Sunday, 9 March 2014

Finished Project: The 'Georgia' Mini Dress.

Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com
Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com

Ahhh, another BHL Georgia, I really can't get enough of this dress. 
I love By Hand London patterns, their style is my style! So glad I found them, they have rekindled my love for sewing.

About October last year my maxi dress obsession began, somehow I came across the Anna dress online and that was the beginning of my BHL love affair. 'Anna' and 'Georgia' went on my Christmas wishlist and Santa* got them for me cos I was a good girl last year.

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*Santa - my little sister, who always gets me amazing pressies. She will always get me something that I want, plus some little surprises. Last Christmas, she got me the BHL patterns and a vintage sewing clamp. She also did me a huge favour and picked up a new computerised sewing machine from Costco for me using her membership. Best. Sister. Ever.

Judy's 20th Bday
The best sister ever, pictured above - little sister Judy and I at dinner last week for her birthday. 
I'm wearing a maxi dress I made last year, for the first time!!

My sewing attitude has changed ever since By Hand London came into my life. 

If you have been following my blog for a while, you would know that I used to line all my dresses (bagging technique, tutorial here). I started lining my dresses to hide my raw seams back when I didn't have a serger, but over time I became addicted to the clean machine finish on the insides. 
I might skip lining the skirt on a full gathered skirt, but majority of the time I would fully-line my dresses (all my lined dresses tagged here). 

I thought that lining the dress was easier than sewing facings. Whattttt?! 

Despite having to cut out TWO of everything and working with slippery and fraying sunsilky polyester, I still favoured lining over facings.

I wanted to line my first Anna, but I didn't have time or fabric. I finished the neckline with facings, and guess what, I love facings, they look gooooooood and they cut the construction time in half!!! 

Since I started sewing BHL patterns, I haven't had the urge to fully line anything at all, and all my insides look just as fabulous.

By Hand London patterns have also inspired and motivated me work hard to get the perfect fit and perfect constructions on my dresses. It's bordering on OCD - the other night, I unpicked the bodice because the bodice cup seam and the skirt seam was misaligned by 2mm. You couldn't even see it!! But it bothered me so much, I unpicked and restitched. You know what, I still haven't made a dress "perfect enough" to have the precious 'By Hand London and Me' tag sewn on. One day!!

This version of my Georgia is pretty darn close to perfection though...

The fabric is printed cotton sateen, floral of course, and plain black cotton sateen for the side skirt panels and straps. 

Originally the dress looked like this, with printed straps...


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I always planned on black straps, but I simply forgot. Need to start keeping notes me thinks.

... but it just didn't look right. It took me two days till I realised it was the straps that made the dress look "off"!!! I replaced the straps with plain black straps. It was a very painful process because the seam allowances were already chopped off and seam clipped and understitched :(

The strap for my right shoulder is shortened by about 2cm (because I have uneven shoulders) and sewn with a smaller seam allowance, that's why they look wider than my previous Georgias;) 
Sew Short Nissa did that and hers looked great! Nissa said she was inspired by my "unsewn muslin straps" on Twitter so she made the straps wider using a 8mm SA. I then took inspiration from her and sewed my straps with a 5mm SA. 

I moved the position of my straps to sit on the "outer" side of my bodice cup seam rather than in the centre to give more coverage to that side boob/armpit/fleshy bit, and to cover my bra straps. 
Also re-positioned the strap at the back too, if you want to do this, put on your favourite bra and reposition accordingly.

I used cotton tape (which I think is the same as twill tape?) on the straps to stop them from stretching over time as well as on the neckline, following Lladybird's tip.

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Straps are wider, positioned on the outer-side of the cup seams.
Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com

A last minute adjustment had to be made to the skirt around my lower back, I took in the seams slightly. This is always my problem area. I didn't have any fitting issues in this area with my rayon maxi Georgia, I'm guessing that's because the drape and weight of the rayon helped everything sit nicely in place.

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Adjustment on my lower back.
I had to unpick the finished seams, trim it back to 15mm and 'turn & stitch' the seam again.
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I didn't take a pic of how this Georgia looked before I took a chunk out of the lower back, but the above pic is my first Georgia which had same problem with fabric billowing out at the lower back. The adjustment makes a huge difference to the fit.

My patience sewing skills are improving, I am getting better and better at joining the bodice and skirt at those tricky peaks, they're no longer making me tear my eyebrows out! And since learning that the needle position can move on my machine, installing the invisible zipper has been a dream.

Inside seams were folded under, pressed and stitched. I believe this is the 'turned and stitch' technique AKA 'clean finish'.

I used a 'fell stitch' to join lining to the shell.

