The Gertie Bombshell Dress

What’s that, darling? Work? Sweetness, I don’t sully my hands. Mondays are the day I drink Margaritas. Sometimes Paulo comes round to rub my feet. Put the recycling out for the bin men? Ha, ha, how funny you are! No, dear. I don’t think so.

So, the Gertie Bombshell Dress is finished! Not without its testing moments and after three months of work. I can assure you all that my boyfriend is very glad this make is over. It looks much better on me than I thought it would, though I still am not sure this is a dress I will be wearing every week of the year – and certainly not as we approach November!

There are many details for a future post:

  • a waist stay
  • a grosgrain ribbon zip guard
  • handpicked zipper
  • lace hem
  • the boning (oh, the boning!)
  • a lined bodice

Here’s a sneak peak of what the boning involved:

But I’ll save most of the nitty gritty for another day. There’s so much I have to share with you, it can’t all squeeze into one blog post. Some of the emotional highlights:

  • Getting my head around zero ease.
  • Doing hours of handsewing only to discover that the bodice was sitting too tightly. (Not a good look and leading to one plaintive email to a friend.)
  • A last-minute rush into town for new caps when I realised all my pre-cut boning was the wrong length.
  • Removing basting stitches to discover that they’d permanently marked the fabric.
  • Washing the bodice lining, only to find out that wax marking doesn’t wash out.
  • Nearly ruining the back of the skirt with the blade on my overlocker.

Keeping up? Had a nervous breakdown on my behalf yet?

But. Big BUT here. Gertie’s online class is awesome. I’m going to really miss her now that our journey’s at an end! She totally rocks and I learnt more through this experience than at any other point in my sewing career, including many skills that are transferable to other, more informal makes.

As I was taking these photos, a boogie-woogie song came on the radio, so of course I had to join in:

Shimmying! Those Street Dance classes pay off.

The work load on this dress is ferocious, but oh-so-worth-it. I am lucky that my desk has cleared over the past couple of weeks, otherwise I’m not sure this dress would have been ready for the Bombshell Meet Up that Dolly Clackett has organised for Saturday 29 October. Suzy Sewing will be there wearing her version of this dress, and so will others including Handmade Jane. Come along! You don’t need to be wearing a bombshell dress – Jane won’t be. You can laugh at me wearing this thing in October. And maybe you can help me with some of the details that aren’t quite working – for example, the bodice lining that is turning out to show around the top of the bodice. Any tips?

I will definitely post more detail photos for you all soon, but in the meantime I would like to say a massive thank you to Gertie and to Oonaballoona. If I hadn’t seen her version of this dress, I would never have attempted it.

What’s that, Ivana? Yes, sweetness, don’t worry – the Krug is on ice.

Sorry, readers, I have to go now. There’s a topless waiter who wants to dance with me…

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57 Responses to The Gertie Bombshell Dress

  1. Erika says:

    Wow, you look stunning! The fit is perfect, and the fabric so lovely. I did get a nervous break-down on your behalf, though… =) Projects that challenges the sewist to new techniques can be so slow in the making, and go with so much seam ripping, but in the end it’s worth it.
    Have a great dress-party! =)

  2. CarmencitaB says:

    The only word that comes to mind is VaVaVoum! Bombshell indeed!

  3. Ashley says:

    Wow! You and the dress are stunning! Your emotional highlights nearly had me stressing! lol
    Ashley x

  4. Annie says:

    The process of making this sounds incredibly intimidating, but you look amazing in it!

  5. Portia says:

    Phwoarrrr! Kudos Karen!

  6. Jane says:

    Oh Karen you are truly a bombshell in that dress. Give yourself a gold star for all your dedicated hard work. It was well worth all the effort – you look fabulous in it (darling) and it fits like a glove. Can’t wait to see you wearing it on Saturday and clicking your fingers at the waiters – let’s hope they’ve put their tops on by then! x

  7. Tilly says:

    OMG great work, Karen! The dress is absolutely gorgeous and so are you. Sounds like you learnt loads from the experience. Hope to see it in the flesh on Saturday! x

  8. Paunnet says:

    Whoa! Stunning dress. I really like the print you chose.
    I tried and failed this dress, but I really want to give it one more chance, it’s worth it.

