Louisiana Wildflowers



Kara Gregg

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

photos of me by hubby, Austin

Outline the story …

With ‘The Natural World’ as a theme, I knew I wanted to lean into the nature right around me. I live in rural north Louisiana where we always have something growing/blooming. Nature is the backdrop to every day, so why not celebrate it. I decided to work with natural fibers from my stash. I was drawn to the evening dresses of the 19teens and drafted something more inspired by them rather than a direct copy. The layered skirt reminded me of the petals of a flower and the wrap style was reminiscent of the base of the flower which opens and supports the petals.

I learned that you can “print” images onto fabric with a cyanotype mixture. I love the blue color produced by the photo-reactive dye and used plants from my yard to print onto the silk base layer. Next I discovered some wild flowers on my daily drive and translated them to an embroidery pattern. The large white/pink flowers are Swamp Rose Mallows a relative of the Hibiscus. They grow wild along waterways in the fall. The smaller purple flowers are a weed similar to Morning Glory called Purple Passion Flower and they bloom in late summer. It was fun to learn something of the flowers commonly seen on my daily commute while immortalizing them in thread. Machine embroidery on the middle layer of the skirt hinted at the many wild flowers growing along the side of the road year round.

Outline the construction…

The silk in my stash had to have all of the bright dye removed before I could begin the process. The opaque base layer was dyed and “printed” with a photo-reactive dye. The sheer layers are both teal, one almost black. The dress was worked organically by draping the skirt panels until I achieved the effect I wanted.

I hand embroidered the flowers onto the top layer of the skirt and the center panel of the bodice. Hand sewing is not my strongest skill and embroidering so many large flowers was a challenge, but the flaws are a reflection of nature. The most beautiful flowers are perfect in their imperfections.

I based the bodice off a commercial pattern, but modified it to work for my openings and overlay. I added boning to the midriff section to keep I from collapsing when I moved. The boning is attached to a cotton layer to give more support and reduce strain on the silk.

The skirt layers wrap and cross themselves in the front to give it the tiered petal effect. I kept the layers together in the back, but they had to be separate to layer properly in the front. A series of hooks and eyes keep the layers together around the waist.




  1. Constance MacKenzie Constance MacKenzie on May 10, 2023 at 8:11 am

    A beautiful incorporation of the real nature world around you and the embellishment inspired by nature added by you. The colours all mix beautifully together

  2. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 10, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    I love how you incorporated the wild flowers into your dress through the embroidery! And wow the effort to dye the fabric alone…you should be so proud!

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