Once, last May, I took a day off and just sat still. I survived and it gave me time to figure out my upcoming projects.
The next morning as Joann opened I was there getting the things to make some dream sews happen.

I got a fancy black and blue brocade fabric to make a designer Anne Klein dress. “It’s totally going to look like something Blanche from Golden Girls would wear in a cover photo,” was what I was telling people.

I didn’t have enough fabric so I improvised. I lay all my pieces on the fabric and give the paper a press with a hot, dry iron. This saves me a few steps.

This is what my floor looks like once all the pieces are cut. Very little waste.

Because I did not have enough fabric I made the belt thinner and bias sewed the pieces together.

Part of the prep is tracing all my markings. For finer details I use my tracing paper and wheel for accuracy. Pay attention to detail here, some markings will need to be seen on the outside of your fabric and some on the inside. If you need help just look at your directions and try pinning it all together how you think it should be. I call this make pretend.

Needle size is very important! Any time you sew with silks, satins or fine fabrics you will want a new needle in your machine and in your serger to avoid snagging. If your needle is to big it can shove your fabric into the needle plate, cause a nest and ruin your project. I used a 60/8 and you can clearly see the difference in the needle I removed, an 80/12, and the smaller one I put in.

During the construction I keep my pieces in order where I can quickly get to them and constantly check that mine looks exactly like the picture given in my instructions.

What sets a designer pattern aside from all the regular patterns? It’s all the high end details! The sleeves are faced and then under stitched and the welted pockets are fully piped.

Most of my makes I do a short unedited YouTube video with free tips. This one is on those piped and welted pockets.


Professional photos taken by Sharon Elaine Photography and the lovely Ruby Randall is stylist and model.

Behind the scenes~

New classes listed this week.

Sewing Machine Basics for Cosplayers and Inspiring Designers at Proto October 12, click here for more details.


Just announced this December we will be making our own family trees with endless tea, scones and all supplies included at Communitea! More details here.

Thank you for reading,


Dream it, Sew it!

Tracy McElfresh

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