Threadcount 1501: Summer Party Dress
Sewing Threadcount 1501
Hello everyone! Well it’s certainly starting to feel summery, isn’t it? This year I’ve been invited to TWO 50th birthday parties and in an effort to cut down on costs and reuse, instead of buying more, I’ve decided to make a perfect party dress I can wear to both. I purchased Threadcount 1501 from someone online, but this pattern comes from LoveSewing magazine as one of their free editions. It is, however, an exact copy of Butterick 5982 just repackaged up. It’s a shame that the photography for Butterick 5982 is so bad, it just doesn’t do the true look of the dress justice.
Still, some lovely pieces have been created so I’m really pleased to be sewing it up. You can check out other versions of Butterick 5982 on Pattern Review. See what I mean about the awful photography from Butterick? I definitely think the line-art on Threadcount 1501 packaging has made it look much better.
Getting started on Threadcount 1501
I’m was really excited about the cotton sateen fabric I chose, it’s different from what I’d usually wear but I hoped a striking fit will make it look good.
As usual there were a few stages required. I started with a toile for the bodice then cut from the main fabric. I tacked the side seams and back seam rather than sewing, so that I could adjust the fit there.
Dior darts on Threadcount 1501
There is one interesting feature of this dress, and that is what is known as Dior darts. Usually when using a princess-seamed bodice there would be no bust darts on the bodice, as the curve of the bust is included in the princess seam. A Dior dart, named so because of their common appearance in couture Dior items, uses a combination of both bust dart and princess seam to achieve a really good bust fit. Often, the princess seam will be adjusted further off the edge of the bust giving a longer centre panel, and the Dior dart is added to spread that curve over more bust area.
Fitting the bodice
I made up the bodice, and made a stupid mistake and sewed the armscye line shut! I forgot this dress has SLEEVES! Ooops. After much unpicking I was back to where I started with the bodice. I sewed the neckline together and also included some stretch interfacing on the neck edge of the front piece to help stabilise it a bit. Even so, this became a problem and the neckline gaped. I had stay-stitced too. Honestly, I think the neckline is a bit of a flaw with this pattern. Even the photograph for the Butterick pattern doesn’t look good.
I opted to tack the side seams closed first and pinned the back, so I could test the fit. The elastane in the fabric made it possible to wiggle into the bodice for fitting purposes.
A big problem I noticed here was that the neckline was sitting really wide. I think this is partially my fault, you see I didn’t do an FBA. I worked with the 24 when really I probably should have picked the 22 and then completed an FBA. I am narrow-shouldered and I think that’s what’s causing the issue. It means my bra straps are on show. I cannot go braless, alas, so I’m stuck with it!
I was able to take in about 1.5cm extra from each side seam to get a tight fit, so really I would have probably been fine in the 22 with the D cup or an FBA. I will probably make this dress again and will give it a try.
A sleeve disaster!
The sleeves proved to be a total disaster. I’ve never had much problem with sleeve width not fitting my arm. The size of the patterns I sew up generally gives me enough space. (For reference I am 48-41-56 and my bicep is 15″). However after I sewed up the sleeve I noted that not only did it not fit up my arm, I also couldn’t get it into the armhole AT ALL. It was a giant sleeve on the cap and not nearly wide enough. Argh!
Thank you to the lovely people of PatternReview.com (especially kayl) who sat with me through the panic as I tried to redraft the sleeve to fit me.
In the end I had to do a full bicep adjustment AND reduce the sleeve cap to fit the armhole width. This involved two separate slash-and-swing techniques. The finished sleeve looks very different from the original! But it fits so much better. Though it’s still not perfect, as quite a lot of fabric bunches in the back of the sleeve. With only a few days left and no more fabric to cut out I was happy enough with that!
The finished dress
From there I continued making the dress which went swimmingly. No major issues. The skirt is really gorgeous, I love the mixture of pleats and gathers. The zip went in pretty good and I think it looked good! That neckline is still a bit gapey, and in some of the pictures after I had been dancing a lot I noticed it slipped and exposed my bra strap. If I did this again I think I’d either redraw the neckline or do a 22 and an FBA.