My Swimwear Journey 2014-2018

When googling swimwear I find articles with titles like Coping with Body Image, Swimsuits for Women Over 40, Amazon’s 21 Best Sellers, Why Women Will Not Wear Swimsuits, How Not to Look Old in a Swimsuit (leave it to Oprah) and Best Day to Buy a Swimsuit (It’s June 8th according to that article). With so much negativity it’s no wonder swimwear is such a hard thing to shop for.

A few years ago I found I could make my own suits for $7-$15 in supplies. For that price it was worth the risk of taking the time to learn to make swimwear. Four years later and I’m ready to share all I have learned.

In the early days I only made one or two suits per season. The first one I made had fit issues (meaning it didn’t fit right). That first suit is how I learned swimwear is not supposed to be loose on the body. To do it right you need to keep it tight. This means trying it on before I add elastic now. I did the elastic on the second suit and though it fit better, I pulled the elastic too tight and it puckered around the neck. I still wear it and no one notices. See what I am saying here? Don’t be afraid to take that dive into a new area because you always gain skills through practice and failures.

Eventually I learned that if my old swimsuit fits I can use it to make a master pattern. This is called a pattern block or a sloper. More tips with pictures!

In 2015 I also learned that professional photos and a beautiful model make an impact. These photos were taken by Sarah Babcock Studios and modeling is Philomina Majesta Afua Darko.

By 2017 I was really making swimwear more. I learned to always keep my scraps because in most cases a single yard of fabric will go a long way for me. All of the two piece swimsuits are made from the scraps of the one piece suits. This is like making free suits and cashing in on more practice.

Also, if you are using white fabric you need to double line each piece in swim lining. Swim lining comes at a 60″ width. If you get 2 yards it will line quite a few suits.

 

 

If you plan on getting into the water you must buy swimwear elastic. This elastic handles the chemicals from the pool better than others.

Alterations happen. Never be afraid to take your work apart and fix it. Nothing is ever perfect even with practice and just about everything CAN be fixed.

You really don’t need fancy machines to make your own swimwear. Up until this season I used a regular sewing machine. However, I recently decided to add some hardware to my skill set and so I bought a cover-stitch machine and a quality serger last January from Sew to Speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the way I also learned how to take a decent picture myself.

Finally, for every suit I make I learn something new. This particular suit I learned to check the scale of the print before I buy the fabric online. Large prints should have a large canvas and so I designed this suit to make the most of the repeating print.

Behind the Scenes~

Want to take a class?

 

Here is a small part of my Christopher Club summer swim crew. Every year we add more fun and friends to the list.

 

 

 

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Suzy Goose even got a new suit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading!
Tracy McElfresh
Dream it! Sew it!

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Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh

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