Put some sugar on it!!! WARNING!! I’m holding nothing back in this journal listing.\n\nSorry, I’m a little tired from last nights Sleater Kinny/ Waxahatchee music show.

I have been extremely excited to tell you all about the graffiti dress. I kept it secret for so long and it about killed me! When I make something this awesome I like to share it with my friends.

Christopher Etch Weyrich and I did another collaboration. Most people know his work in Dayton because it’s almost on one building in every neighborhood. Here is the link for our first collaboration, the cicada dress.

Etch and Tiffany Clark painting Toxic Brewery

This is Tiffany Clark and Etch painting the side of Toxic Brew Co  a few blocks from our shop Sew Dayton! Come get your sew and your fun all in one historic district.

Ok where should I start? I guess from the very beginning buying fabric because it’s a fun place to start.

Etch Dayton Tracy Sews Dress colabEtch Dayton Tracy Sews Dress colab

Chris came into Sew Dayton and to pick up the 7 yards of Muslin I split in half and labeled front of the dress, back of the dress. I told him he could paint what ever he wanted but to make the first 36″ on each piece small graffiti because it would be cut into little bits for the top of the dress. These are the first pictures I got of his work.

IMG_2889 IMG_2890 Etch Dayton Painting for the Tracy McElfresh colab

As you can see he did his Dayton signature bird boon we all see all over town. I googled bird boon to find if it had more meaning and it sent me to the word friend. How sweet to think of a bird boon as a friend.

Etch Dayton Painting for the Tracy McElfresh colab

Next, once I got the fabric home, I laid it all out on my floor and studied it for over a week. I needed to wrap my head around a design that would keep his bird boon match up in tack on the skirt of the dress.

Etch Dayton Painting for the Tracy McElfresh colab

Something about this my kitty Karma absolutely loved! I could not keep him off of it! I also spent that week looking online at dresses similar and rolling around in my 1,000 vintage pattern collection.\n\nI settled with this design, or at the least the bodice of it.

Etch Dayton Tracy Sews Dress colabEtch Dayton Painting for the Tracy McElfresh colab

Once I decide on a design I simply pin my fabric and drape it how I want it to look on my dress form and then study it there for a while. Nothing has been sewn here.

Sorry that is so big, I couldn’t leave this part out. Part of the process was a science experiment to set the paint into the cloth. After melting the first press onto my iron, thank goodness it was at work, I decided to take my work outside on a cool autumn morning. I was not sure about the fumes or how flammable the fabric would be so outside seemed like a good idea. I love all the birds singing and it was so much fun to try something new.\n\nBelow is where the melting started on my first test press.


Ok back to the technical part, I learned if I pressed each piece in half the paint set in without transfer to my board or iron. Then I put each piece in the dryer on high heat for exactly 10 minutes. We took a 4″x4″ swatch and tested it by washing and drying it. It had very little fading. Here is the left swatch simply tested and the right was washed and dried.

Etch Dayton Tracy Sews Dress colab

Etch’s only request was that I try and use every piece of the fabric, to not have any waste. I can do a great job with that as I’m a master crammer, says my husband. Here are the scraps that were left after the dress was cut from 7 yards of fabric.

Etch Dayton Tracy Sews Dress colab

That is me working on the dress in my dining room and that is the bodice cut, sewn and properly pressed.

Etch dayton Tracy McElfresh graffiti dress colab IMG_3103

Here are a few more pictures of the piecing, sew set up and my totally cool ruffler foot!

Etch dayton Tracy McElfresh graffiti dress colab Etch dayton Tracy McElfresh graffiti dress colab

Etch dayton Tracy McElfresh graffiti dress colab

I want to make sure I kept the dress print matched and still kept it elegant. This was tough but I think I achieved the look I wanted.

Fashion show time, next week I will do an entire post on my line that was in the Clash Dayton Fall Fashion Show.

I hope Laura doesn’t mind this behind the scenes shot from the fitting. Here she is showing me what alterations I still need to make on the dress to fit her well. I took the side vent up 10″.\

Etch dayton Tracy McElfresh graffiti dress colab

I had a lot of support from all my wonderful friends and my family came that came out see my designs walk the runway.

Tracy McElfresh and Etch from Dayton Colab graffiti dress

Thank you fellow artist Theresa Brockman for taking this awesome photo. Thank you, Etch for helping me make something amazing, thank you Laura for being such a lovely elegant model and most off all Mary owner of Clash for letting me be a part of such a fun show.

My feature image was taken by Robert Parkey III and the lovely model is Dr. Laura Ess.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave me your comments on what you think of our work.

Tracy McElfresh
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