Since the term One Yard Wonders has long been taken I’m calling my series of one yard garments My One Yard Thing! You might know that it is very, very difficult to make adult clothing out of one yard of fabric. You have to get extra creative and really love a challenge, but, it can be done.

When I started designing my own surface textiles in 2018 I quickly found it was very expensive. In order to get the most bang for the buck I started to make garments out of one yard pieces. Each design is a puzzle, new and fresh on every level. I hope you enjoy this years as much as I have. I put some golden oldies at the bottom that I’m still loving, too.

Look 1

For my first top, I made what’s called a wearable muslin. It’s really just the technical term for a practice garment I can actually wear. When you hear a someone say they are making a muslin they mean it is a practice run of the garment. It is usually constructed out of unbleached cheap cotton material called muslin and they never finish seams or put closures in. It is just to get a ball park fit. The peacock print was a free fabric from the Dayton Garment Designer Meet Up’s Swap.

Look 2


This piece wasn’t as large and I patchwork it together using the salvages as if it was meant to be this way. By the time I was finished I had almost zero waste.

Look 3

This one had to be a lot different because the print is uniform and a patchwork approach would be too messy. It needed to have clean lines. I went with the bat wing and used the middle scrap for cuffs and collar binding. Zero waste score other than the salvages. I was able it use my flat pattern surface design book for many of these looks to problem solve each different print.

Look 4

Casper is our neighborhood albino squirrel and last years muse for this print. I made these pants work by using the salvages in the crotch, waist band and hemlines. I’m finally lucky to be so short in height! I have to warn you though, the white salvage in the crotch can be eye catching. I’m not sure I would do this again. Zoom in if like….

Look 5

I used my Flat Pattern book again to get a groovy design on these bell bottoms. To make the print work I made the pattern with no side seams and the bells separately while matching the print with letters. It worked! The only problem was one of the bottom of my legs had a bar code and my name in the salvage. I solved this problem and made it zero waste with a lettuce hemmed ruffle out of the scraps.

Look 6

Here we go having to get super creative again! Sigh… Another one of my one way lined up prints. This is ladies roller skating printed on an almost dry fit material. I used a 1980s pattern, exposed zipper (so no back seam), and two pieces to make three quarter length sleeves. I also added a pin tuck to hide the seam. I used all the scraps to make a little scarf neckline out of three quarter flounces that I cut.

Look 7


This one started out as a complete disaster. Somehow, I had it in my head I could make gauchos with a self drafted pattern. I have made them many times before this way, but this time – nope. I cut two pieces and it was clear I should’ve cut 4. I saved this look by cutting a gathered elastic waistband skirt out of the wide legs and straps and a bow out of the left overs. It was a successful failure and zero waste. Smiles! The poly crepe de chine was perfect for this project. I enjoyed the more formal fabric as I have become accustomed to working with it more while doing alterations for the public.

Look 8

Shorts for my favorite skateboarder! Isn’t he cute. If he doesn’t wear them I want them back. This sateen cotton fabric proposed an even bigger challenge with cottons only being 43″ wide.

I wasn’t going to do the salvage thing at all because it would be confusing to the eye to have so much white in the crotch. I also knew there would be no matching any print with this little fabric. I finagled a 1990s Kwik Sew pattern around on the fabric until I got close. I left the white salvages in the crotch but then replaced them with scraps and recut them out. The remaining scraps I used to cut out large pockets.

The Finale – Look 9

I wanted to do something totally different for the last look and I’ve always wanted a skort. Skorts are shorts with an over skirt like you see so often on tennis players. I wanted to make a flounce ruffle with the scraps but then I noticed there was enough center fabric for a little cropped tank top so I did that instead. I used the final scrap to make a long patch pocket. Score for less waste! 40-Love.

I used my favorite active wear book’s master pattern for the one piece shorts. I winged the overskirt and top. For sewing, I don’t have my fancy cover stitch at home. I went old school and used my zig-zag stitch and serger for this outfit. It makes quick and easy work of a job like this.

Behind the scenes

Here are a few of the earlier My One Yard Thing looks 2018-2019.

A simple tube shape shift dress.

This tunic was similar to the tube shift dress although I topstitched two lines up the sides to give it a wider look.

This was my very first fabric. So much went wrong here with the print design being way to large and the grey shadow looking like dirt.

This dress looks really cute but was much too hard to get on and off, even with a zipper.

The little pants came out cute and I wish I still had them.

You can check out all of my spoonflower prints in my design shop if you would like.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!

Tracy McElfresh
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