February was an amazing month and a big part of the reason was having something fun to stay focused on, something to look forward to everyday… Swimwear MONTH!!

I started planning and buying fabric for swimwear month in July last year. The focus this season was 1920s inspired looks. A friend was kind enough to send inspiration photos of swimwear she liked. She just so happens to own a vintage swimwear collection herself. Thank you Sam!

I didn’t want to be too hard on myself. I thought I would draft one pattern and alter it slightly for all four or maybe even five suits. With different fabric, straps and whatnots I was hoping to achieve totally different looks.

I married the shorts with no center seams in with the bodysuit pattern. This is really easy to do because most patterns show where your waistline is supposed to hit. Match the short bottoms and top at that waistline marking and BOOM!

I then made a muslin out of scraps from last years suits. I know my size but I wasn’t about to draft a pattern and wing it on my expensive fabric.

From this muslin I realized the top front needed to be higher, the back needed to be lower, and the upper bust needed to be smaller. The cool thing about a wearable muslin was, once I took it in, I could wear it and no-one would notice that it’s not perfect.

My second suit I used that same master pattern with some twists and an inspiration photo. I also made the skirt removable to have two suit looks.

Back of the suit.

I really love it with the skirt off.

Week three was another big challenge!

This is the same pattern here again. I just added the stripes and cut the straps out to add new and different straps in.

Not exact, but close. I line and cup all of my suits these days, especially this one as any lumps or bulges make shadows. Even my mole on my hip shows through with shadows. I made the belt by taking scraps from the larger scale stripes and cutting them down.

My final suit was to be a replica but after looking closely at my inspiration photos, not knowing who the designers were, and not trusting that they were in fact vintage, I decided to put my own twist on the look.

I really adore how this suit came out. I have made countless suits in the last seven years and at no time have I ever been this successful. I attribute this to planning well ahead, testing my pattern first, and giving myself an entire month.

Behind the scenes!

I’m in a local art show with many other awesome artists. Check us out in the news.

Next month is active wear month with the idea of some pants that I can go from tap class to work in!

This is the first of three shorts made.


Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!





Tracy McElfresh
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