In the beginning I had an idea. The idea turned into a project that also continued to evolve. In the end the project turned out radically different from that idea as it was envisioned. These are a collection of dresses that hopped off the beaten path and are now truly a blast from the past.

Lolita Fashion Tracy McElfresh

It’s 2002 and I worked at Wright Memorial Library. I stumbled across a fashion book titled,  “Fruits”  that was full of portrait photos of people in Japan. Inspired by uncaged creative freedom, handmade looks and glorious color my obsession bloomed. With this idea and a couple of glasses of wine I raided the remnant cart at Hancock Fabric and this very short look came out of it. I was thinking crazy, sexy, cool and what I got was just too cute for back to school.


A beautiful 1950s young ice skater adorned the cover of the pattern I used for this dress. Originally, I was going to make a skate dress and so I chose preprinted color blocked fabric with a vertical stripe for the design. I feel that it looks like there is a smaller fitted dress inside of a larger silhouette. It turned out to be an amazing dress, but not what I set out for. Mary, owner of Clash Dayton, loved the dress so much she bought it in 2011.  Photo by Bruce Soifer.

Lolita Fashion Tracy McElfresh

Here is another preprinted color blocked fabric dress. The sleeves had to be cut on the cross grain to keep them yellow and didn’t allow for much stretch. Leslie Ruby Randall and the photo by Sharon Elaine Photography.

Lolita Fashion Tracy McElfresh

This is Colette Pattern’s, Rooibos dress. I fully piped all of the seams. People always ask if it’s an apron. I made the same dress in black jacquard and no one asks me that question. Fabric choice makes a huge difference. Amanda Rea and Shanna Ramsey took this photo.

These are just a few more.

I made this dress to showcase my skills in sizing. It was originally made for a curvy sized gal to put in the Brim Derby Day fashion show. Right after I posted it online a friend saw it and bought it before it was finished. The dress was then cut down the back, I added new darts and I made it a much smaller size. Not at all how I thought it was going to go.

Now that’s one hot dress! To bad it was tight on me and I couldn’t sit down. Exact body measurements do not mean forgetting to add ease (wiggle room).

Photo by Karen Van Roekan

Photo by Kara VanRoekel

For some reason I thought I could wear this one as a regular shirt. After the first few people asked if I was pregnant I gave it to my little sister.


Lolita Fashion Tracy McElfresh

These are just a few of the things that went wrong when I first started making clothing and I hope you enjoyed my collection. After almost 20 years of making my own clothing I feel I am just now really starting to blossom.

Behind the Scenes~

2002-2009 I was a part time employee at Hancock fabric. This is where I learned all about garment construction by making free model garments to display in the shop.


This Saturday is my T-Shirt Quilt intro class.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream It! Sew It!