The Seamwork Georgia has been on my list of projects since it came out. I favor empire-waist dresses, and I like some room to breathe—the Georgia checks both boxes. When I muslined the pattern for the first time, it looked really bad. I used cheap muslin, and the stiffness of the fabric did not do justice to the dress. I put the pattern away and moved on to my next sewing fling.
When I had to find a pattern to sew my NYE dress, I thought of the Georgia. I needed to split the top of the bodice to create a yoke and then attach an exaggerated A-line body to it. The Georgia seemed like an easy pattern to adapt to my needs. I sewed another muslin, this time with a floral light polyester, and this is when the Georgia really came to life. The drape of the fabric gave the dress a beautiful shape and changed my first impression of the pattern.
The Georgia dress is a simple and quick project, perfect for beginner sewists. It is a slip-on woven shift dress—no closures!!!!—with an empire waist and short sleeves. The pattern has a lot of ease, making it an easy one to fit without a lot of modifications. The rounded hem detail gives this simple dress a lot of flair.
This pattern has two size ranges: Misses and Curvy. I used a Misses size 14, my usual Seamwork size. The dress fits nicely, but the front hem is shorter than the back, and I blame the boobs for that. The Curvy pattern has a bust dart, which might have fixed the shorter front hem issue. For my next Georgia, I am going to print the front bodice piece from the Curvy range and see if that fixes the problem.
I got ten yards on this very light rayon from Fabric Wholesale Direct. Because it is so light, it is also really see-through. I could have lined the dress, but this fabric is so light that the lining would not have done much. A nice slip keeps the fabric opaque and makes me feel super fancy.
I have sewn enough Seamwork patterns to know that the armscye and sleeves have to be modified. I usually eyeball the amount I add to the armscye at the armpit point. I add enough to remove the depth from that curve—anywhere from 1/2 to 1 inch. In this case, I added 5/8″ to the front armscye and 1″ to the back. Then, I eyeballed the same amount to the front and back sleeve at about the same point the sleeve meets the armscye. This corrected the awful pulling I had when I tried on the muslin.
Sewing a muslin also helped me figure out that I needed to modify the neckline. The boat neckline was just too wide, so there was no way I would be able to hide my bra straps. I kept the width of the shoulder but moved the whole thing one inch towards the neck. I then redrew the neckline, raising it a little bit.
I needed a bit of room for the front bodice, so I added 1/4″ to the side seams. I also added 1/2″ to the bottom of the front bodice. I do think that using this piece from the Curvy range, I would have been able to avoid having to add length here. I really like the fit of finished bodice, though.
I changed the original curved hem to a straight one. I wished I had noticed that the front hem would be shorter than the back at the muslin stage. I could have added some length to the curved bottom part of the front bodice or to the front skirt. If anyone asks (really, who would?), I will just say the uneven hem is a design detail.
This dress is so easy to sew that I decided to add a bit of complexity to the process. I came across a tutorial for non-flipping facings from What Katie Sews. Instead of sewing the facing pieces together and saving that for the last step, this tutorial shows how to sew the facings to the neckline separately as the first step of the process.
It took me some time to wrap my head around this method, but now I love it! The facing stays in place, and the whole thing is beautifully finished. It does add some extra steps to your sewing, but they are well worth it. This is a great method for light fabrics—heavier fabrics might end up with bulky seams.
Once the facing was done, I ignored the instructions from the pattern and followed my own process. I sewed the sleeves in flat and finished the sleeve hems with a serger. The serged edges work really well as a guide for a narrow hem. I sewed the skirt pieces to the front and back bodices. I joined the front and back at the side seams, and then all I had to do was hem the sleeves and the dress.
The Georgia Seamwork Dress
This is a really great project for beginner sewists trying their first steps at garment sewing. Because it has enough ease, it is easy to fit; no closures means not having to deal with zippers or buttonholes. It is also super adaptable—a nice cotton voile makes it perfect for warmer days while rayon or silk elevates the Georgia to an evening dress. I wore it on Valentine’s Day for a romantic stay-at-home dinner, and it did a great job.