Prepare yourself, darlings.
It's Gertie!!!!!!! (and me).
Yep, this weekend was the inaugural Gertie Sewing Retreat in Beacon NY! I was beyond excited to join 10 other talented ladies from as far away as Texas and Saskatchewan to learn at the feet of the purple-haired, bobby-socked and fit-and-flared legend herself, Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch. And what a weekend it was.
Firstly, super company. One highlight was meeting Lauren of RosieWednesday - now that's a girl who gives good photo face. She is, as predicted, totally delightful.
We were sewing in a beautiful location - the Roundhouse hotel, perched over a roaring waterfall. It made for great views from our sewing room (the top floor on the photo below) although it did mean that I flashed waterfall-viewers on multiple occasions from our changing cupboard which didn't have a curtain. Necchi machines were provided for us to work with, which have now MASSIVELY spoiled us all with auto knotting (!), auto back-stitching (!!) and auto thread cutting (!!!) capability. I fear my little Brother will never feel the same again.
There were also cupcakes. Lots, and lots, of cupcakes. I think Gertie is most likely a fairy princess who subsists entirely on cupcakes.
Of course, the highlight was meeting Gertie herself and learning all her tips and tricks. She's a total bundle of fun, and treated us to various of her blog-famous dresses. There were a bunch of tutorials: 2 pieced underarm gussets, boning, bound buttonholes and lapped zippers - and she made it all look so easy!
Accompanying Gertie was the most excellent Fleur, a fellow Brit (we were 3 strong at the retreat... go UK!) who's a master pattern maker who cracked the whip for each 1/16th of an inch. Wowsers! Crucially, Fleur also provided double-anchor outfits, the tunes, and, most critically of all, a bag of proper tea bags (we were in critical mode before then).
Brits in action!
As for me, well I worked on Butterick B5814, a Gertie design modeled on Joan from Mad Men. Given that my figure is highly similar (well, proportion-wise at least!) I thought it might be a good bet, and would also give me the opportunity to learn about boning.
I made up a last-minute muslin before I headed out, which was a solid start but left a lot to be desired:
Then, it was muslin, muslin, muslin baby (yep, that's three muslins). My bust is somewhat.. complicated to fit, but to Fleur's credit she didn't waver in her dedication to make it happen! The image below is muslin #2...
By 11pm on Day 2, I had my adjusted pattern, and there was a short night's sleep before...
The final adjustments, muslins and garments all came together on Sunday morning.
Lauren finished up her *gorgeous* bustier muslin (from Gertie's Bombshell Dress)
which she will be making in this amazing eyeglasses print! The lady even did pattern matching. I mean, really. What a gal!
Alison not only adjusted this Colette Peony but also about 5 other muslins! She's a Nova Scotian machine!
Everyone ended up with amazing fitted muslins or final objects. As for mine, well.... I have *most* of it cut out now. But it will be a little time before it's all finished... watched this space!
And lastly... if you follow Lauren (@rosiewednesday) and I (@cashmerette) on Instagram you'll already have caught up with the action - and if you follow the hashtag #gertieretreat you can see even more photos from our lovely weekend (spot the photobombing Gertie and Mr Gertie a.k.a. Jeff below)
I, for one, am now entirely exhausted from the weekend but also excited about an upcoming secret project...
Have you ever been on a sewing retreat before, Cashmerette readers? Do you have a specific strategy? I would love to do another one, but next time hopefully I'll be a little more prepared!