Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch sewists create content. Sometimes though it leads to a disheartening misconception that creating is an instant and easy process. You know, the camera blinks on a piece of fabric, a second or two of their sewing, and then, BOOM they have a three-piece suit!

Working in the sewing industry providing alterations I see this misconception almost daily. This year, I aim to educate and lead by example from a place of love.

When someone says, “The Egyptian Pyramids,” we often think of the biggest and greatest, not the failures and work that came before. There was the unfinished Collapsed Pyramid, the Curved Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid. All failures that led to the success of The Giza Pyramid Complex.

I hope you enjoy some of my “On the Way to Giza” projects.

I need one more practice to test my pattern fully. The first one is skin-tight. A few friends have made comments. The second romper needs to be longer in the torso and a little taken out under the arms.

Most recently, my hat pattern took four practices before everything matched up, it fit, and the brim behaved. I had so much wrong and I’ve made so many hats before this style. “Why are we so stubborn not to use a pattern?” says Ramshackle Wild! She speaks from experience.


The worst was my 1940s flat pattern design. I fixed one issue in my pattern only to create a new one. I believe I made this one nine times! Success was bittersweet!

Bags too! In 2017 I was asked to replicate an overnight bag. After I made the clients I thought of all the ways to make them faster, cleaner, and more functional. I tested my theory and I was right. I still use this bag. The bag cost a lot once I bought all the supplies and it took forever to make.

My T-skirts evolved with practice, too.

With fit and pattern drafting sometimes I am lucky to make a replica in three practices.

Too short, it’s too short and it’s still not perfect! As my friend Joy2Sew says, “Hitting the good enough button!”

An oldie – I tried to make my first raincoat out of a museum banner and it didn’t work out and wasn’t going to. That failure gave me the insight to make another one using a German pattern, and I don’t read German!

I still want to repeat this one, the waist was too high for a 1920s drop waist, and the fabric was too stiff for the look I wanted.

I have so many more practice pyramids!

Behind the scenes~

I will be in The View, a juried art exhibition, Rosewood Kettering with my Sunflower Skirt!


Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!

Tracy McElfresh
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