DIY Velvet Dress – The Sultry Sheath by Gertie

diy velvet dress

This week I’ve been busy making my first DIY Velvet Dress – The Sultry Sheath by Gertie

I am really excited about it for a few reasons.

First of all, I have been making my own patterns for the last few months, which is challenging for a beginner seamstress like me.  Sewing something from a ready-made pattern seems like a smooth ride in comparison.  It definitely requires less thinking, which is a blessing! 😀  Not to mention the fact that everything matches up without any effort!

I bought “Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing” a while ago, but I must admit that I was a little intimidated and procrastinated before making any of the projects.

The explanations of techniques and steps are not the easiest in the world to follow. 


To be honest, I am missing the simple and clear style of “Sew it Over” the way a baby misses her mama.  Their instructions are soooo much simpler and very well illustrated. I don’t think there is anyone out there who can beat them. Even an absolute beginner could make a complicated project thanks to the way they explain each step.

On the other hand, the designs presented by Gretie are far more glamorous. 

DIY Velvet Dress - The Sultry Sheath by Gertie

The Sultry Sheath is a perfect example of that.  It is made to fit lady’s curves and it accentuates them by a very elegant use of darts.

What I didn’t like about the dress were the shoulder straps and super tiny armpit holes.

The armpit holes were probably the tiniest I have ever tried on, so it was my first order of business to loosen them up.

Shoulder straps were droopy and far too big to match the “sultriness” of the dress.

Even on the picture in the book, they look somehow… out of place. Not to mention that the dress didn’t really fit Gretchen well, so it gives it a very uncomfortable appearance.


Thank Goodness for the muslin. 


I am so grateful to Gretchen for teaching me about the importance of making a muslin. I swear I have never considered it before. If I didn’t make a muslin and went straight ahead to make the dress I would have wasted my material. There was a lot of changes to the pattern that needed to be made and the material I chose is too delicate for that.

Other than modifying the shoulder straps and armpit holes, I also:

  • lowered down the neckline of my dress,
  • matched the bodice darts to skirt darts,
  • lowered the position of bust darts
  • took in a big chunk of the back seam on the bodice.

The Material 


A few months ago, I got pretty lucky. My local Jysk was selling 3 m bundles of velveteen for 5 Euros!!!

I bought 3 bunches of it in different colors.

One was used to create this lovely set of trousers and a crop top. 

The velveteen in what I call, the champagne color, was used for The Sultry Sheath. It seems like a perfect dress for a New Year’s Party! (Not that I’m planning to attend one :P)

In the end, the dress still doesn’t fit me perfectly. I’m sad about it… but also too lazy to change it again. The back zipper is bulging a little and I wish I have shortened the bodice a little more. The saddest part, however, is that my boobies are squashed. The only thing I could do to fix it is to take out the lining of the bodice, but again… I feel too lousy to do that. (I live in Norway now and I haven’t seen a single ray of sunshine since over a month. My motivation to do things is dropping together with the temperature.)

I am complaining too much. To do this beautiful dress some justice, I will quote reactions of the only two people who have seen it so far:

Person number one: “WOW!”

Person number two: “…” 


DIY Velvet Dress - The Sultry Sheath by Gertie


What do you think about The Sultry Sheath? Would you like to make one?

Perhaps you did make one for yourself? If you did, please let me know what material did you use.

I’m curious to hear from you! 🙂


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