Subversive Femme

FO: Gertie’s Sultry Sundress (or, my Apple Dress)

Huzzah for public holidays and huzzah for sewing!

After much trial and error, may I present my version of the Gertie Sultry Sheath/Sundress!

I really needed a plain but retro-styled dress for work in summer – something I could jazz up with vintage brooches or cute jewellery. This dress fits the bill perfectly!

The fabric is an amazing apple-green cotton drill from a friend’s stash, and I got the whole thing out of three meters. Not sure why it looks so creased in the photos though – its just been ironed.

The pattern took four goes to get the bodice fit right, and I nearly gave up but am very glad I stuck with it.
I didnt need to do a FBA, but there were a few quirks in the pattern that needed fixing (I would say its sized for tall, big busted football players!).

– shortened the bodice length by 1.5 inches,
– lowered dart points as they came up well over my bust line
– re-drafted the shoulder straps to actually stay on my shoulder – the original pattern is almost an off the shoulder number
– changed the sweetheart neckline to a more v-shape
– the darts under the bust looked a bit loose, so I did a shaped dart like the picture below

Normal dart on the left, shaped dart on the right










– changed the dirndl skirt to be a more flattering box pleat instead, using my favourite instructions from Enid Gilchrist right here
– made a matching belt (after I took the photo, of course!)


















Overall Happiness Factor:

I’m definitely going to make this dress again, I want to give a black square neck version a try. I think the best part of this pattern is the fit – normally I have some gaping around the front arm hole due to my large bust, but this fits like a dream.

I’d recommend this dress, but make a couple of muslins first…

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  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Your look great and so does the dress. I keep wanting to make solid colored dress that can be worn year round. I just haven't gotten around to it. I have one princess seam dress bodice that I use a lot. It fits well and can be altered to add sleeves or straps.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I was given Gertie's book for Christmas! I've started with the Portrait blouse – might finish it today, just the hemming to do. Can't wait to try the sheath dress pattern so thanks for the fitting info.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I saw you on We SewRetro and followed to your blog. You are TOTALLY rocking this color! Thanks also for showing the changes you made. The box pleats are a nice touch.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Thanks so much for the fitting info – it looks like we are a very similar shape and I was due to start on the dress this weekend!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hm. “Tall, big busted football players” you say? *looks down* Yep, bookmarking this one. 🙂

  • Reply
    Alyssa Molin-Graves
    January 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Omigoodness I love the fruit necklace!!! I am all about it! You do look wonderful in that dress, too 🙂

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013 at 7:44 am

    It looks great on you, and that colour! Wow! The fit also look good, and I think it was a good choice with the pleats. That is very flattering!

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