Here’s the problem, as an artist, you see so many things that inspire you. Before you know it; the project has turned into a huge big thing. This project was no different! I hope you enjoy this collaboration project!

When Joy Hoover owner of Joy2Sew showed up at a Dayton Garment Designer Group Meet Up’s, Make Frosting event in a black blazer with white painted lines. I knew I wanted to make one immediately. It was incredibly fun!

We laughed at the idea of me making something in white with black painting and doing a photo shoot together.

While visiting the Taft Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio I saw a painted white linen dress from the French Luxury Design House, Hermès, 1955. I already had white linen. I needed to draft a pattern and paint some lines on the dress. It would be easy!

Famous last words! It took three pattern drafts to get the design how I wanted it!

I ordered the paint and thought, I got this! I did although not without stress and shaky hands. Painting on white fuzzy linen and getting it all to lay flat was challenging. Surprisingly my practice went smashingly.

To paint the dress I put cardboard in between the layers to get it to stretch flat. I should have painted the pieces first….. sigh. The dress had to be done in three parts, top, back, skirt, and then wait for each part to dry. It also had to be done in three layers to make it look like it was watercolor/Sumi-e or Chinese brush art painted on in three shades of black to grey.

I was lucky that Oxi Clean spray and a toothbrush took out my bloopers when I thought it was a good idea to put one of the paintbrushes with black paint on in my mouth while painting with a second brush. Sometimes it’s so difficult not to be hard on yourself for not knowing better.

This dress is currently on display in my public Rosewood Art Center studio. I love the looks and responses I see and hear. Some are too scared to ask although the eyes don’t lie. Some ask, “What’s that?” Some think it’s amazing and squeal with excitement at first glance!

I guess that’s art!

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!



Tracy McElfresh
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