many changes for fit, although I did do a 5/8 inch FBA and lengthened the top 3 1/2 inches (it's pretty short as drafted). In retrospect (after wearing it all day), I should have done a small petite adjustment above the bust, but I'll take care of that on the next version.
Since the blouse is quite fitted in the waist, there is a side zipper as a closure. The book calls for a lapped zip (hand-picked or machine topstitched), which is certainly more vintage accurate, but being the lazy seamstress that I am, I used an invisible zip. I installed it upside down, as per the instructions. Since the zipper opens at the bottom, this blouse is really easy to get in and out of.
The back is also shaped with release tucks, which gives it a good amount of ease in the shoulders, while keeping it trim at the waist. It isn't as sleek in back as darts would be, but it isn't unattractively blousy, and I think it gives it a nice, vintage-y look, particularly when tucked in.
The blouse went together quite beautifully. The only trouble I had was with the neckline, and I'm pretty sure this was my fault. The charmeuse was quite shifty, and I think my facing stretched out a little when I was stitching the interfacing (a la the Sunny Gal method for finishing a facing). I don't know if you can tell from the picture, and it isn't obvious in real life, but there is a slight ripple beneath the neckline that is caused by the slightly too long lower edge of the facing.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the blouse and with the book. I can't wait to try out some of the more complicated patterns.

11 comments:

  1. Ooh this is so lovely. Can't wait for my copy of this book to arrive!

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  2. The new blouse looks wonderful on you, Katie!

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  3. You've inspired me to buy the book; I've been a devoted reader of Gertie's blog for years now. But after your posts I couldn't wait any longer! I love the blouse and I think I'm going to make this up first. Thanks Katie for your inspiration! And, glad you're having fun in SLC!!!!

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  4. That's a pretty little blouse. You did a terrific job using a hard to handle fabric.

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  5. it looks fabulous! i just got the book last week & it's such a nice read. i love all the great drawings & explanations she put in :)

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  6. Such a lovely top! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

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  7. It's a pretty top. It looks great with the black skirt.

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  8. I really love this blouse! The houndstooth is so IN. The style is flattering and I am going to have to get this book now!

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  9. Such a perfectly simple top...I can't wait to get my book!

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