One Sheath Pattern – Many Looks

Half the fun of sewing is customizing a basic pattern to your own style, so when announced a contest for variations on a single pattern I  jumped in.  It was great fun getting to play designer and my sweet husband was happy to play fashion photographer. My starting point was a basic sheath dress (McCall 6920) fitted with shoulder princess seams.  Here are the looks I created …

The rules allowed for changing necklines, sleeves, length and embellishments, but ruled out many other variations that were included in the same pattern.  I started with View D so I got the pencil skirt and a sleeve to work with.  Here are my three finished garments – one classic, one sporty and one cocktail look.  The quick descriptions below link to more details is separate posts if you’re interested.

Here are my three dresses: 

In each one I added a center front vertical element in some way, hoping to make my figure look a bit taller and trimmer.

The first one – a classic look –  is brown ponte knit, outlined with a self-binding in the blush color of the same fabric.  I was going for “classic” here, but the finished dress was too classic – bordering on boring – and needed an accessory.  The neckline shape didn’t lend itself to my usual scarf or necklace, so I settled on this pin-on flower.  You’ll laugh at the extremes I had to go to find a blush flower in a store in December.

The second one is the sporty variation – also ponte knit.  I had that fabulous teal decorative zipper on hand, so that inspired the teal/pale gray/charcoal gray color scheme and color-blocked detail.  I wore it last night with tights and chunky short booties for an even more casual vibe than this photo.

The cocktail version – the winter white ponte one – gave me a way to use those fabulous lace motifs that I’ve had since I-can’t-remember-when.  (I have them in white too. Does anyone else over-buy like that?)  Using them at the neckline and hemline and extending them with beading gives at least a hint of that vertical effect I wanted. Since the contest parameters ruled out a front-V neckline I cut a V in back instead, and emphasized the mitered trim with more beading.


About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. DebbyLA on December 19, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Love you in 3 variations of one pattern. It helps demonstrate your principles of dressing!

  2. Liz Schneider on December 19, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    I’m in awe that you made 3 dresses so quickly!

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