Sewing a dress with Gertie


I turned 37 a couple of weeks ago and had already given myself a gift in August. When sewingshop Ray stitch in London announced they were offering a workshop with Gretchen from Gertie’s blog for better sewing I jumped on the chance to sew with one of the people that got me started sewing to begin with.

We were going to sew a dress from her latest book and learn a bit about fitting, making a all-in-one facing and a lapped zipper. I made the basic bodice with a 3/4 circle skirt. 

I had a blast at the workshop and learned so much. We had a lovely group of six and the people of Ray Stitch were most welcoming. Gretchen is a very hands on teacher who was great at giving everyone her full attention and helping us master new techniques.  I loved the fitting process and am looking forward to pay more attention to fit in the future, it’s really worth your time when you achieve a great fit. In the end though I didn’t manage to finish the dress as I wanted. My fabric was so slippery that I had a hard time getting my lapped zipper in the way I wanted. I managed to get the thing sewed up, but in my head I was already thinking of a do-over and maybe some handsewing on the zipper.


When I went home I had Gertie’s Ultimate dresses book with me and read the whole book on my way home. I started to re-imagine my sleeveless dress with 3/4 circle skirt into a dress with pencil skirt and cap sleeves. I had enough fabric to do so. So I took the entire dress apart again and made sure to take my time and just try to do everything as perfect as possible.

I stabilized nearly everything, including my zipper (the one that gave me so much trouble) and finished the zip with biastape. It went in without a glitch now. I slipstitched the facing to the zipper for a nice finish.

Everything worked out, but I had a bit of trouble with the facing. I had graded and clipped it before I took it out again and now it was on the small side. On one side of the zipper it doesn’t look as neat as it could have. Otherwise it all fits great!

Specs: basic bodice, pencil skirt and puff sleeves from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, cut out in a size 12. Alterations: lowered the arm scye, small bust adjustment, added an inch to both waistseams. Didn’t need to lengthen anything! 

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A faux leather Hollyburn skirt

Ever since I made my first Hollyburn I knew there would be multiple skirts. I planned a lot of variations. There’s a Megan/Hollyburn mash-up in my future. 

I had this gorgeous faux leather in my stash, waiting for the perfect pattern to go with it. For the longest time it was destined to become a Megan dress. But the sweatiness of a faux leather bodice kept me from it. Then I realised it would make a great skirt and that I had lots of tops to go with a faux leather skirt. 

I made the midi version in a size 10. I topstitched the frontseam:


I love the Hollyburn for its pockets!


And the back:


It was a quick and easy sew except I made a couple of dumb mistakes like cutting out two identical  front skirt pieces and attaching the waistband with the wrong sides together. But these were mistakes that came with beeing rather too busy to sew and wanting to finish the skirt.