Not Everyone’s A Winner, Baby {Charm Patterns Night and Day Dress}


This might be unpopular but hear me out. I love the style of Gerties patterns. They are the kind of silhouette that I wear all the time. I own her books, which have their issues but what I’ve made has been ok. Not perfect, but ok. Wearable. I actually really love some of her patterns for Butterick, like this one and this one.



I know it’s rare for patterns to fit straight off the envelope. I do. But I guess I’ve been pretty lucky up until now. I have standard changes that I’ll make, often before even starting (FBA and shorten bodice), but my measurements tend to slot me right into one size (I tend to go by finished measurements) so I don’t find I have to make a lot of fitting changes. In fact, I usually go straight for a wearable muslin rather than making a practice run, getting sick of it and then never making the proper version. What can I say, I get bored easily. Unless of course it’s really special fabric and a pattern I’ve never made before. Even then, I’ll use inexpensive fabric but something that I’d still actually wear. I’ve never made a proper, unbleached muslin version.


I loved that collar on the Night and Day Dress pattern as soon as I saw it. I own a fair few vintage patterns, but nothing with that lovely square neckline and collar. Plus I loved the bishop sleeves for something different and even thought the tie collar was pretty cute. At $53.50 USD (about $75 AUD) it did work out quite expensive, but just under half of that was shipping and you know, that’s life when you live down here. I don’t mind paying a bit extra for something I really like the look of and that I’d struggle to find elsewhere. Plus, I’m supporting a fellow woman in business, so ok.


I was excited when it arrived and got to work pretty much right away. I was delighted to find my measurements slotted me right into the 10D. They are my exact measurements. I’d seen it mentioned that there wasn’t a lot of ease and that suited me too, but I did double check them. I couldn’t see anywhere what height the pattern was drafted for, but I took an inch out when I was tracing the pattern pieces off as I’m pretty short waisted and that’s quite standard for me. I held the pieces up to my torso for a rough idea and it looked ok.


The whole thing went together really easily and the instructions are clear and concise. I was a bit worried about the collar, but it was find. It doesn’t lay flat when you are sewing it together, but don’t worry about that because it all turns out well in the end. The darts though, they are something else. They were massive. If you’ve ever done a FBA and ended up with ginormous darts, you know what I’m talking about. And I’m not even that big in the bust really – about a 38D. Not small, but not really big either. I had fit issues that I’ve never come across before (please excuse the phone pic).


I used some new Tula Pink fabric – something that could be purchased again if it didn’t turn out, but also, I had high hopes. What could go wrong? HA.

Ok so too long in the bodice, even after taking an inch out. But more that that, huge across my chest and weird extra fabric under the bust and at the bust darts too. Ok. I unpicked the bodice from the skirt and made the darts bigger at the base, while trying to shorten them too – a nearly impossible feat because they were already so wide and then trying to drop the point below my bust made getting from dart leg to dart point a very short trip. I fudged my way through it and ended up here, with still too long darts. Although a glance at the pattern images shows them quite high, so maybe that’s where they’re supposed to be?


I couldn’t keep it on my shoulders. Is this pattern made for 6’4″ footballers? Footballers with very perky busts. Is it me? I’d seen other versions popping up on instagram that looked great! What have I done?


Ok, round two. Using an Ella Blue fabric that was quite a bargain of $5/m. Not a big deal. Probably cheaper than unbleached muslin, you guys. But this time would be fine, right?


I went down a size to an 8D. I took the shoulders up and a bit more from the bodice. I scooped the armholes to compensate. Not enough though apparently. Still had the excess fabric around the darts. STILL.  Same trick again. Wider dart legs to fix the waist darts, not as easy to fix the bust ones. Ok. But at least this one was staying on my shoulders. I can live with the wrinkles at the sides. Whatever.


Do my boobs sit at my belly button? Whyyyy have I never experienced anything like this before?


Also, knowing Gertie is big on foundation garments, I wore my What Katie Did Merry Widow underneath and it definitely looks better than just with a normal bra. Unders look like this. Was hoping the neighbours wouldn’t decide to water the garden at this point in time.


Ok fine. I was going to go back and rescue my Tula version. If it was the last thing I did. Muslin time. I MADE 8 BODICE MUSLINS. EIGHT. I dropped darts, I went up a cup size, I went down a cup size, I slashed, I spread, I shortened, I lengthened. I cried. Now, I’m not a professional dress maker, but surely this pattern is aimed at home sewers, right?


Fresh off the sewing machine, I’d thought I’d done it – no wrinkles at the sides. Apparently not when you are holding your arm out to take a selfie, but the appear again when standing normally.



In the end, I went back to the 10D, removed 3cms from the shoulders and 3cms from the bottom of the waist (I know, but seriously – I felt like I tried everything by that point) and the weird thing? I took 1cm from the CF. That brought everything more toward the centre so at least I could keep it on my shoulders. That was as close as I was going to get. Still had the wrinkling at the bust darts but I was defeated. I just wanted it to be wearable. So I made my new bodice and I am going to wear that sucker.



