Meet Georgina, founder and dressmaker for By George clothing, who sell reproduction 40s, 50s and 60s dresses. I first bumped into her at a boot sale in Chessington, where I commented on how much I loved her dress, a flouncy, floral fifties number, only to be told she was about to set up a website where I’d be able to get my own creation hand made by her. We caught up a few weeks later to discuss how By George came about, and to pick up mine and Aimee’s dresses for Revival!
When did you start dressmaking?
Well when I was young my mum made costumes for local film studios and used to make all our clothes for us. I started sewing at about 6 or 7, moving from dolls clothes onto rag dolls which I sold. I made my children’s clothes and sold wedding dresses, but it wasn’t profitable so I moved away from it for a while. People assume dress makers don’t require a lot of money, but a lot of time and labour goes in, and the cost of materials can really add up.
What inspires your designs?
My designs are created from original 50s patterns which used to belong to my mum, and in fact the other day I discovered that my brother has over 100 of my mums old pattern in his loft which I’d love to get my hands on. But the first patterns I used were from fancy dress shops. I generally pick and choose bits from patterns to make the dress look how I want.
How did you come about starting By George?
Back in April I hurt my arm, which meant I couldn’t work anymore. I went to a 50s fancy dress party where I wore a red and white polka dot dress which I loved, it felt so feminine and the cut was great. After that I made some vintage style dresses to take on holiday with me to go and see my son, and began wearing vintage cuts more often. I received a lot of compliments and requests from people asking me to make them dresses. Originally I didn’t want to make it into a business but after a while I caved and set up the website. Now we’re looking to set up a stall in Camden or Spitalfields.
Do you have any recommended vintage shops/brands?
I prefer to get lucky and find little gems in markets as opposed to shopping with mass produced brands. My latest find was a pink nylon pillbox hat and matching gloves in Brighton.
What are your tips for putting together a vintage look?
I like to start with the dress and match things with it, like little cardigans, vintage bags and chunky beads. I think 40s dresses require more demure accessories due to the tailored nature of the cut.
If you could make a dress for anyone, past or present, who would it be and what would you make?
I would love to design for Paloma Faith, whose style I love because it is so fun and cute. I think I would make her a burlesque inspired outfit and matching hat in keeping with her look.
The dresses are priced from £40 pounds upwards and are definitely worth the price considering the quality of the pieces, and are a bargain compared to a lot of repro brands who charge around £70 upwards. We were really pleased with ours, which we wore with pride to Revival, you can see the photos on our facebook page here :)
If you want to check out her stuff and find out more visit http://www.bygeorge-50sfashion.co.uk/ or go to the facebook page here!