From a Sewing Book – Gertie’s portrait blouse and pencil skirt

From my side of the globe I am managing to get my November post in, just under the wire; I think it is already December where the lovely TMS editors all are, but I am sure I will be forgiven.

I’ve actually had these items made and ready to go for nearly three weeks now, but have been ridiculously busy and only managed to get them photographed today.

I was very excited that this month’s challenge was From a Sewing Book, as there are many, many things I’ve been wanting to make, so this was a good reason to prioritise. The biggest challenge was deciding which of my sewing books to use.

I ended up going with Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and I made the portrait blouse in a cute elephant print cotton

and her pencil skirt in a gingery tweed

However, since measuring, cutting and indeed making the skirt I have lost a bit of weight and it is now less than snug around my waist:

Not exactly how you want a pencil skirt to sit, is it?

I found both of these items quite straightforward to make and the instructions in Gertie’s book are really easy to follow. She also has lots of mini tutorials on adding vintage touches like inserting a hand-picked lapped zipper, bound buttonholes and the like. I went with h-p lapped zippers on both of these, which I had never tried before, and think it might be my new favourite zipper insertion (not a question I am often asked, to be fair!). I also lined the skirt and finished the hem with some gingham bias, but omitted the boning in the waistband – though I did use non-fusible interfacing for the first time. I did do quite a careful fitting of the skirt – I might have to save it for my bloatier days!

I should have muslined the blouse, but dove straight in. It really needs a swayback adjustment (I presume that is what I mean? I get some fabric pooling in the small of my back… maybe it needs a large ass adjustment instead?) but overall the fit is not too bad and it is certainly wearable as is.

If you would like to know more about these two me-mades, pop on over to my blog Is it Fitting?

Now my thoughts must turn towards partying!


10 thoughts on “From a Sewing Book – Gertie’s portrait blouse and pencil skirt

  1. ooh, the whole outfit is fab. Love seeing others make patterns from gerties book – can’t wait to try both of these ones out. The Elephant fabric is so awesome too!


  2. Fantastic! The whole outfit is great! I have Gertie’s book as well and am currently making the Portrait blouse, so it’s nice to see it made up and working out in real life! I also noted how high waisted Gertie’s pencil skirts were, they look great, but I did wonder about bending over and the like. Great job, I think both pieces look so nice and it makes a terrific outfit!


  3. Heh that’s (at least) three of us that have used the pencil skirt! I love the fabric – and what a bugger about it not fitting any more! I find pencil skirts really uncomfortable when they’re too big in the waist. It’s a win-lose situation, eh? Luckily I wasn’t really sewing when I was at my biggest; but I do have a couple of garments I made when I was a touch smaller, that I may have to give away!


    • It has certainly proved a popular pattern. I’ve loved your versions – especially the blue leopard! (I would normally have commented sooner, but I am just catching up with my blog reading after my busy few weeks… I had over 350 unread posts on Blogloving on Thursday!)


  4. I love the elephants. Isnt it so hard to be happy about slimming down when it means  that all your handmade clothes don’t fit like a dream anymore?! I recently lost 20 pounds and now all my faves don’t fit. Also, I think a swayback adjustment is a large ass adjustment! 🙂


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