Anchors Away

Tony gave me Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book for my Birthday a few  months ago.


The concept of the book is that it has several different skirt, bodice, sleeve, and collar patterns that can be used interchangeable to make  a slew of different dresses. I read the book cover to cover and decided to make a dress based on one of the drawings. An A-Line skirt with a basic bodice, cap sleeves, and a peter pan collar.


When I started construction it was just a mess. Clearly these patterns are not drafted to the same shape as mainstream pattern. I found the bust was 4 inches too low and extremely large. The darts size and placement was just all wrong. So I tried to find a pattern that I had used before to get an idea of how the darts should be placed. I unpicked the whole thing and trimmed the pieces to try and achieve the new shape. I was really irked. I know that most people have to do these types of alterations all the time but it made me really mad that someone would just totally disregard the standard body shape of a dress form and go rogue. I never never never have to make these sort of adjustments with standard patterns. Once that was all sorted out I moved on to the sleeves. Which once attached were a wee bit small and pulled the fabric in bizarre ways. I just gave up. This dress wasn’t to be. I decided to scrap the top and start over with something else and still use the A-line skirt. I think I like the result even better then the first dress so I cant be too upset.

PicMonkey Collage


I used the bodice from my trusty Butterick 6094 (Coincidentally also a Gertie pattern). I thought the little flap detail in the back reminded me of a sailors uniform which worked well with the nautical theme fabric. Instead of using a contrasting fabric for the flap I added some satin ribbon trim. I am so pleased with the result.


I used a zipper from Kitty’s stash. I haven’t seen a metal invisible zip at the store. Unfortunately the metal teeth didn’t fit into my invisible zipper foot so I had to insert it using a regular zipper foot so its not quite as “invisible” as it should be.


I lined the bodice and use the fashion fabric for facings.

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I was short on fabric so I had to put a seam in the bodice midriff and I certainly didn’t have enough fabric left over to pattern match. I added some piping so the lack of pattern matching wouldn’t matter as much.

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I did a blind hem but when I put the dress on I felt it could use something more so I repeated the ribbon detail on the hem as well.

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I like the A-line skirt. I think with so many costumy details on this dress having not such a full skirt makes it a little more wearable.

2 thoughts on “Anchors Away

  1. I love this fabric! I think you made good use of the piping on the bodice. The navy ribbon really sets the collar and skirt off too! I am sure you will be dreaming up all sorts of new clothes with the birthday book! 🙂


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