Because finished is better than perfect.


32 thoughts on “Not Everyone’s A Winner, Baby {Charm Patterns Night and Day Dress}

  1. I find Gertie’s patterns too wide for my narrow shoulders and require adjusting but I love her style. You rock the look, I love them on you (not looking at wrinkles and no one else will either!) x


  2. What a trial! Finished is indeed better than perfect. And if you can wear either dress without feeling uncomfortable or having the shoulders drop down, even better. Btw, I honestly thought it was a square neck off-shoulder dress from the first pic and thought it looked rather interesting.


  3. I have three of Gertie’s books, and about 4-5 of her Butterick patterns and I’m SO SO disappointed to say that Gertie’s patterns just DO NOT work for me. At all. I suffered fit issues with ALL of them, made SOOO many adjustments, and STILL. I’ve given up 😦


  4. Thankyou for writting honestly about the pattern. I dont expect a pattern to fit everyone perfectly, its not sisterhood of the traveling patterns but i’d expect one with multiple cup sizes to give pretty good results straight out of the packet. Your dresses look awesome and you should be proud. I was going to write a joke about the magpie one and it being magpie season, something about them just trying to get a better look at themselves on your dress but im just not that funny 🙂


  5. 8 muslins – respect! If you end up with a massive dart, it might be an idea to split the dart (I ended up splitting each waist dart of my Sewaholic Cambie into 4!) so that the points are thinner and don’t pucker.


  6. I know your pain! Everyone has sung high praise about the fit of the Emery dress by Christine Haynes, and here I am on my 3rd bodice muslin and 5th sleeve muslin (where the last 3 has been self-drafted) due to a weird shoulder area. You rock for having conquered the pattern fit, you look absolutely awesome!


  7. I’ve just started making the bodice and I’ve had to do a lot of adjustments, but I’ve got a huge bust, so that’s normal. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it fitted. It’s all in doing the groundwork before you sew I’ve discovered. I have to make a muslin, and then adjust it a couple of times. It’s worth it in the end! Your dress looked really good on you.


  8. I’m having the same problem! I love, love Gertie. I even got to go to one of her sewing retreats. But This pattern is killing me. I am about on my, I think 7th muslin. The waist dart is way too large to fit me. I get weird pooling and those side wrinkles too. I’m on my 3rd size trial and I decided to split the waist dart in two for this next sew up. I’ve gone through 17 yards of muslin for this. I also have found the the sleeve cap height is really shallow for me and I am not large framed. I’m ready to throw in the towel.


    1. Oh Rachael! I feel for you, I really really do. I so wanted it to work for me but I just can’t get there. I’ve never had so much trouble with a pattern in my life, but I keep seeing decent fits on other people. I can’t figure out why it won’t work for me though! I’ve let it go. It’s just not going to happen for me.


      1. I’ve done everything I possibly can. I even changed the angle of the waist dart. I have to add so much height to the sleeve cap, that I can’t set it in. I’m giving up too. I can’t keep wasting fabric. It’s just not meant to be.


  9. Thank you for this – you’ve just saved me $75 and a whole lot of pain. I’ve not sewn a Gertie anything, yet, as I’d heard loads of stories about fit issues for sewists who come under the ‘petite’ classification. I’m like you – proportionally small – and always have to adjust bodices and shoulders, move darts and shorten torso lengths (even on rtw) so I’m just not going to go there. Night & Day is, for me, simply to be admired.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the unique square collar on you, the final dress does look great in spite of the issues. I’m wanting to try her Rita blouse, now wondering….


  11. Oh my! You poor thing, that was to much frustration to go through! But you did a fabulous job saving that dress in the end! Much respect. I came across your blog actually looking for reviews on that pattern before purchasing it. Boy am I glad I found yours. You see, I always have had problems with any patterns in the past in the bodices I’m very short, sway backed and pretty curvy. I kept using those dreaded measurements on the back of those dang patterns and then semi grading and nothing ever came out right. I even tried that method “ use your high bust” well that didn’t work either. Then I found Nancy Zieman’s method on choose your right size, by using your measurements from armpit crease to armpit crease and what do you know it worked! I’d been using the wrong pattern base all this time. No wonder nothing ever fit me in the shoulder, across the neck, or in the armhole. Now I just grade out at the bust and the waist. Considering this I’m afraid to even know where to start with those charm patterns!! Lol


    1. Oh my gosh, Leigh! I’m totally looking up that Nancy Zieman method now. I think the high bust method is rubbish too (something to do with my broad back, but narrow shoulders). I’m glad you found me anyway 🙂


  12. Oh my God, I thought I was crazy! I CAN NOT get Gerties patterns from her book to fit me. For some reason her Butterick ones are no issue. Thankyou for saving me from being committed, as I am on the 5th muslin and thought I was stupid or something. It’s all pouchy at the front no matter what I do, but at least my daughter and I have done some learning together. I think I will just burn the whole thing. 😂


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