Last April two wonderful Dayton artists Etch and Tiffany Clark of the Mural Machine asked if I would be interested in making something out of their drop cloth from painting the East End Community Center, Cornerstone below.

East End Community Center, Cornerstone painted by Tiffany Clark and Etch

I quickly sent them a sketch of something that could work with thick heavy muslin.

Tracy McElfresh Mural Machine Poppy Dress

Once I received the fabric I laid it out across my living room floor and studied it to find the best paint parts. Almost like putting together a puzzle I chose which ones to go where on the dress to have the most paint splatter.

Tracy McElfresh Mural Machine Poppy Dress

My friend Jessie Wenzler took action photos of me cutting it out and draping the poppy dress on my dress form. No pattern was used for this design.

The dress was pretty tough to sew through especially on the paint parts. I gave it all a hard-core wash in my washing machine which softened it up. I used a heavy denim needle on a long 4.0 stitch.

After the poppy dress’ construction I checked the dress for fit issues. It draped nicely although the tie seemed too bulky, so I cut it off. But it still needed something.

Tracy McElfresh Mural Machine Poppy Dress 1

That’s me trying on the dress after sweat shop sewing the entire day.

Once the poppy dress was made the artists had a week to get something painted on it.

My friend Jessie Wenzler also has her own tie dye business called Jessie Dyes. She so kindly helped me dye the dress. We were shooting for lavender and it was a direct hit. Thank you Jessie.

Here is a before and after picture.

Tracy McElfresh Mural Machine Poppy Dress

The dress still needed something, perhaps a big floppy hat, so I made one. I cut 4 rounded triangles and a big circle and worked with it until I got it right. I then added black trim and heavy starch.

There was a lot of time, work and skill that went into this fun frock on all parts. I love, love, love the way it turned out.

The lovely photos are by Sarah Babcock modeling is Laura Ess at the Clash Dayton Spring Fashion Show 2016.

Behind the scenes~

After dying the dress we wanted to inspect our dye job. Jessie convinced me to pretend like I was the little girl stenciled on the dress however I could not laughing. We were having such a fun craft night.

Tracy McElfresh

The collaboration with The Mural Machine is the most exciting make for this gal of 2016!

Thank you for reading.

Tracy McElfresh

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