This year, for every month, I’ve chosen a themed project with a list to ensure I use my time productively. Last month I made swimwear, January was hat month, and March was all about the active wear.

With Spring came more work. Being busier meant I chose to create simple shorts, tanks, and a couple outfits I could wear straight from tap dance into my studio. I hope you enjoy the simplicity.

The patterns I used for active wear month were Kwik-Sew’s leggings master pattern from the Swim & Action Wear book, Indie pattern from Jamie Cristina’s, Mission Maxi for the tops, and Kwik-Sew’s Mix and match for the top I wear to tap.

To sew everything super fast I used my serger and cover stitch machine. This allowed me to make three pieces at a time, like a factory! With experience, three simple pieces can be done in one morning.

Tips – Keeping it simple means no pockets, patterns with less pieces, and not worrying about being perfect. The best tip I can give is to pick a color scheme that you can later mix and match to get more wear out of your work.

The Shorts- I used various 1/2 yard cuts of four way stretch knits averaging $6-$7 per pair of shorts.

The shorts could really use labels to easily indicate the back from the front but I was more hurried than that.

The Tanks – I used hand me down fabrics and my maxi dress pattern. Quick, easy and I love FREE!

Did you notice I had a little fun with the top in the middle of the above pic? I used a different technique called the slash and spread method to widen the bottom. This is where you cut lines from your hemline up and then spread the pattern piece to widen the hemline.

For my tap pants fabric I thrifted $1 large sized stretch velvet pants. I used the same shorts/leggings master pattern that I’m heavily experienced with.

Tap Gear – My final piece was the tap top using the swim tank pattern. By using a swim pattern I can get more use out of my new top, doubling my pleasure. Swim and dance, oh yeah! This amazing fabric was gifted from a friend which means zero trips to any stores or waiting for things to come in the mail.

Tap to Work – If I put a little blazer over this I am ready to go straight to work.

The denim backdrop art work is from Nicki Strouss at Rosewood Art Gallery in Kettering.

Mistakes – The red velvet was not as stretchy as the black so I had to cut them out larger. They are still tight…

Behind the scenes ~

Keeping everything in a color scheme made mixing and matching previous makes wearable. I made these sweatshirts last fall from oversized thrift sweatshirts.

I can go from outdoor workouts to indoor workouts.


Stay tuned, next month’s theme is Indie patterns and matching momma and me dresses.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!


Tracy McElfresh
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