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Hello perfect peak!
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'Turn & stitch' seam finish. Hem finished on the machine, don't judge.
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Had no idea it was called a 'fell stitch', just googled it now. My favourite hand stitch!
Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com
Grrr, uneven shoulders - I'm guessing it's cos I always carry my handbag on my left shoulder.
Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com
Georgia Mini!  www.sewmelove.com


Project details -
Pattern: By Hand London 'Georgia'
Size: 2/6 bust, 6/10 waist, 2/6 hips
Fabric: cotton sateen (1m plain black and 1m printed floral)
Notions: cotton tape, 16" invisible zipper
Cost: approx $30 for plain black cotton sateen, printed cotton sateen and invisible zipper.
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
  • The usual adjustments I have been making for the Georgia bodice:
  • As well as some new adjustments:
    • shortening the strap on my right shoulder
    • moving the position of the straps to sit more to the side of front bodice, just next to the outside of cup seams
    • took a chunk out of my lower back skirt
Hours: 12 hours.
Completed on: Saturday 8th March 2014, I just love leaving things till the last minute!!
First worn: Saturday 8th March 2014 to my friend's wedding.

Even though this dress is completed in March, I'm counting it as Feb-make. I made all the dresses I aimed to make when I came up with my February sewing planincluding a bonus Valentines Day dress. Also smashed my goal of completing one garment per month, woot woot. 

March is a quiet month, I don't have any more weddings or fancy events coming up and it's now the beginning of autumn in Australia so no more mini dresses. I just got my hands on the Sewaholic Pendrell (first Sewaholic pattern yey!) and BHL Charlotte so I'll probably be experimenting with those patterns this month.

I have had a fun journey with Georgia and Anna, but I think it's time for me to give them a rest. 
I've been seeing so many HOT, SEXY, BEAUTIFUL, FABULOUS Flora dresses around, I love them on all the pattern testers (lucky, lucky girls!! I want to be a tester!!) but I'm not sure if I could pull off the mullet hem. 

What do you guys think, should I add Flora to my BHL collection? 
Are you getting your Flora on?


40 comments:

  1. Babe, this is gorgeous! I love it! Gosh, you're making me want to toss my current sewing project and dive right into this!

    You should try the Flora dress! There's a straight hem skirt option, too, so you don't have to do the dipped hem if you don't like it (although I think it would look cute on you).

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    1. Thanks baby!! The dipped hem is slowly growing on me!! I'll have to wait for one of the Aussie stockists to get the Flora, then I'll get myself a copy!

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  2. Fabulous! I bought flora straight away even tho mullet hems don't float my boat. I am planning 2 versions but both with the straight hem. You could rock the mullet hem tho!

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    1. I have heaps of dresses with straight hems, so might go for the mullet hem ;) the more Floras I see, the more the mullet hem seems more appealing...

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  3. Always love your posts!!! I need to look up a fell stitch because that looks so nice compared to my stitching. I think it's interesting that you've just stopped fully lining your dresses, because on my georgia I decided to fully line it for the first time. I decided it was easier than finishing all those curved seam, like you said. How did you finish your seams?

    Well my georgia is nearly ready... Finally! I made lots if small adjustments along the way, basically taking int he two back seams anywhere from 1/4 to 1 full inch along the whole seam. It's still not perfect across my upper back, but the closest I've ever come yet! She's now hanging for the afternoon before I do a hem and final press. I'm so proud of my self for sticking with it the whole time and being patient with all the adjustments and fitting. Can't wait to show you!

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    1. Hey Rach, the fell stitch is amazing, so neat, and easy!
      I finished my seams with the 'turn and stitch' technique - basically I folded raw the seam under to hide it, then stitched it.
      I can't wait to see your Georgia!!Your fabric is very pretty.

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  4. The fit on this one is amazing - good job! I love the contrasting side panels. So many Georgia dress ideas, so little time... And I'm amused to hear you've stopped lining things because I've just started sewing and am *obsessed* with fully lining everything! Mostly just because I can (silk linings FTW!), but it certainly does increase the construction time. I too am now playing around with the Charlotte skirt (not much to play with as the fit is pretty perfect) and some Sewaholic patterns (ditto) - can't wait to see your versions! And I vote YES to you making the Flora dress. You'd rock it.

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    1. There are still so many versions of Georgia I'd like to make too, but they will have to wait till Spring comes around in September :(:(
      I hope I have minimal fititng issues with Charlotte, I can't wait to work on my new patterns!

      I LOVE your Georgia!! The fit and fabric is just stunning!!!!!

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  5. First things first - I think you should definitely add Flora to your collection. It's the first BHL dress I would consider making for myself - all the versions popping up at the moment are fabulous!
    Love this make and you were spot on to change those straps out to black. It looks so much more 'together' now! It's a lovely dress :)

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    1. Thank you Mel :)
      I'm so glad I changed the straps to black, was worth the hassle.

