I was sent an advance copy of Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which is now available on Amazon and in your local bookstores. This book is written by Gretchen Hirsch, author of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and the blog blogforbettersewing.com.
Gretchen writes that she has always been interested in the New Look style introduced in 1947 and lasting into the late 50s. This period marks the innovation of American sportswear; comfortable coordinates reflecting a more relaxed approach to dressing. She likes how the origins of sportswear coincided with the feminist movement in women’s history. There are occasional blurbs in the book about women’s history, such as the introduction of pants for women. Her goal in this book is not to duplicate the fashions of the period with accuracy but rather uses them for inspiration and takes advantage of the fabrics and techniques that are now available and may not have been in that time period. Initially, there is quite a bit of information about the time period, popular culture and the style she is writing about.
Following the discussion of the New Look or American Style, there are several chapters that include information that can be easily transferred to any style of garment sewing. There is a chapter on Materials and Supplies that covers fabric types, supplies, interfacing, trims, etc. There are two chapters covering Skills for Wovens and Skills for Knits. I found the later very informative since I haven’t sewn with knits nearly enough to feel comfortable with them. There is also a chapter discussing Pattern Making and how to make adjustments in patterns. I also found that chapter helpful too since I am petite and often need to adapt patterns to fit me properly.
Finally, there are a number of projects. Each project has full size patterns in the back. Because the book is spiral bound, it is a great workbook to have out on your sewing table while you are working on a project.
I think that this Wrap Dress is the pattern that I would be most likely to attempt. I think it’s a very wearable style and rather timeless. But there are a whole range of things to try from a bomber jacket to a knit pencil skirt and even pedal pushers!