Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gertie's LA Party for Better Sewing

I often feel that I'm the last to know about many of the ultra-fun, swanky offerings that the LA area has to offer to a vintage-loving, crafty mama like myself.  But by some miracle (Facebook), I was actually able to learn about a book signing and indoor "picnic" for Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch in time to make plans to attend!

If you're currently scratching your head thinking, "who?" it's probably best that you just skip this post.  Well, or take a little time to enjoy the sartorial stylings of darling Gertie via her blog, New Blog for Better Sewing.  The title is a riff on the trusted old Vogue book of a similar name: New Book for Better Sewing.  Yours truly managed to score a copy (minus the dust cover) on eBay ages ago.  Alas, most of the patterns noted within the book are long out of print and hard to come by.  Gertie took the time and effort to track down all the patterns and construct each one, documenting the ordeal (and FUN) on her blog.

She's been something of a darling in the crafty community as of late, and why the heck not?!  She's a cute as a 1950's button!  But she's also smart as a whip, and a talented author and pattern-maker, too.  Her new book, aptly titled Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is filled with information on sewing your own vintage-inspired garments.  Plus, it includes numerous patterns in a variety of sizes.  It's like a build-your-own-wardrobe book, just add notions, fabric, and time!

But as I was saying: book signing and picnic!

Independent fabric store, Sew LA, hosted the shindig a few weeks ago.  I wrangled my daughter, my copy of the Vogue book, and Gertie's text and made my way to LA for an afternoon with Gertie.  But first, I thought I'd go ahead and make and wear a little something from the book.  Time being short, I settled on making up a blouse.

Bow-tie blouse

The back

Driving from Long Beach to anywhere in LA will either take twice the amount of time suspected, or half.  In our case, we were there early.  I got a couple of shots of the space before it was packed with eager sewists.

Gertie brought along several pieces highlighted in the book

The studio set up with adorable photo space

A blurry shot of my girl

The obligatory "proof I was there" shot

As it was picnic themed, there was a terrific spread of appropriate foods, including veggie "piggies in blankets," deviled eggs, skewers, and potato salad!

The spread

Getting ready to stuff my gob

Gertie plays hostess

Another dress from the book in the background

A make-up artist was there doing vintage-styled make-overs

Gertie's book was available for purchase, natch, and part of a give-away
Gertie draws a winner--alas, it wasn't me
Taylor and I

 All told, we had a lovely time.  I was too shy to ask Gertie to do much more than sign my book.  Oh, I did show her my copy of Vogue's NBBS, taking pains to point out the sweet inscription from 1956: "For Linda Sue, Happy Birthday, July 21, 1956"

At any rate, now my copy of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing has its own inscription.


  1. Oh thank you so much for posting pictures!! At least I was vindicated in my feeling too puny to accompany you by finding out it was a full sinus and upper respiratory infection. Twice relieved now that I didn't expose your household.

    Still, it looks as though you had a lovely time and I hope that you will let me peruse your book on my next visit. :D

    1. Healing is always a priority and OF COURSE you're able to browse the book. :) Once we finish your dress (we need to get back on that), you can pick out a new pattern to play with. :)

  2. I'm an avid reader of Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing, and I really wanted to go to the signing, but wasn't in the cards. I'm glad you got to go, though! Your blouse is cute, too! (This is Athene, BTW)

    1. Having never been to Sew LA, I was impressed by the cute little store! Gertie was a doll, but I felt like a total fan-girl dweeb to do much more that smile sheepishly at her. D'oh!

  3. I'm sure she loves her total fan-girl dweebs! They make her as popular as she is. And this is her first book so I'm sure it is all very new and exciting for her. I wish I could have gone. Moving furniture made me a sore and grumpy Tricia.

    1. She was very gracious and absolutely lovely! There was no reason for me to be so quiet other than my own insecurities.

      I wish you could've gone, too, but I cannot wait to see your dining set once your dining room is all set.



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