- Stretch leotard pattern (our blog post contains pattern options!)
- 1 yd of white spandex or tricot (our blog post contains fabric sources!)
- 3/8″ elastic
- Hook and eye tape
- Matching thread
- Stretch needles
- Optional: serger
To start, select a base stretch leotard pattern. We use Green Pepper’s Crystal Lake Skating Pattern, as it has a single seam in the back and the bloomer portion works well for the hip rolls. However, this pattern has a limited range of sizes.
If you are taller than 5’6” or shorter than 5’3″-ish, you will need to lengthen or shorten the torso of this pattern. Always make a mock-up!
The Crystal Lake pattern pieces you will need for this are the leotard torso and bloomers. You will need to make some minor alterations prior to cutting. To start, grab a ruler and match it up from the front shoulder piece to approximately an inch below the front neckline. This will create the V neckline for the leotard. You will also want to raise the back of the leotard pattern and alter the neckline to accommodate.
Finally, cut a slightly deeper dip in the bloomer (approximately 1″ below the pattern piece). This will help eliminate skirt puckers at the center of the V.
If you want your hip roll to sit closer to your natural waist, you can also cut 1″ off of the hip and transfer this piece to the bloomer. We have this built into our altered pattern.
Cut your altered pieces on the fold of your fabric. If you are using a 2-way stretch fabric, make sure that the widest degree of stretch goes AROUND your body.
Once both pieces are cut, serge or sew (using a zig-zag stitch) along center back on the torso and bloomers and shoulders. Spandex doesn’t fray, so there’s no need to finish the neckline or arm holes since they’ll be covered by the chest armor. However, if you want an extra clean finish, follow the technique mentioned below for the leg holes.
Go ahead and serge the center back seam of your bloomers. From there, grab your elastic. We use ⅜” elastic for a comfortable leg finish that also prevents our bloomers from riding up. To do this, use a wide and long zig-zag stitch to baste the elastic to the wrong side of your fabric.
For the front portion of the leg, do not stretch your fabric or the elastic at all. For the rear portion of the leg, cut your elastic about ¾ of the way from the top of the hip to the bottom.
You will then gently stretch the elastic to meet up with your fabric. This ensures that when you put the bloomers on, they will hug your bottom for a secure fit, much like a swimsuit or undergarments.
Once you’ve basted your elastic in, fold the elastic over, and repeat this process with your standard zig zag stitch.
Attach your hook and eye tape (or other preferred closure method) to the crotch of your leotard. Set your base leotard pieces aside for now.
Thanks to Sparkle Pipsi for her tips on basic leotard alterations!
Tutorial text/photos by The Geeky Seamstress.