There was a time when I wanted to be a painter like Frida Kahlo. Fine arts painting brought me joy. I took numerous classes at Rosewood Art Centre in Kettering. I spent countless dollars on supplies like Cobalt blue and a Winton hog hair flat brush #6. My practices were entertaining and time-consuming. My painting instructor, Gerald Paige, would say, “If you truly love painting you will have a home studio, a studio offsite and one in your car trunk. You might see an inspiring subject and cancel everything to paint.” His dedication to one craft inspired me to streamline and get skilled at my passion, dressmaking. Although I love art, I have my focus now and many of my designs are fashioned after works I’ve seen in museums.

Painting from my class study 2007, playing follow the teacher.















Todays dress is inspired by Frida’s 1939 painting, “The Two Frida’s.”

I wanted the shape of the sleeves and the high Victorian style neckline. I chose fabric that had similar colors from this painting.

I used 1.5 yards of Pat Bravo’s designed Art Gallery Fabric Knit. The fabric is so very soft and washes well.

The amount of yardage was the challenge. I used almost every scrap to make this dress happen. The photo below is my only waste. Japanese Boro uses every piece and I love the idea and try to adhere.









I drafted my design flat on the floor getting my body measurements with a measuring tape and a friction marker. When I’m seated my measurements are larger then when standing. I wanted the seated measurements to add ease to my dress (wiggle room).

My neckline was the circumference of my head, 22″ and divided by 4. I measured from my neck down to my bust and made a mark at that point. Next measure and mark from bust down to waistline. Last I measured the circumference of those marks and divided by 4. Then I cut the front out a little larger, just a couple inches. I used the same pieces to cut the back out.


The second part of my design process was pinning the dress to my dress form and checking fit. I also tweak here too, I made the neckline deeper, I added 10 pin tucked pleated darts in the waistline to give it form and evened up hemlines.

Here are just a couple of the other Frida replicas I have made. They have my own twist on the style.

Behind the scenes~














I was gifted a 103 year old Dayton Journal fashion page for my studio at Rosewood Art Centre!

I added two new embroidery classes this week to be held at Proto Buildbar, sign up quick.

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh
Latest posts by Tracy McElfresh (see all)