So a few week ago, the graph above popped into my Instagram feed. The Sewcialists had put out a call for TNT patterns, which at first perplexed this Gen-Xer who uses words in their entirety (what the fuck young people, words are beautiful, use ALL the letters!). But then I realised it meant Tried and True. The above graph listed all the patterns that had been tagged. I was pleased to see Colette patterns listed – their Anise jacket is the ONLY trans-season jacket a girl needs in her wardrobe and it’s a complete joy to make – my fourth jacket is swinging on a door knob in the apartment waiting patiently to be finished. And then I realised. There were no Gertie patterns in the graph. At first I thought my glasses must be dirty, so I gave them a good spit and polish. I squinted hard Lovelies, I checked every line of text – but Gertie was no where to be found. I left a comment, and got on with sewing my millionth Gertie dress (gold lame!). But it bothered me, that Gertie had been left out. It got under my skin. And so I did what any sane woman would do. I stood in front of my wardrobe and asked all the Gertie dresses, skirts and blouses hanging in line, what I should do. Do you know what they all said, together in one gorgeous handmade voice? “Blog about me!” I tell you Lovelies, some of my dresses are so conceited and in need of attention, it’s a wonder they don’t have their own social media page! But they were right, the only way to rectify this gross injustice of the sewing world was to blog about it in this tiny, slightly camp corner of the world. So Dearests, if you have an aversion to Gertie frocks, skirts and blouses, you may want to turn away now. You may also need the assistance of a medical practitioner, because what women in her right mind doesn’t worship at the altar of Gretchen Hirsch??
The first Tried and True pattern is Gertie’s full circle skirt. Gertie writes about how to draft a circle skirt pattern on pages 102-103 of her first book ‘Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing’. If you love a circle skirt and haven’t already drafted your own pattern, I implore you to try it immediately!
The first Gertie circle skirt I made was in black taffeta, with a braid detail. I was inspired by those gorgeous taffeta skirts from the 50s. The braid was a complete nightmare to machine sew, due to the placement of the swirls – trying to sew loops on over 3 metres of taffeta just about killed me. But I persisted and wore this gorgeous skirt to one of Sufjan’s Vivid Shows in 2015. It was Sufjan who made me realise that a girl MUST have in seam pockets in her skirt, if only to place clean tissues, because anyone who had the unmitigated JOY of seeing the Carrie and Lowell tour will know there were Weeping Hipsters at every turn.
The second full circle skirt was made for last Winter, in a gorgeous weight grey flannel wool, purchased from Fabric Heaven. I didn’t have enough, so had to splice the ends but look at those corners Lovelies, you would think I was raised by a Virgo such is their perfection. The Lovely Miss Imelda wears her below with my favourite pink cashmere cardigan, and some faux pearls.
From Grey the only place a girl can go is Tartan, or as my darling American cousins call it, Plaid. Such an insipid word, plaid. Anyway, red tartan is the only tartan to sew – I’m not sure whose family tartan this is, but it might well belong to the House of Alison such is my devotion to it. It was sewn with in seam pockets, and is such a delight to wear – I almost expect Kyle MacLachlan to come along and invite me to the Highland Fling!
I really can’t tell you how much a House of Alison tartan full circle skirt can lift a Girl’s spirit on a rainy winter day. Again, if you don’t already have one of these in your wardrobe… (I also believe this tartan would look fabulous in a Gertie pencil skirt, worn with black loafers, but as Weejuns aren’t posted to Australia, and therefore are not in my wardrobe, I can’t show you the picture. Grmpft!!)
So from tartan I went to plain black in a summer weight fabric, also purchased from Fabric Heaven. I bought the fabric initially for cigarette pants, but as I have about 7 metres on the roll, had enough for a circle skirt. It’s a heavy weight cotton with stretch, so it hangs at a lovely stiff angle. It picks up every bit of dust and cat hair, but I adore this skirt, and being a basic black can be dressed up or down, as worn by the lovely Miss Imelda below.
While Miss Imelda has accessorised with Kirbee Lawler’s Moon Bee, this outfit could also be accessorised with a walk around Rome with Gregory Peck on your arm.
Miss Imelda show how you can dress a black skirt up with a Gertie blouse.
From black I went floral again, as Miss Imelda demonstrates below. I’ve blogged about these skirts before, so won’t bore you with the detail. Suffice to say the polka dot floral on the left is quite the show off, and reminds me very much of a man I went to a wedding with once.
To date I have six full circle skirts hanging in my wardrobe. I also have four or five cut out ready to be made and sashayed about it. Because I tell you the secret about these skirts my friends. Whether you wear them with a full petticoat underneath, whether you style them as if you just stepped out of a black and white film circa 1952, these skirts will make you feel a fabulousness you have never felt before. Never. They are also incredibly addictive to cut out, and I promise you, once you have cut and made your first one, once you’ve heard the swish of fabric as you walk about ducking and weaving from all the admiring glances, you will not stop at one.
Now that makes it a Tried and Tested pattern in my books, Lovelies. Tried, tested and true.