April 6, 2014

Gertie! Cupcakes! Waterfalls! And real tea!

Prepare yourself, darlings. 
It’s Gertie!!!!!!! (and me).

Gertie's sewing retreat 2014!
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! 

 Apart from cutting boning… but given that involves heavy hardware I reckon she gets a pass for putting her back into it 🙂

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!

Kim made her first ever (and second ever) set of pants.. which are so perfect I find it hard to believe she’s not secretly a couture pants maker. Admit it, Kim.

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!

24 thoughts on “Gertie! Cupcakes! Waterfalls! And real tea!

  1. sew rachel! says:

    OMG That looks like soooo much fun!!!!!

    1. Jenny says:

      It was BEYOND!

    2. Great job, Jenny! You are such an awesome person. It was very nice to meet you and I wish you great success with your future plans, projects, and collaborations.

      All the Best to You and Big Hugs,
      Blanca 🙂

    3. Jenny says:

      Thanks Blanca was lovely to meet you too. I will never look at ice skating costumes the same way again!

  2. gMarie says:

    Looks like great fun was had by all. My local ASG has sewing retreat twice a year – but it’s not quite the same. Lots of people who sew to help – but no expert. g

    1. Jenny says:

      It was! Just being in a room of fellow sewers is cool enough, but when you throw a Gertie into the mix…

  3. That looks amazing! I am so jealous! I think the uk bases sewing retreats tend to be more quilty. But I’d love to go on a garment one!

    1. Jenny says:

      Sounds like a gap in the market! And there are tons of UK based sewists…..

  4. Laurwyn says:

    That must have been such fun! I really envy you, and I am really looking forward to seeing the dress!
    Secret project huh…

    1. Jenny says:

      What could it be ?!? 🙂

  5. Excellent recap!! It was SO wonderful meeting you and person and sewing with you. Now I’m off to the Garment District to buy lots ‘o fabric! I hope you’ll share your spoils soon here!

    1. Jenny says:

      Looking forward to October in Austin 😀

  6. i loved seeing y’all romping around on instagram!

    1. Jenny says:

      romp romp romp

  7. Katy Patzel says:

    Looks like so much fun!

    1. Jenny says:

      It was fun x cupcake!

  8. Gail says:

    So fun! Looks like you all had a blast AND got lots of good work done!

  9. tanyamaile says:

    How awesome is that? I’m so envious of you and your fellow sewists, but so glad that you have been sharing your wonderful experience. I have never been on a sewing retreat or a sewing meetup. Perhaps that may change in the coming year. Who knows?! 🙂

  10. Joanna says:

    Awesome post Jenny, you are so much fun and full of wit. It was a pleasure to meet you. I can’t wait to see how your dress turns out. Glamour all the way!

    1. Jenny says:

      Was so lovely to meet you too! Hope to meet again some time.

  11. Gertie says:

    Loved reading your post on the retreat, Jenny. It was delightful to have you there! Hope to see you again very soon! xoxo

  12. Alessa says:

    It sounds absolutely amazing!

  13. sleepydiver says:

    I can’t wait to see your dress all did! I wish to go to one of her retreats someday. She explains everything so simply and I do love her dresses. glad to see you had fun!

Let me know what you think!