The Sheath dress!

Elegant, feminine and practical and even better- with a strong silhouette the sheath dress is my choice this summer.This dress shape is determined by a well-defined waist and you can find many styles and prints on the high street and designer shops.
They are a great option for work as you just need to elongate the hemline and make it into a very polish modern look that is so much better then the old-fashioned suit or you can look very chic and elegant on a night out (Try silk and other luxurious fabrics). The shape can carry well sweaters, blazers, shawls, wear it with a blouse or anything you through at it. It can be as figure hugging or loose as you want so I would say, there is one style to suit you.There are also so many necklines choices and you can choose from boat neck, deep V, jewel, scoop, or sweetheart etc. I personally like beading as it draws the eye up to the face.
So how to choose the perfect sheath dress?Let’s start with shape and fabric as they interfere on one another.
If you are gorgeously curvy 

Avoid wearing a shift dress too loose as it will create an illusion that you are bigger than you are and look unflattering. A great option is wear with a belt. Other option for you is to make the shape “A-line” adding from the waist a couple of cms (or inc) in diagonal until the hem at the bottom. I love the ones with a slit in the back bottom hem as they are comfortable to walk. Another good look for you is rushing on the stomach because creates the look of a more defined waist
For fabric: Try a bold patterned why not – be adventurous. Try stretchy and heavier fabric that doesn’t mark every curve.

If you are like me- hourglass shape

Girls, we need to emphasize our waists and look for form-fitting cut to play up  our balanced proportions.

I would say by experience on fabrics we should avoid stiff or heavy fabrics because they don’t shape easily on the contours of our bodies, and if you are like me on the boob department (DD) we should avoid very high necklines that overemphasize our bust. Go for a very feminine V neck.
Pear shape
Emphasise your smaller part with a fitted bust and interesting detail up the neckline. The secret for flattening shapes is proportions. So keep that in mind. For fabrics -why not try with some stretch or softness, such as rayon, silk, and cotton blends, and a straight cut as tapered will give emphasis on your hips and tights. Also avoid pegged cuts that make hips and thighs and wrist-length sleeves that line up with the hips direct the eye straight to that area as it will draw attention to your hips.
Athletic or Straight

If you looking for curves this dress can create a illusion for you. If they are shaped on the hanger- get them as they have built in curves. Try a fitted bodice with darts and seaming throughout the torso to help create a defined, feminine silhouette. What won’t work for you are thin, elasticized waistbands or gathered fabric at the stomach that adds thickness to the middle and makes the body look straighter. Go mad on big prints and any fabric you want.
General guidance for a flattening finish. (I am sure you know this but it’s a nice reminder)
Neckline: Make sure it lies flat, as opposed to gaping forward.
Chest: Look out for horizontal pulling (the dress is too tight) or sagging (the dress is too loose). Also, any darts should line up at the centre of each breast, not above or below them.
Armholes: The openings shouldn’t be so small that they constrict movement or so wide that your bra is visible.
Hips: Pinch the fabric at your side. There shouldn’t be more than an inch of allowance. However, the material shouldn’t pull across your thighs, either.
Hemline: The most flattering lengths are an inch above or below the knee. Avoid anything too long or too short.
We all should try on this dress with properly fitting foundation (undergarments). Well fitted bras make so much difference. The location of the zipper on sheath dresses will also change the fit of the dress with side zippers highlighting waistlines more than zippers placed on the back

photo from intercloset.com

So let’s get sewing sheath dresses!

Happy sewing !
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  • Hi. Can you recommend any sheath dress patterns? I’ve been searching online for something fairly fitted for some wool fabric I’ve recently bought.

    I saw the lovely dress you made for the Olympics. Perhaps the New Look 6070 would be suitable for this? Did you come across any others when you were looking for a pattern?

    I’m a beginner to intermediate sewer.

    thanks.
    Emma