Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My oldest girl really needed a new leotard for gymnastics (they stretch vertically, but only so much). Since they're fairly quick to make, I made unitards for the other girls, too. Knowing you'll inherit your older sister's old leotards is not exactly the same as picking fabric for a brand new one.

Molly chose this animal print with hearts because it matched her idol's (older sister's) new suit. Just think of the trouble you can get into if you idolize a 6 year old.

Molly's suit is in a straight size G (toddler 3) because she hasn't slimmed down (yet?) like the other two. She's apparently getting plenty of nourishment despite her generalized refusal to eat meals. After comparing their measurements to Jalie's chart, I did slim the older girls' suits by two sizes.

The neckline is lower in the back than in the front. I made Sara's black suit first and didn't realize this, so my binding seam is in the front. Oops!

Do you like the black and baby blue zebra print? It used to be black and white, but came out of the washer black and blue, ha ha.

I think the fit is pretty good. The shoulder straps seems to sit a little wide, especially on Sara, and that's her widest part. The fit on Sara's two suits (the black and the zebra print) is quite different because the fabrics are so different. The zebra print is soft and flexible and the black is very thick and taut. So, Sara felt the black suit was a little snug in the upper thighs. Because of this, I added width to the legs in Molly's suit, which seems to have been a good idea.

One of my hopes was to make a leotard or unitard which would require as little readjustment during class as possible. You know, instead of run, front handspring, landing, tug tug tug, run, front handspring, tug tug tug, landing you just have run, front handspring, landing.

So I observed all the girls' in their class to see which kind of suits required the least adjustment. (Oh, the things sewists are willing to do - in public, no less!) Both tank suits and unitards required semi-frequent adjustments. One girl whose unitard was gigantic on her never adjusted her suit. Tank suits with bike shorts over them seemed to need the least adjustment. I think if the legs were a little looser on these unitards, they wouldn't ride up quite as must.

I like the construction on these because they seemed to whip up pretty fast without the need for any elastic.
I serged the binding strips to the right sides, folded them over the edge, and coverstiched.

The crotch piece is a rectangle sewn to the insides of the legs.

Here you can see the crotch lining piece (which is identical to the crotch piece). After serging the crotch piece to the suit pieces, I serged one side of the lining, right sides together, to the seam. Then I folded under the seam allowance of the other side, pinned it on the inside as well as I could, reached inside and pulled the not-yet-sewn-seam out, and serged it, thus enclosing the seam.

The pattern I used is Jalie 3138. It includes both a tank leotard and a unitard.

Previously, I've used Jalie 2443 for gymnastics leotards, which is also very nice. It has a tank leotard with several different views, including one with sleeves. That's out of print, but available for download for cheaper than a new Jalie pattern from here.


  1. Cute unitards.

    I saw that this pattern was used quite a bit for our dance concert last year. It looked especially cute on the little girls.

  2. They both look very happy in their couture unitard. You've made them really well too.
    I'm still developing my cover stitch binding skills, that you've already mastered.

  3. They are adorable in their stylish unitards!

  4. Cute suits and cute little girls :O)

  5. Adorable! I'm impressed Molly's already in gymnastics.

  6. it's really cute. Do you now if i can find this pattern for download?, so i may have it. Tania


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