Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag

Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag

Great Gertie Dress, Headband, and Handbag
Great Gertie Dress, Headband, and Handbag

Great Gertie Dress:

This is my Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag. I have discovered Gertie.  Gertie, also known as designer Gretchen Hirsch, has become my new favorite.  She creates easy to make retro dress patterns that are fun and flirty. I can’t seem to get enough.

I just purchased her new book Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles and immediately completed a dress that is so much fun. I can’t wait to wear it.  I used a retro border print with a white on white polka dot bodice fabric.  I added a simple head band with an even easier fold over clutch to complete the ensemble.  I hope you will give these patterns a try. You can order the book from my affiliate link to Amazon below or if you just want a particular pattern she sells her patterns individually through Butterick so you can order it through Butterick or at your local fabric store.  I highly recommend the book.  It is filled with sewing tips and techniques to make sewing these dresses a snap and loads of patterns for casual day dresses to evening gowns and even a wedding dress.

The dress I created was a combination of the Lace-Up Gingham Dress and the Polka Dot Day Dress.  I did not want the puffy sleeves of the Gingham but I needed the facing for the boat neck and by combining the patterns, I got exactly what I wanted.  If you want these patterns and a tutorial on how to make this dress click Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles to purchase the book.

If you would like fun fifties inspired fabric I suggest for exactly what you need.  This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Matching HeadBand

Matching Headband, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, and Handbag
Matching Headband

I borrowed this pattern and tutorial from Suzanne at  This headband is easy to make and is reversible.  You can make it out of any two fabric combinations you want.  I, of course, made mine to match my great Gertie dress.  Thanks to Suzanne for this great pattern and tutorial. If you get some time head on over to her website at

I’m seeing more and more headbands pop up so I decided to take a swing at it myself. I went through at least 20 prototypes before I finally nailed it. These fit perfectly! There’s a WIDE and a NARROW version. The WIDE version has an extreme taper so that you get the full pattern blast at the crown of your head, but it still fits comfortably behind your ears. The NARROW version is simple and easy to make and tapers nicely too.

Want to make your own? Read the full post for the tutorial.

Headband Tutorial


  • Templates: Headband Tutorial Template Cut out the one (wide or narrow) you want
  • 4 inch piece of braided elastic (it’s better than the woven elastic)
  • 2 x [4″ x 20″] strips of fabric that you love. Use different fabrics so you have a reversible headband
  • 1 x [4″ x 20″] strip of moderately stiff single-sided fusible interfacing (I tried Timtex – it was too heavy)
  • Pins, Iron, Sewing Machine, Coordinating Thread, Blah blah blah


  • These headbands fit most women’s heads. If you have a smaller head, use 1 inch less elastic.
  • Templates include the necessary seam allowances
  • I used 100% cotton on my bands, but you could use any ironable fabric you like. I would LOVE to see what you make.
  • Stitching the elastic in can be a bit of a bear if your feed dogs don’t catch. Just use the tip of your seam ripper or something pointy and firm to help “guide” the ends under the needle.
  • The interfacing is optional. It adds a nice stiffness and shape to the headband, but I made a few without any interfacing and they worked perfectly too.
  • I am not a seamstress by any means. My “templates” are pretty amateurish but they work for me and I’ve used them at least 10 times now so I think they’re solid. But consider yourself warned.

Step 1: Gather your materials kids!

Step 2: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse one strip of fabric (wrong side facing) to the interfacing

Step 3: Fold your strips lengthwise and align the “fold” end of the template on the fold of the strip. Trace and cut or pin and cut both strips. The templates include the necessary seam allowance.

Pin Headband Pattern to Fabric, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag
Pin Headband Pattern to Fabric

Step 4: Fold down each end of both fabric strips (along the “crease” line on the template) and iron.

Step 5: With right sides facing, pin the strips together and sew along each LONG side using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Do not sew the short ends together. Make sure to reinforce at the beginning and end of each side and take care when you turn the curve when using the wide template. I find keeping the interfaced fabric on top makes the sewing go easier. none

Step 6: To reduce bulk, pink along each side taking care not to cut into your seam. Pink up to but not along the short ends. Alternatively, you can can trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch (don’t cut into the seam itself).

Step 7: Turn your tube inside out and iron flat. The turning is the hardest part of the whole thing. Use a large safety pin to catch the end of the interfaced fabric (don’t go through both layers). Use that pin to help turn the tube right side out. Take your time…it’s worth it.

Sewn and Turned Headband, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag
Sewn and Turned Headband

Step 8: Stitch along the side of the headband using a 1/8″ seam allowance (or whatever you think looks pretty). When you reach one short end, tuck one end of the elastic about 1/2″ up into one end of the tube. As close to the end of the tube as possible, sew along the end to secure the elastic. Backstitch and then forward stitch to reinforce this join. Continue down the other side of the headband.

Step 9: When you reach the other end, tuck the other end of the elastic into the end of the headband and sew as you did on the other end. Make sure you didn’t “twist” your headband and that the elastic and headband form a nice smooth continuous circle. Reinforce the elastic join at this end too.

Ta-da! A completely reversible, comfortable and secure headband.

Finished Headband, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag
Finished Headband


Coordinating Fold over Clutch

Coordinating Handbag, Great Gertie Dress, headband, Handbag
Coordinating Handbag


  • 10″ x 16″ Outer Fabric
  • 10″ x 16″  Lining Fabric
  • 2 10 x 16″ Fusible Heavy Weight Interfacing Pieces.
  • 14″ Zipper
  • 2″ x 2″ Outer fabric times 2 (Optional)
  • 2″ x 40″ Strip of Outer Fabric for strap (Optional)
  • 2 1/2″ D Rings (Optional)
  • 2 1/2″ Swivel Clips (Optional)
Materials, Great Gertie Dressm Headband, Handbag

Step 1:

With the right sides together, Sandwich one side of the zipper facing up between the main outer fabric and the lining fabric.  Stitch the three layers together near the zipper teeth.  Then do the same with the other side of the zipper.  Top stitch the zipper. You will two identical halves.

Sandwich the Zipper between the Outer Fabric and the Lining, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag
Sandwich the Zipper between the Outer Fabric and the Lining
Two Equal Sides with Zipper in the Center, Great Gertie Dress, Headband, Handbag
Two Equal Sides with Zipper in the Center

Step 2:

Add some fusible heavy weight interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric.  I waited to add the interfacing after the zipper to avoid bulk in the zipper.

 Step 3:

Open the zipper.  Match the right sides of the outer fabric together and the right sides of the lining together.  If you want to add the option of a strap, sew the tabs and the strap using my tutorial.  Fold the tabs around each of the D Rings.  Measure up 10″ from the bottom of the outer bag and pin the tabs and D rings so the rings are facing toward the inside of the bag on both sides.  Using a 1/4″ seam allowance sew all the way around the bag and lining, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning.  Remember to make sure the zipper is completely open or you will not be able to turn it.

Step 3:

Once you have completed sewing the outer bag and the lining turn the bag so that the lining and outer bag are right sides out.  Hand stitch the opening closed and push the opening into the bag.  Sew the straps you made in step 2 to the swivel clips and clip them to the D rings.

Coordinating Handbag, Great Gertie Dress, headband, Handbag
Coordinating Handbag

You have now finished your simple Coordinating fold over clutch or handbag to go along with your great Gertie dress and headband.  Fifties fun at its finest.  Have fun with this one.

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