A TikToker named Julia is making her grandmother’s dreams come true. When visiting her grandma Georgie in January 2021, Julia began looking through sketches of dresses that Georgie designed when she was a teenager. Julia’s grandmother, it turns out, had wanted to be a fashion designer. She even attended school for it in the 1940s but was forced to drop out to care for ailing family members. Her designs stayed on paper for decades until her granddaughter came across them.
“I knew grandma was talented, but I was like, wow, these are really much better than what I was envisioning in my head,” Julia said. “And she mentioned that when she dies, she wanted them to get sent out to magazines or displayed at her funeral.”
But Julia didn’t see why they had to wait to experience her grandmother’s creativity. She posted the sketches on TikTok, briefly sharing Georgie's story. The video went viral, and Julia started to learn basic sewing skills to make the designs a reality.
Using material leftover from her grandmother’s collection of vintage fabrics as well as thrifted materials, Julia has sewn many of the garments Georgie envisioned. She notes that she doesn’t always follow her “grandma sketch,” as what looks good on paper might not translate onto the body. “Grandma encourages that,” Julia explains.
This ongoing intergenerational collaboration has led to a captivating—and extremely popular—TikTok series in which Julia shows Georgie what she’s created. It’s also sparked sweet conversations between the two of them, which are shared on video. And in one of the greatest moments of the project so far, Julia even got to debut the designs at New York Fashion Week 2023. (Georgie couldn’t attend, but she watched the live stream.)
Check out the designs below.
A TikToker named Julia is making her grandmother’s dreams come true. When she found her grandma's fashion sketches from the 1940s, she knew she wanted to bring them to life.
@boringbb Which one should I make next? Yesterday grandma said “I lived long enough to see one of them come off the paper” I don’t think it should stop with this dress #grandmasoftiktok #vintagefashion #sewingforyoupage ♬ Dreamy – Elijah Lee
Her grandma, Georgie, is delighted.
@boringbb The second design I made of Grandma’s. I ‘m starting with some of the easier ones and working my way up. This design was so summery I wanted to knock it out before it gets cold here. #grandmasoftiktok #reveal #suprise #sewingforyoupage ♬ Possibility – Lykke Li
@boringbb This is the 3rd ‘grandma design’ I have recreated. Of course, I usually make a few changes but I made sure to keep the 50’s silhouette. This skirt is so flattering. I will definitely be making more dresses using a similar 50’s skirt style. I feel like I should be going to halloweentown prom in this. #fashiondesigner #suprise #grandma #1950sfashion ♬ original sound – Julia
@boringbb I’ve had some requests for some very basic sewing 101 videos- so this is how I seam rip #sewingtutorial #sewingbeginner #sewing101 ♬ original sound – Julia
Julia started to learn basic sewing skills to make the designs a reality.
@boringbb I feel like I should be going to an 80’s prom in this dress #fashiondesigner #fashiondesign #vintagefashion ♬ original sound – Reid
@boringbb A slower look at my grandma’s sketch from the 40’s vs. what I created #fashiondesigner #fashiondesign #sewingdiy ♬ original sound – unchained
Not every creation follows the “grandma sketch,” as what looks good on paper might not translate onto the body.
@boringbb Replying to @shaeved grandma knows I dont have to skill nor wallet to give her sketches the perfect real life versions. She just enjoys getting to see the general idea of her designs come to life. Grandma is also big on sustainability. Her favorite design I have made of her is when I used her old bedspread to make a dress. #fashiondesign #fashiondesigner #vintagefashion ♬ original sound – Julia
@boringbb I really didn’t expect her to have this reaction! #fashiondesigner #runwayready #fashiondesign #newyorkfashionweek ♬ original sound – Julia
In the two years that Julia has been working on the project, she was able to debut the designs at New York Fashion Week 2023. (Georgie watched the show from a live stream.)
@boringbb My collection at the @thesocietyfashionweek show! I ‘m very happy to say this small collection (other than the thread) is 100% thrifted or repurposed material. I wanted to show sustainable fashion can be beautiful. #fashionshow #runwayshow #nyfw #fashiondesigner ♬ GIVE IT TO ME X LONDON BRIDGE – ALTÉGO