I have been enamored with Gertie’s (Gretchen Hirsch) patterns for a while now. I own 3 of her pattern books, most of her Butterick pattern line, and am on pins and needles (pun intended) waiting for her line of self published patterns, Patterns By Gertie. However, this particular pattern may just be as close to perfection as you can get. It is the quintessential day dress and works well with a multitude of fabrics and prints. I have made this pattern out of cotton sateen, broadcloth, seersucker, flannel, rayon challis, and even a bedsheet. I love that you can dress this up by adding the right shoes and accessories. Or wear it casual by throwing on a jean jacket and some Ked’s. I regularly wear these dresses to my office job with a cropped cardigan thrown over it.
This pattern is a fairly quick sew and only took me about 4 hours from start to finish the first time around (about 3 -3 ½ hours now that I am well versed in the steps). So in my opinion this is an easy afternoon project.
I really like how much you can customize this dress as well. Because of the way the skirt is cut you can play with the length. I am on the taller side at 5’9” and with no modifications the skirt hits me right at the knees. Which gives a more modern-retro look. I am usually preferential to skirts hitting me below the knee and find that my “sweet spot” for skirt length is 28”. But for these I left the length as is.
I have a pretty curvy figure and my measurements are 44” Bust / 31-32” Waist / 49” Hips. Before I trace and cut a pattern I always check the measurements on the actual pattern tissue to decide what size I need as the measurement on the envelope are usually a bit off due to pattern ease. If I had cut the pattern based on the envelope I would have been a size 18 at the waist, but based on the pattern tissue I could fit a size 16.
I have only made view A so far and I know my hip measurement will be an issue when I get to view B. However, my bust is larger than the measurement for a size 16. Gertie’s patterns are known for having a bit more leeway with her bust measurements but I am still a few inches bigger than a straight size 16. Doing a full bust adjustment (FBA) is not something I particularly enjoy. I am pretty new to sewing clothing so I know in time practice will make perfect, but at this point, FBA’s take me several tries before I manage to get it right. Because this is princess seamed I didn’t want to mess with a true FBA. So I did a cheat method where I graded the bodice front and side pieces up to a size 18 just at the bust leaving the waist still a size 16.
Other than doing my cheat FBA I left pattern as is for these 6 dresses. However, after seeing someone’s inspiration picture with a tiered skirt in the sew-along Facebook group and made 2 more with that variation. I will do a follow up post about how I did the skirt since there was some math involved. I also got creative with some white broadcloth and RIT dye. So keep an eye out for a tutorial on dip dyeing in the future as well.