I really wanted to progress with this style of dress and have therefore reverted to my TNT bodice which has good bust and body dart shaping. Having drawn a new neckline which did away with the “sweetheart” dip at the centre front and extended the width of the shoulders into the centre front, I cut out yet another Mary Rose dress.
Squared off front neckline
This time I used 4 metres of a bold floral printed cotton purchased from Franklins in Salisbury “Sale” shelf. I had already overlocked the cut ends and laundered the fabric so was good to go!
I learned from the previous incarnation to ensure that I made the seam allowance at the centre back bodice a good 1 inch wide to facilitate the lapped zip insertion. Although it was more by luck than design, I have managed to pattern match at centre back and across the 3 panels of the gathered skirt.
Lapped zip, hand picked and pattern matched.
I had taken time to print out an “Order of Construction” and this helped considerably to ensure that I was not doing battle with acres of skirt as I tried to apply the neckline facing and insert the sleeves! The former was completed as soon as the shoulder seams had been stitched and the latter once the first fit and side seams were sewn.
The sleeves are my TNT short sleeves that are self-lined and with some “fudging” I managed to insert without tucks, gathers and pleats. This time the lapped zip was a dream to sew and it is lapped in the correct direction. Again I hand-picked the final line of stitching and am very pleased with the completed insertion.
Due to the width of the skirt and the fact that the pattern is very busy on a dark background, this time I used the blind hemming stitch on the machine to complete the double folded hem. It is not perfect but good enough!
The dress is not really this wide!
Note the pattern match across the width of the skirt.
In hindsight, I prefer the straightened line of the bodice and have already adjusted the width of the shoulders as in this iteration they are a little too wide. This has meant re-drafting the neckline to bring it in a little at centre front and also re-drafting the armsyce – now I am ready for Mary Rose mark III for which I plan to use fabric from my stash – a cotton print with teapots!