A change is as good as a rest, apparently – so a little change of pace here on the blog with a book review! I think from my numerous makes from Gertie’s books over the last couple of years how much I enjoy a good sewing and pattern book; provided you like at least a few of the patterns, they can be tremendously good value – I have definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of my Gertie book so far (to be fair, I did receive them as presents from my parents. But I’ve still gotten a lot of value out of them)! I also really appreciate having a beautiful hard-cover, bound, colour set of instructions to work from, let alone the usually helpful and comprehensive reference they usually provide. So I was pretty thrilled when I expanded my collection late last year, when I won Pattern Review’s giveaway to win a copy of Boundless Style!
Though I was hardly expecting to win the competition, I was thrilled when I did – everything I had already read about the book had definitely piqued my interest. Not only did I like the look of its elegant, vintage-inspired styling, but also the idea of a collection of bodices, sleeves and skirts designed to be mixed and matched. Whilst it’s often fairly easy to pick elements from different patterns and mix them together, it makes the whole process so much easier when the various elements are actually drafted to fit together perfectly, especially in the case of sleeves! The instructions for each section of the book are very well done and clearly set out, and it’s great to see a variety of combinations of bodices, skirts and sleeves shown in the book. The patterns are all conveniently available on PDF on the CD included, which means you can easily print the pattern you wish to use, and don’t even need to trace if you don’t care to! The only fault I can find with the book is I’m not a huge fan of the fit and styling of some of the photographed garments; however that’s a common problem, when sample outfits are photographed on models, and not necessarily indicative of any faults with the designs or sizing of the patterns.
As I’d already decided dresses were temporarily off my cutting table, I decided to make a shirt instead – as the patterns even include peplum lengths for the skirts for this purpose. I decided on the Billie bodice with the Bardot sleeves and Ella peplum. I loved the unusual folds coming to the centre from the side seams, as well as the neat little pointed collar, and the soft pleats at the caps of the sleeves. I had a gorgeous sheer, gauzy white cotton with a beautiful fine floral pattern, which again, I bought from The Cloth Shop earlier this year specifically for a shirt. I decided to use a double layer for the bodice pieces, given the sheerness of the cotton, but kept a single layer for the sleeves and peplum. I cut straight size 10, to go with my bust measurement. Normally I grade down at least one size for my waist, but I wasn’t sure how this would affect the fold-ins.
Construction was fairly straight-forward; I followed the instructions in the book, which were clear and well-illustrated with photographs. I basted the side seams to check the fit of the bodice, and discovered I could take in the side seams a consistent 3cm from under-arm to waist (so I think I’ll be sizing down next time!). I finished seams as I went with the overlocker, and the hem on the peplum was done with the overlocker’s rolled hem finish.. Creating a collar with a collar-stand was a first for me, but went quite smoothly (again thanks to the detailed instructions). I found the finish very neat, especially the facing at the back for the slit at the back of the neck. All the pattern pieces fit together very neatly, which always makes for a very satisfying make.
All in all, I really love the fit and style of this shirt! My only gripe is that it’s little hard to get in and out of, but I think that’s more just the style of a high-necked, collared, long-sleeve shirt with a side zip. This shirt looks great both tucked in to high-waisted pants and skirts or worn out, and it’s neat practicality combined with vintage charm makes it another great piece in my me-made placement wardrobe – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really do love being able to make clothes which allow me to express my personal style, even at work!
And yes, I am wearing the shirt with a pair of brand-new me-made woollen trousers here – but they won’t be getting a blog post as they are essentially exactly the same as my last cigarette pants from Gertie’s book! I have another pair planned which will be at least slightly different though, so watch this space 😉
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx