By Hand London – Georgia Dress

BHL’s Georgia Dress is a wonderful pattern. Girls with cups that runeth over should note – princess seamed apparel is great to fit when you have a big difference between cup and waist measurements.


1st toile

I toiled the Georgia initially with excessive seam allowances in the bra cups to allow for Princess’ voluptuousness. Basically I draped the first toile, took the changes to the flat pattern and magicked up something that fit – almost. Princess flew the coop before I could check those changes. Next time I would follow the instructions for an FBA on the By Hand London site. I really must learn to do some research before embarking on major changes that have me recutting entire patterns. Also, slap over the wrist for me, I should make changes within a pattern shape first, so as to not lose the integrity of the original pattern. I just can’t help myself!


2nd toile

Some weeks later I had a chance to fit the 2nd toile. It was a bit large in the upper cup. This might have been a different bra, redistributing to different places etc. But I went with it and removed girth from the top of the cups, then transferred those changes to the flat pattern. I insisted the cups weren’t giving enough coverage, Princess disagreed, then she flew the coop again before I had a chance to amend toile #2.

The final Georgia is intended for a fancy dinner event. It will be made of the most beautiful copper brocade, purchased at a grand cost of $7.50 from Pishon. I know, so excessive dropping almost $8 for a dress! Still I wasn’t convinced of the fit after the second lot of changes, so I reached to the darkest depths of my fabric stash and unearthed some Robert Kaufman stretch denim while she was home.

I have to tell you this denim was bought sight unseen, undiscounted, from an online retailer. I purchased 3 ‘yards’ of it, as well as 3 yards of another stretch denim and another 2 x 3 yards of non stretch denims – all Kaufman fabrics. I was on a stretch jeans making bender at the time. Shipping to the land downunder is so damn costly I thought I’d dollar cost average the shipping buying in ‘bulk’. The pic below is not the high stretch denim used for the dress, but you’ll have to trust me, the 2 stretch denims had the same poor recovery. Click on ‘land downunder’. You know you want to!

Recovery? What recovery?
Recovery? What recovery?

When I discovered the recovery in the stretch fabrics were sub par, I photographed the warped denim and sent a really pleasant email to the retailer asking for assistance only to be told that they only take returns on cuts over 1 yard. I explained I had bought 4 x 3 yard cuts. They would have noticed that because I had ‘replied’ to my initial order. They suggested the recovery may improve after washing the denim, however, if I washed it, I wouldn’t be allowed to return the fabric. Well that left me in a very tricky situation. If I washed the fabric I couldn’t return it, the alternative was to wash it, see if recovery improved, if it didn’t – tough luck. The recovery didn’t improve after washing, so it was banished to the back of the cupboard.

The photo below demonstrates how appalling the recovery is on this fabric. You can see where the right underarm side is bagging out, after just one fitting of the dress – albeit, edges unbound. Please admire the initial cup tweaking too! Oh and I ignored Princess and bound the edges of the cups, both to account for the poor recovery and to save reducing them – Mum knows best! I also suggested a really smart antiqued brass belt to be inserted on denim straps at the side front seams, but she won that argument – I still reckon the little buckle would have looked amazing.


Princess flew the coop yet again and the finished dress with minor changes was mailed to her with instructions to paint the green zipper pull with nail polish if it bothered her – it doesn’t, she loves it. She tells me the fit is perfect – but for how long? My guess is it will be perfect until she sits in it, then when she stands up it will have bottomed out. This is a final toile for the copper brocade dress, a fabric with no stretch, so how the toile translates may be a gamble.

modelled by Mademoiselle Broomstick!
modelled by Mademoiselle Broomstick!
...some weeks later with her silk bomber jacket - purchased.
…some weeks later with her silk bomber jacket – purchased.


Hawthorn Threads were very unhelpful about the denim purchase. You’d think after placing an order for 12 yards of fabric, they’d fall over themselves to put it right. Their suck it and see attitude means they have lost my business forever.

I may purchase fabric online again, but I’m wary. Would you? Do you?


Add yours →

  1. Nice job with the fitting and adjustments – I really like the dress in denim, in spite of the fabric issues. It will be quite pretty in brocade. I really dislike buying things online sight unseen. I am often disappointed, although it is necessary where I live.

    Love the song! I had to click. I was lucky enough to get to work in Australia (in Canberra) for a couple of years in the 1990s. I have great memories of the trips I took at the time but unfortunately haven’t visited since 2004. My boyfriend would love to visit Australia but the length of the flight puts him off (he has some health issues).

  2. I agree this dress suits denim; make it again!! Your daughter will look sensational (don’t let her out!).

    Have you tried selecting dress size based on the measurement around the upper bust and picking bust size based on that? I haven’t doe this myself but I notice other bloggers seem to do this now with the indies.

    • Absolutely, a must to choose size by upper bust measurement when one has such generosity. Then at least the alterations are a split between – make the boob cups bigger and make the waist smaller! She plans to wear this with a new silk bomber jacket I couldn’t resist buying her, pity I’ll have to chain her to the study desk!

  3. Ooh, can’t wait to see the final dress! Copper brocade sounds gorgeous. What a shame about the denim, and that they were so unhelpful! I’ve only bought fabric online from Blackbird Fabrics in Canada, and that was a good experience (huge shipping cost though!), but in general I’m pretty wary…

  4. I love this dress on your gorgeous girl, and how I envy her amazing figure. I think she could turn up an old sweater and look adorable. I like a princess seam on most figure shapes as you can get a better fit that way.

    Really looking forward to the brocade version.

    I have bought fabric on line, and have had fairly good success, but sometimes you get a nasty surprise – sometimes a nice one. I ordered some fabric described as sunflower yellow, which looked quite nice on the screen. When it came it was looked like yellow duster, only more mustardy. I took it straight to the charity shop.

  5. Buying fabric on-line is so hit and miss, I recently made a promise to myself never to do it again. It happened after buying ( in an auction on eBay) what I thought was a lovely printed jersey fabric. I was horrified when I opened the parcel. Imagine the sort of fabric used in swimwear – very shiny- slightly sheer – and with SO much stretch. I could have re-sold it or taken it to a charity shop, but that would be cruel! The bin was the only option.
    Nice dress, by the way. Your daughter is very lucky, though I am sure she knows that.

  6. I have bought online about 5-10 times….twice from VERY well known american sites…these were both very disappointing. (One fabric was supposed to be silk…everyone tells me it isn’t) I have also had bad Canadian experiences (fabric that ran in the compensation offered..$200 purchase) I have vowed to never buy online again. Thanks for this. I was about to ask my local quilt store to bring in some Kaufman denim (they are good that way)… I won’t bother asking now.

    • Hi Ellen, I find it weird that so many people raved about the Kaufman denim? Either I received a bad batch or perhaps it wasn’t as advertised if you get my drift! Closet Case File recently had a pre order on a job lot of denim. I think perhaps someone with that sort of following would definitely stand by their product, I did pre order some! Thanks for stopping by.

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