I have been practicing my sewing skills on my friends for years now and I’m about to share a few tips I have learned in the last 18 years.

















This is one of my best friends, Kelly Wood. I wanted to make her a dress for her birthday that she could take to Florida. Kelly works at Cox Arboretum and loves nature. The butterfly house is one of her favorites so I was not surprised when she chose the butterfly print.

First tip, send your person a photo of two fabrics to choose from for their gift. This gets them excited, curious and you know they are getting the colors they really want.

















Most friends don’t know their measurements so I recommend doing a garment that is adjustable. I went with a wrap dress pattern for this very reason. I used a 1980s vintage Butterwick 4826 pattern. I named the dress the Princess Diana Dress because I thought the cover fit model looked like Princess Diana.

















I purchased the butterfly cotton fabric in Charleston, South Carolina at an awesome indie sewing shop called Five Eighth Seams. One of the owners is from Dayton, Ohio. I’ve had dreams of visiting their shop for years and last summer I finally got the chance.

Tip two. Because it is a wrap dress with a ruffle the pattern called for 7 yards of fabric. Wrap dresses typically take more fabric than regular dresses. I made this dress work with 5 yards by changing the ruffle. It was a continuous pattern piece that by changing the width of the ruffle and sewing 3 pieces together I got the length.













Tip three. Have lots of fun making their garment! I made 2 of these dresses in a day. I am fast because dress making is my favorite thing to do.

Tip four. Kelly was nice enough to send me photos. Although I suggest taking good pictures of your work just in case you never see it again. I find my garment photos look best on a real person. If you do not have a real person put the garment on the dress form with good lighting and a nice back ground. This is easily achieved outdoors.














Last tip. If you loved their dress so much go ahead and make yourself one, too! I got my awesome batik fabric from the local fabric shop Crafters Lodge. Green is a great color and these dresses are easily put on over a swim suit on hot summer days.

I hope I have inspired you to try sewing for your friends!

Behind the scenes~

Pattern Reading and Layout class was sold out!

















My friend and designer Gwen Vo and I have been practicing photography.
















The first photo was from 2014 and the second from last week showcasing my improvements over the years.
















This is Gwen wearing some of my recent swim suits. After the shoot I ordered a backdrop and professional lights. I can wait to see more improvements.

Still room in my Endless Tea and Scones Embroidery class.


Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh
Dream it! Sew it!