  9. Oh, Karen – it’s AMAZING! So amazing I don’t even want to use internet words to say how amazing it is, and you look so fabulous in it I can’t even tell you!

    I’m so looking forward to seeing it in real life on Saturday – for anyone reading along, the plan is to meet for drinks at the bar at the BFI Southbank from 3 on Saturday. I’ll be the one with the cosmpolitan!

  10. Suzie says:

    Wow Karen, all that hard work really paid off. This dress is amazing, and it is really really flattering on you too. After all that work, and with a dress that fabulous, I wouldn’t let a little thing like frezzing cold weather stop you from wearing the heck out of it!!!

  11. Felicity from Down Under says:

    As usual, I’m stuck for words and echoing everyone else: amazing, fantastic, wow et cetera. And although you mention a couple of fitting and finishing problems, they’re not at all obvious, perhaps thanks to the choice of that lovely fabric. Congratulations, enjoy that Krug – and the Bombshell party.

  12. mujerboricua says:

    I am loving all these Bombshell reveals. Yours is gorgeous. Looking forward to your posts on all the details. I have the Bombshell tutorial saved for later. Much later. But I look forward to learning more about it before I attempt it.

    Again, beautiful!

  13. Marie says:

    Well Karen, you certainly look like a bombshell in this dress! You look incredible and the dress is beautiful! I think all the trials and tribulations were worth it completely. I’d love to give this dress a go, not because I think it will suit me, but just for all the techniques I would learn along the way. It has now earned a place on my Xmas gift wishlist!

  14. ooobop! says:

    Hot hot hot! You look stunning, lady! And my goodness me, I am exhausted by the work involved in this. I can quite believe the boyf’s joy at it being finished. But what a learning curve. I would like to try this one day but I’m not quite ready yet!

  15. Totally worth it Karen- it is smokin’! Beautiful fabric choice & it is SO flattering – can’t wait to pick your brains when I get onto the complicated bits as I think you must be the yoda of the bombshell …enjoy living it up on Saturday πŸ™‚

  16. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

  17. lazystitcher says:

    Wow, just reading that, gave me the cold sweats! I too have the bombshell class purchased and bookmarked but I think I need to build my nerves up before attempting it. Still the end result is phenomenal and can’t wait to see it on Saturday πŸ™‚

  18. Bombshell indeed! Very va-va-voom m’dear πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the course so much – I’ve got it paid for and saved (I plan to look at it post-Christmas LOL!).

  19. Debi says:

    YAY! it is FABULOUS! I just love that fabric! I so wish I could come to the bombshell meet-up πŸ™ alas, I started to do the bombshell course but had to put it on the back burner because of the work involved and oh, that other challenge where I sew something every week! hahahhaaha. Can’t wait to hear more about the construction!!

  20. shivani says:

    WOOOOWOOOO!! well done, Karen – this is amazing! I must admit I broke into a cold sweat just reading the highlights, but it looks like it’s so worth it. I can’t wait to hear/read the construction details.

    hope to pop along to the bombshell party!

  21. Roobeedoo says:

    I mean, really, WOW!

  22. prttynpnk says:

    Baby, you look swank! Very impressive and I can’t wait for the follow up posts- love the shoes with it, too!

  23. Excuse the language, but f&^k me! Girl – you look amazing. There is a reason they call this dress bombshell. Sure there was pain, but without pain there is no gain!.
    I want one. Am I ready? I’m just not sure

  24. Joanne says:

    Wowzers. In fact – double wowzers! You look completely awesome Karen – what a stunning dress! You need to wiggle on down to some kind of hip joint in that dress, pronto! Well done though – must feel incredibly satisfying to finish it πŸ™‚

  25. Law says:

    Awesome Karen, your work has totally paid off! This is a dream dress for me, but I am nowhere near ready to even attempt a make of this magnitude. Will satisfy myself in the meantime by drooling over others creations.

    P.S your fabric choice was bang on.

