I have a sure proof way of getting over any fears of sewing swimwear to share with you today.

Try cutting up and refashioning an old swimsuit or one that you know can be replaced easily.

When Ryan came to me with a “Mermaid” Swim suit her mother in law bought her it had so many issues. Her mother in law wanted her to wear it for a mother daughter picture she saw on Instagram. Ryan let me know, “It’s a cheap novelty suit and if you ruin it, it’s ok.”

Knowing that it was no big deal really set my mind at ease. Plus, when I told the kids in my fashion camp about the project they let me know you can buy these suits at Walmart. If I messed it up I knew I could get another one.

Problems. The suit did not fit across the bust at all! She was really left exposed! The other problem was it was super high cut in the legs and I mean HIGH cut. Almost up to her waist. As she left my studio she said, “I want you to really have fun with it.”

I took a picture of the suit and went to Joann to look for a matching knit. I got a half yard to be safe.

Next I searched online to find something that I could color block and what it might look like.

Supplies I used for this project include – twin needle, pink all purpose thread, snippers, ball point stretch needles, swimwear elastic and a half yard of contrasting performance knit.

Let the cutting begin! The first cut was the sides to get to the middle of the suit. Yep, that little piece was one of the sides.




I cut two 4″ side panels and two 3′ center panels out of the extra store bought knit. I cut everything a little bigger than I needed just in case.

I started with adjusting the length so that I could change the width if needed. I added a panel to the center. To get the panel straight with the back of the suit I folded it in fourths and checked it over and over again. Adding to the center of the suit would make it longer and lower the leg holes.


Next was the scary part, taking the original crotch and adding a small new area to it. The crotch panel was way to narrow for any regular adult. I lined the crotch and added elastic to the sides.


Once the length was figured out it was easy street. I just needed to get the width right. I added my panels to the sides and graded them in to match the natural curves of the suit leaving extra to sew the elastic to.

Just like most things, the panel was too big and had to be altered. This was an easy fix on my serger. It’s all starting to come together at this point and look like a real suit!

The real scary part is the actual fitting. She came into my studio. It fit her. She was happy. I was happier and she let me take pictures.

Behind the scenes~

Had a full sewing class last week at Rosewoood Art Centre.

I was in the local Dayton Daily New paper this week for Rosewood’s 3.5 million dollar expansion. Full story here.

Prom and wedding season is in full swing.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!