Evolution of the One Piece Insta Dress

Before we were get stared I wanted to share with you a project from last week. I’m so honored my home town of Kettering asked me to be in their Play2Day video.

Here we go~Do you know the old saying that goes “the less pieces a garment has the easier it is to put together?” I put this concept to the test last winter!

These are all my own designs, no patterns were used and they are not replicas from online. This was my first one piece design, a holiday dress.

Yep, that was all just one piece of fabric. I made little tucks to give the appearance of seams, darts, pleats and such.

For second one piece dress my friend and artist Erica B gave me 1970s poly fabric. What better way to practice a design theory than to work on a fabric that does not need pressed, finished or fussed over.

This dress is currently for sale at Clash Dayton in the Oregon District.


Piece layout and process was quite simple.












This design is simple with only 3 pieces, 1 circle and 2 rectangles. The 1 piece dress evolving!











Every year my bestie Brenda and I try to road trip to a favorite fabric shop. This year was Sew to Speak where we got a little crazy. Anita, owner of Sew to Speak, offered me a teaching job as I explained to her I would like to come up with a 1 piece design concept that would be so easy that someone that has never sewn can make their first garment.

Brenda at Sew to Speak 2010

Sew to Speak









The next weekend I cut out my first Insta Dress. It started as a circle with a hole cut out for the head. After making one I was so excited I took photos and sent them to Sew to Speak. I made 2 more for our Art Gallery Fabric rep Georgia and decided it would be a good idea to have a practice class. I reserved the meeting room at my favorite library, Wright Memorial Library and invited the Sew to Speak staff to come test it. I was so nervous. We found all kinds of issues during the testing. The bigger the bust the shorter the top, tops were too short and some too long on the sides.  I needed to figure out why my design came out so different on each person. We also took note that no one had enough fabric even if it was squared for a circle to be cut.











Once I realized the bust circumference altered the Insta Dress lengths I knew I could solve this problem.

My first class at Sew to Speak was very successful.


Next, Silk Road called and asked if I would teach a double at their shop in Cincinnati. Here is where the dress evolved again. By taking out some of the circle we could add pockets with a french ruler and that increased the length.

Great class for a first garment, refresher or just making something fun with friends or family.

Friends in Dayton started asking me to teach it here and I thought it could make a great mini retreat workshop somewhere cool. I reached out to Dayton and found the perfect space at Cox Arboretum, The Kettering Learning Lab, class here.

If you live in Columbus there are still openings for the Insta Dress class at Sew to Speak.

Behind the Scenes~

I made a dress for a lovely lady going on a cruise. In the last month I have made 4 custom formal dresses.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it, Sew it!










By |2017-08-21T10:03:14+00:00August 21st, 2017|makes of 2017, Tracy Designs Dresses|0 Comments

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