The “Modern Mary” Dress
Fabric: 2.5 yards navy/white cotton – $11, Hancock
Pattern: McCalls 5923 modified for bodice front – $1,Simplicity 2550 modified for bodice back, McCalls 6503 for sleeves – $1, self-drafted skirt and cuffs (Talk about a Franken-pattern!)
Notions: invisible zipper – $0.50; grosgrain ribbon – $2
Time to complete: Way too long
First worn: 11 June 2012
Wear again? Absolutely!! Though, I’ll likely style it differently.
Total cost: ~$16
I was so pleased to see this challenge pop up. I’ve been wanting to make a variation of Lady Mary’s flower show dress since about 20 minutes after seeing it in the episode.
Funny thing really. We watched the episode on Netflix and when I first saw the dress, I said, “So, that’s the dress all the girls are fussing over. I don’t get it.” I didn’t give it another thought until shortly after the show ended. Suddenly, it occurred to me how cute the stripe variation was and how flattering a dress with vertical stripes on the hips could potentially be. Then, I had to have one. (Like, seriously, had to. As in, I was obsessed with the idea. :-P )
I discovered that I just happened to have the perfect pattern to use for playing with the bodice stripes and the skirt could quite easily be drafted from my block. The bodice back I pulled from my Pantone dress, (but, tweaked the shape and removed the darts, so as not to break up the stripes), and I drafted cuffs and used borrowed sleeves to fit the Franken-bodice.
As usual, finding the right fabric proved difficult. I opted to go with a bolder, more modern, navy stripe and Hancock pulled through after a few weeks with their patriotic offerings. Mind you, this screenprinted cotton turned out not to be quite what I wanted (it suckered in the wash!) but, I made it work. I was determined to have this dress.
I was so excited when I got everything home that I declared I would be skipping at least part of June’s Sew Weekly challenges so I could work on my “Lady Mary dress” instead. Then, the new challenges went up and it actually fit right in. What luck!
Now, why I assumed combining so many different patterns would actually work well is beyond me. Oh the drafting and redrafting that went into this… But, several hours, scraps of tracing paper, and ripped seams later, I’m quite pleased with the final dress.
Still, I can’t quite leave well-enough alone. Do I ever!? I’ve decided it needs a sweet but subtle lace to finish the neckline. I remembered a crochet lace pattern book I was given a few months ago and decided to make the trim myself. Of course, that’s going to take a little more time.