The Sheath Dress

The sheath dress is one I know well, I’ve made this dress over 25 times. In 2010 I practiced on everyone’s different measurements and body types and gifted many of these dresses. The sheath dress is generally a fitted garment that length hits right below the knees. It has been worn by Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge.

Tracy McElfresh

This was my very first sheath dress. It was a simple pattern with only 3 pieces and 8 darts. The first one took me about 4 hours to make. As I started making more of them I started tweaking them in all kinds of different ways. This one I rose the back of the neckline up to hide her bra strap. I also noticed if I used a slight stretch denim it would fit a variety of figures. This is one of my good friends Karen Combs modeling at my first fashion show, Ladyfest in 2010. After the show I gave her the dress. I also learned how to sew on bias tape with this project. As on the first dress it all fell off on the first wash and had to be redone.

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath dress

This is at the same fashion show. I felt I just couldn’t leave this picture out as they are both my good friends wearing the dresses I made them. Harriet to the right let me practice on her for years, she even received a sheath dress of her own for her birthday one year. It is great to have such supported friends and giving friends. I rarely ask them to help me these days as I feel they have already done so much for me.

Tracy McElffresh sheath dress

This is Karen modeling another sheath for the Ohio Classic fashion show in 2010. This one I used more of a chambray and topstitched it all in pink thread. I soon learned if you do a ton of top stitching and it doesn’t fit the person it is a pain to rip it out.

Karen is also modeling my friend Lissa Lush’s hat and fingerless gloves. I bought them after the show and wear the hat all of the time.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

This was my very first sheath dress, I still have it along with the pattern. Here Stacey Hensley is wearing it at the Ohio Classic show. Seth Stephens, now a personal fitness trainer took this photo along with the others. Stacey was so sweet that I offered to make her one of her own. Just a little longer because she is so tall!

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress Tracy McElfresh sheath dress

Here is the dress I made Stacey.

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath Dress

Here is my little sister Sarah modeling Stacey’s dress. I learned early on always get a picture even if the person says they will give you one because it doesn’t always happen.

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath Dress

The next fashion, was the Dayton Push show. They asked me to make one for their silent auction. This is sweet Karen modeling yet again for me in another sheath dress. I also learned that some stretch denim can NOT be pressed. This was the second dress I made for this event. When I pressed the other one it gave it a shiny vinyl feel. I did however give it to the Push chair person and friend Karen Bledsoe who is now an underwriter for WYSO! My friends have all come so far!

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath Dress

Guess who came to the show and wore the dress I made her? Yes, Stacey and that is my other friend Sarah Wacksmuth Tychneiwicz. We call her Sarah T.

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath Dress

My dress sold in the silent auction and I was lucky enough to have Meg Thomas win. She now works for the Mayor! Also since then she has taken lots of sewing lessons from us at Sew Dayton and now can make her own dresses. This photo was also taken by Seth.

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I couldn’t leave this one out. At the show My sister and I won the X mayor Rhine McLin’s hats. My sister also asked at this show if she could not model for me any as she felt I had grown enough to find new models.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

Here are a few more, this is at Brim on Fifth’s Derby Day fashion show. This dress was like it was made for my friend Anna Shearer. She now is the business Marketing Manager for the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Tracy Mcelfresh Sheath Dress Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

This is one that I made and it was my first dress to ever make it on Etsy’s cover page! To left that is my friend Diane. She owns the dress now.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

In 2012, 5 days before we opened Sew Dayton I was in charge of my very first fashion show at Kettering’s Rosewood Community Centre in my home town. Jesy and I now teach children to sew there now. This is where I really started tweaking the sheath dress. These photos are taken by Shanna Rasmey and model and owner of this dress is Rebecca Robbins.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

Here is another one, unfortunately this one was stolen at fashion show. This is Amanda Rea modeling and the photo is taken by the wonderful James Hayden.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath Dress

This one was the best learning experiences I have ever had, although one of the toughest customers I have ever had. This is a fully lined, raw silk sheath dress I made in the summer of 2012. The customer in her 60s wanted it fully fitted. The original pattern had no sleeves so I got to learn to draft them myself and after many attempts to make alterations to fit her body perfectly everywhere until I got it right. I was not easy, anywhere she could pinch she wanted it taken in.

In the past few years I have made a few more that I do not have any pictures for and guess what?

I am making one today.

Tracy McElfresh Sheath dress

Thank you for reading my sheath dress saga. I hope if you are going to make a sheath dress this blog has helped you in some little way.

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh

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