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  6. This looks absolutely smashing, Neeno! The floral panel at the front really pops and the black straps are mos def the way to go! :D Fabulous!

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    1. Thanksssss Amanda :)
      I really love this cotton sateen, have about one meter left over, I'll be using it again for sure!! So bright and pretty~

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  7. What a lovely floral dress! The fit is great and the finishes are absolutely perfect...well done!!!

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  8. Gorgeous Georgia dress and the fit is absolutely spot on! I've just finished my Georgia dress (apart from the hem) and wish I'd thought to make the straps wider now as yours look so good! x

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    1. Thanks Jane!!
      I do love the skinny straps though, they make the dress look lingerie-esque, but I also like the wide straps!! Both look great.

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  9. Girl, this dress looks TOTALLY fab. I'm in love.

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  10. I can't believe you said that none of your dresses are perfect enough to have the 'By Hand' tag sewn in! You crazy lady, every single BHL dress you've made has been incredible and your attention to detail and fit is amazing. It's really useful to read about your fitting experiences. O and you are going to totally rock Flora!

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    1. Thanks Fiona!!! I guess it's cos one pattern only comes with one tag so I'm being VERY SELECTIVE hehe.

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  11. Love this dress on you Neeno, looks awesome. I can't wait to see your version of the Pendrell blouse, I have the pattern too but haven't tried it yet. Not sure how I'd wear it!

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    1. Thank you :)
      I opened the Pendrell pattern yesterday for a peek, not too intimidating!! Bias binding will be challenging though, haven't really used it much. But I'm excited to be sewing up my FIRST BLOUSE!!
      I'm planning to wear mine with work skirts, and shorts if casual.
      I have a RTW that is pretty much the same as Pendrell, and I wear that one to work with pencil skirt, and have worn it with short-shorts for fun times :)

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    2. Bias binding looks so professional, the changeable needle position on your machine will come in handy for that. I'm planning on making some short shorts out of some black ponte knit that would go well with a Pendrell. I'm in the process of making a circle skirt (posted here: http://pinspatternsandpolish.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/self-drafted-black-circle-skirt-part-1.html) which I think would be suitable to wear with it as well. I wonder if rayon would be nice for that style of top? I'm in love with rayon at the moment :) So comfy


      I'll just have to go hunting for fabric for one!

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    3. I have left over rayon from my Maxi Georgia, which I was thinking I'd use for my Pendrell!!! Thanks for the tip on the bias binding. Since sewing with nice drapey rayon, I'm in love with the fit, slowly moving away from my comfort zone fabric cotton sateen!

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    4. This is probably a no no for the pro seamstresses out there but the rayon I've been using has a bit of stretch so I don't cut it on the bias and the binding turns out fine. Saves a bit on fabric too. But you didn't hear it from me . . .

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  12. Pretty pretty! Your adjustments look great. I'm sure you're not the only one with sloping shoulders given how mych of the 90s people wore backpacks on one shoulder. Everyone has little body quirks like this. I might try flora but I have a really similar Vogue pattern in my stash

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    1. That's true, I should have listened to mum and wore my back pack properly, grr. I didn't know how bad it was till I started taking blog pics!!!
      Thanks for the comment hun :)

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  13. It's a beautiful dress, and I love the way you used the print. I haven't tried any BHL patterns yet, but hopefully one of these days.

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    1. Thanks Becky.
      I highly recommend the BHL patterns. Instructions are very easy to follow, sewalongs are helpful and the sizing is much better than the big 4, no ridiculous amounts of ease built in. Really happy BHL so far!

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  14. I can understand why 'Georgia' is a TNT pattern for you. You look amazing! I love the contrasting panels in black! There is something about black with florals that feels so fresh and modern to me. Love it!

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    1. Thank you:) I lurvvvve wearing black and I love sewing with florals, so this was a marriage made in heaven :)

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  15. You look amazing! I can't believe how much of a difference your lower back adjustment makes - the fit of this obe is so much better. Well done! And I think you should definitely get Flora.

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    1. Hey Rachel! Sooo much difference hey! The stretch in the cotton sateen is also a big help to get the snug fit.

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  16. Like I said on Twitter, this dress is AMAZING! I love the pattern, it's been beautifully put together by a very talented lady! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. This is gorgeous. Admittedly, I was smitten with this pattern for some reason when I first saw it, but I think you may have just changed my mind about it!

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    1. oops! I meant to say that I was originally not smitten with the pattern, but you changed my mind for the better. Yikes, must learn to read before hitting publish!

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    2. I hope you make this up, it is a gorgeous pattern!!

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  18. Wow so gorgeous Hun this pattern suits your perfectly! Love the two colours such a cool idea!!!

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