  26. oonaballoona says:

    oh my sweet boogying saints of impending nervous breakdowns. It. Was. WORTH IT! SEXY MAMA!

    putting this number away for the winter months would be criminal. that’s what shrugs and long white gloves are for. the better to keep those bombshell digits unsullied (and occupied by drink).

  27. Jennifer says:

    This dress looks fantastic! All that hard work certainly paid off. I love the fabric you chose. I can’t wait to read your follow-up posts! Have fun on Saturday!

  28. Amanda says:

    I love your dress, Karen! The print is beautiful and hooray for overcoming all those obstacles! I have yet to make this dress, but you’ve inspired me to get going on printing out the pattern pieces (yeah, I’ve got a LONG wag to go to male topless dancer appreciation). Have fun at your meet-up!

  29. liza jane says:

    WOW! You look spectacular! Bombshell, indeed!
    You and Oona have made me think twice about this dress. It looks so incredibly awesome on you.

  30. Clare says:

    Wow, it was worth the effort! It fits perfectly and looks beautiful.

  31. Kerry says:

    Wowee! Looks fab – well worth all the emotion! And you got to try loads of impressive techniques too!

  32. Vicki Kate says:

    It looks amazing! As do you in it. I’m happily just watching the course at the moment, I haven’t dared start it yet, although it’s planned for next year maybe… Thank you for introducing me to the other fabulous bloggers at Handmade Jane and SuzySewing too – fabulous ladies who I didn’t know where there until your post!

  33. Carly says:

    WOWZA, you look awesome! It looks like it fits perfectly, and I love the fabric. Definitely best accessorised with a cocktail…!

  34. Eugenia says:

    Congratulations on finishing your fabulous bombshell! It looks superb. Although it may not get worn every day it is the kind of dress that is a real treasure to have in your wardrobe – just the thing when you want to look glamorous and stunning at an elegant soiree. And think of all the amazing stuff you have learnt in the process of making the dress!

  35. Suzy says:

    Woohoo, you look FABULOUS!! It’s gorgeous and well worth the sweat of cutting boning, etc. I am so looking forward to meet you and Jane and Dolly and all the others on Saturday. I finish my pattern making course at 3.45 Shepperds Bush and will by flying straight after to BFI. I’ll be wearing a cardi too…and a cape…and tights πŸ™‚ All I have left to do on my Bombshell is hemming and zipper guard (had some trouble sourcing 2 inch wide grosgrain) but will be done in time.

  36. MrsC says:

    AWESOME!!! I love this dress, you have every reason to be proud of yourself. Great fabric choice too. Wish I had the figure for one. Tip on vanquishing the lining – not sure why it is doing it and sometimes the cause dictates the cure but one cause free solution is to prick stitch it, like you would a zip, about 1/2 inch from the top, through all layers. Skipping the bones of course! πŸ™‚

  37. ericapenton says:

    WOW! Good for you for sticking with it – the results are amazing! I was feeling intimidated by that project, but maybe I’ll take it nice and slow….with a stiff drink at the ready. I can’t wait to see the details!

  38. Nadine says:

    Fantastic job! I admire your tenacity for sticking to the steps. It was well worth it. I can’t wait to see all of the other things you make with your new-found skills.

  39. Liz says:

    The dress is amazing! You look awesome in it!

  40. Nikki says:

    What a bombshell (in more ways than one!) Love it, very sexy! And the later post with all the details is fab, the seams, etc, look so tidy.

  41. Lizzet says:

    Fabulous dress!!!

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  43. Michelle says:

    Oh wow! You look amazing in this dress! So much hard work, and yet so worth it. I think they make the most satisfying wears, don’t they?

  44. The red wedge hill is adorable! and you did really good job!

  45. Zoe says:

    I have NO IDEA how I missed this dress (just came here via Rehanon’s blog), but all I can say is WOW!!! You look phenom and I really hope you have even an inkling of how good you look in it. Sorry I’m so late to the party in congratulating you. I am so impressed. Awesome fabric choice too. Screw work, let’s get some tequila up in here!!!

    Zoe xxx

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