Gorgeous Georgia

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I bought this curtain (singular) in the Salvation Army shop in Deptford and although I the tag is missing, I think I paid £5 for it. I’ve had this in my possession for quite some time, just waiting for the right project. It desperately wanted to be a party dress. It’s cream and white brocade, not too thick, lined with plain cream cotton.

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And then this came along.

Introducing…. By Hand London’s Georgia dress!

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Happily, there was more than enough curtain to make the longer version of the dress with the large collar/straps at the front, which I think is a really interesting detail.

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I cut the bodice lining from the lining of the curtain, which was perhaps a little too stiff for this purpose… but on the plus side, it does mean that my boobs are completely fire-proof. You never know when that will come in handy.

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The only part where I didn’t follow the instructions to the letter was inserting the zip, I used my own fail-safe method instead. The instructions include a simpler method, but personally I think I would struggle to get a good finish with an invisible zip on a curved seam like this using their method (it’s tricky!).

I added strips of fusible interfacing to the seam lines where the zip would be. The fusible I use is rather a loose weave, so I was able to stretch it around the curves (despite using straight rectangular strips cut on the grain). I like to cut my interfacing the same width as the seam allowance then use the serged edge as a guide to stick it 5mm from the edge.

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Then I basted the front to the back along the seam line and pressed it open. The interfacing should be caught in the seam.

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I pinned one side to the seam allowance. The trick is to line up the teeth with the basted seam.

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Baste up that side in the seam allowance, then close the zip and baste up the other side.

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Then remove the basting stitches holding the side seam together (the ones you put in first).

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You can then press the zip teeth flat with a warm iron and use your invisible zip foot to sew as close to the teeth as possible on both sides. After checking it opens and closes OK, then sew the side seam below the zip and press the whole thing. Voila!

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The only other notes I have on the pattern involve fitting, which I will discuss briefly here.

I highly recommend making a muslin of this dress before sewing it up because its fitted nature, especially around the bodice, means it is not very forgiving to bad fit (ask me how I know). I cut the size UK 12 at the bust, 14 at the waist and 12 at the hip as per the measurements on the back of the envelope. I ended up taking the bust in 4cm at the top edge and taking the dress in several cm above the hip (which is normal for me). If I make this again, I will cut a size smaller at the bust and add 3cm length between the waist and the hip to account for my long waistedness…. I can see this in a shinier fabric for Christmas. Watch this space!

Now, where to go to show off Georgia at her best?

Why, The Savoy of course!

I wore a black tuxedo jacket over my Georgia for lunch at the exquisite Savoy Grill (which explains why I’m wearing black shoes with it). The pictures were taken after a very enjoyable lunch, hence the creasing! (and the darkness!)

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68 comments

  1. Gem Smith

    It’s fan-flipping-tastic!! And the Savoy!! Woop woop! I’ll be scouring my charity shops for gems in the curtain department too now!

  2. Maria Jose

    It looks great on you, you look absolutely gorgeous!
    One comment, If I may: I think the hourglass feeling of the dress would be enhanced by adding a waist stay. That and taking in just a pinch on each side. Still: beautiful!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Maria, thanks for the comment! A waist stay may well have been a good idea, I will add one to my next version of this. I am not sure how much difference it will make – I’m afraid that is just the natural shape of my waist (I haven’t got much of a waist)

  3. LYNDA

    Your sewing skills leave me way behind! The dress is beautiful (as are you)! Can’t wait to see your next project!

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks so much Lynda! This dress does demand a few more tricky techniques, but overall is suitable for advanced beginners/intermediates. I hope you will work up to giving it a try yourself!

  4. helen

    That looks beautiful! Well done!
    I was lucky enough to stay at the Savoy once, your photos bring back memories.
    A small fact…. the little road driving up to the front door is the only street in the UK where you drive on the right (US / European style).

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Helen, thanks for commenting! I was aware of the driving on the right at the Savoy phenomenon, in fact I think we were discussing it a few moments before taking those outdoor pictures :) Lucky you staying at the Savoy!

  5. MJ

    You are so pretty and an absolutely amazing designer and seamstress. Wow! Please keep sharing!

  6. whatkatiedoes

    Stunning dude! Would never guess it was a curtain. Just finished my Georgia with the wide strap/collar too, love this pattern so much.

  7. Jenifer

    So beautiful! Your talent keeps me moving in the right direction to becoming a more experienced sewer (so double thumbs up!)

  8. Gjeometry

    WOW!!! The sound of music, this isn’t. Curtains into a dress, how cool. And, it fits you just tremendously, looks so elegant. Love the neckline of this dress, so different.

  9. M

    Just stumbled across your blog by chance, man you’re an inspiration! You really make me want to throw myself in the art of sewing. Your work is truly amazing, thank you for sharing.
    Cheers from Belgium,
    M

  10. Annie

    This is a fantastic transformation and you look so lovely in it. Very well done and I’m feeling inspired to cut up the curtains :)

  11. Ruth

    Lovely! I wish my local charity shops had curtains that were worthy of turning into dresses – I’ll have to keep a look out for some! Thanks for the invisible zip tips too, always good to see different methods of doing things.

  12. Crafty Tax Attorney

    That is a freaking STUNNING dress! It’s so simple but the straps and bodice really make it shine. Thanks for the zipper tutorial, I’m pretty much terrified of zippering. Love your blog!

    • charityshopchic

      Zips are a bit scary, and the first few are bound to go wrong, but once you’ve got a fail safe method for inserting them you’ll be fine. Really pleased you liked this dress, thanks for the kind comment.

  13. jenny_o

    Just goes to show that fabrics don’t HAVE to be used only for one kind of job!

    Turned out really well, and – as always – lovely photos.

  14. sewamysew

    You certainly seem to have fixed the fitting issues, it looks fantastic!! The fabric is just perfect for it. Perusing this pattern I wondered that it might be a tad young and … fleshy for me. But seeing this version I think I’ll be fine, you are the picture of class in this number. Me likey!

    • charityshopchic

      :) Thanks Amy! I think the wide strap version is less ‘fleshy’, one of the reasons I chose it. You could always add a bit more on to the neckline for coverage. I want mine to come up to the underarms, so I might do that next time.

  15. Kathie Turner Jones

    Lovely ! I love using “unusual” items for upcycling. Curtains, sheets, table cloths, etc. This is a perfect upcycle from a curtain fabric. The dress pattern is so cute…very unusual in the styling.
    As always you did a fantastic job. :)

  16. Rose

    Lovely!!! I’m working on this pattern now and wanted to take the skinny strap variation. But I’m indecisive, and still in a stage where I can change to the wide strap variation which you used. It looks gorgeous on you, and I actually like this more covered up finish in the front. Even though I’ve seen very lovely skinny strap versions, the wide strap is a bit more chique and original. I’ll go for it too!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Rose, I agree – I would have felt a little ‘exposed’ in the other version but the wider strap version is perfect for me. Glad you decided to go for it, hope it turned out well!

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