I finished my Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress from Craftsy nearly 2 years ago now but never had the opportunity to show it off. Now that I’ve started this blog I figured I should post about it. When Gertie’s course came out on Craftsy I joined pretty much straight away. My aim was to complete the dress for my sister’s 21st birthday party last May. I gave myself plenty of time because I started the course in June and basically had a year to complete it. I think I was finished before Christmas but I only worked on it every now that then when I was in the mood for careful machine sewing and hand sewing. It’s definitely not a project for someone looking for instant satisfaction.

I found the course very information and detailed. Gertie goes through couture and vintage sewing details such as finishing techniques, waist stays and spiral steel boning. I watched the course in it’s entirety first and then followed each video along while completing the dress. Although I already knew how to sew I still got a lot of new information from her course. I have since bought Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book to learn more about detailed and couture sewing. While it is significantly more time consuming, the finished result is so wonderful that I am happy to put the effort in for a special garment.

Gertie’s course is very thorough and I really felt like I learned a lot. I’m a visual learner so Craftsy courses are great for me. After finishing this course, I joined her Starlet Suit Jacket course. I can still access it but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available any more in the Craftsy course list. I have watched the videos for that course but haven’t done the jacket yet. It would be a lengthly project with a lot of hand sewing so I’ve put it off for the moment. Some day… I’ve also bought her book Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing which is lovely and I have plan to make many things from it this year.


The dress is a lovely design from Burda Style. However, Gertie ups the ante by adding a better fit, padded bra, spiral steel boning and optional halter strap

The dress from BurdaStyle is the Bustier Dress with Draped Detail. It’s a simple pattern but as you can maybe tell if you look on the BurdaStyle website, the bra is pretty small. I had to do a full bust adjustment which I normally don’t have to do. I’d say anyone over a B cup would have to do the same. I left out the little flap part of the ruched detail because I preferred it that way. I had to make three muslins to get the right fit but it’s great now – as long as I don’t lose or gain any weight! I also lengthened the bodice since I’m tall and long waisted.

I’m very proud of the finished dress. It was a labour of love and turned out beautifully. I really couldn’t be happier. The dress has a padded bra, spiral steel boning, a lapped zipper and the bodice is lined. In addition it has an optional halterneck and a waist-stay. I bought my fabric at and it’s a beautiful, soft Japanese cotton which is lovely and light for summer. I lined the bodice with a pink cotton I picked up somewhere.


A beautiful hand picked, lapped zipper!



A lined bodice with spiral steel boning, complete with grosgrain ribbon waist stay. Also check out removable halter strap!

Here’s a picture of my sister Sinéad and myself at her 21st birthday party, minus the halter strap. The spiral steel boning in the bodice and detailed fitting process meant that I could dance the night away without fear of anything falling down or popping out!


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  • gingermakes

    This is so pretty! Well done!

    • stephanie

      Thanks! It was a labour of love. Can’t wait for summer so I can wear it again. Damn the cold weather here in Dublin! :)

  • Shelley

    What a beautiful dress, and the inside is as pretty as the outside. Nice work! You and your sister are gorgeous. Let’s all hope for warmer weather so we can wear our happy sunny frocks!

    • stephanie

      Thanks shelly! Ya the course is great for stepping you through finishing techniques. Every time I put it on I smile because its so nicely finished inside. Unfortunately it rains here a lot even in summer so I have to pick my days to wear my summer dresses :)

  • liz


  • Elisalex – By Hand London

    My God this is stunning! The fabric could not be more perfect without being too obvious and I love the contrast of the soft pink lining – really has a kind of oooh-you’ve-just-stumbled-upon-my-silken-peach-lingerie blushing feel to it! I’ve often thought of making the Bombshell, but never made it a priority. Seeing this has definitely pushed it along the queue!

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