How to Make a Leotard

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Leotards have been integral to the success of athletes and dancers since the 19th century, thanks to the support and freedom of movement they provide. Leotards are readily available in retail venues, although a do-it-yourself attitude and a little creativity can result in a far more unique garment at a fraction of the cost. By starting with a long tank top, one that falls about mid-thigh, you can create a functional leotard that is well suited for almost any physical activity.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Long tank top
  • Seam ripper
  • Safety pins
  • Chalk pencil
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Thread
  • Underwear
  • Scissors

Preparation

Step 1

Use a measuring tape to measure the hips, waist and bust of the person for whom you're making the leotard. These measurements will allow you to select a tank top of the right size.

Step 2

Put on the tank top and pinch the bottom hems together between your legs to ensure it is long and stretchy enough to be comfortable. Then remove the tank top.

Step 3

Use the seam ripper to remove the bottom hem of the tank top.

The Crotch

Step 1

Turn the tank top inside out and put it back on. Use safety pins to hold the bottom of the shirt together where you want the crotch seam to sit. Then slip out of the tank top to ensure it is easily removable.

Step 2

Use the chalk pencil to mark the location of the crotch seam. Then remove the safety pins.

Step 3

Thread a needle or your sewing machine with a thread color that matches the overall scheme of the tank top.

Step 4

Stitch the crotch along the chalk pencil line.

The Leg Holes

Step 1

Place a pair of your own underwear over the tank top so that the crotches line up. This will serve as a guide for the leg holes. Use safety pins to hold the areas around the leg holes together where you want the seams to sit.

Step 2

Put on the tank top again, this time placing your legs through the pinned leg holes to ensure it is comfortable. Then remove the tank top.

Step 3

Use the chalk pencil to mark the location of the seams around the leg holes. Leave an inch between the chalk line and the edge of the fabric so it can be rolled. Then remove the safety pins.

Step 4

Use scissors to trim away extra fabric from around the leg holes if there is more than an inch between the chalk line and the fabric's edge.

Step 5

Roll the leg hole edges and use the sewing machine to stitch each leg hole along the chalk pencil line.

Step 6

Put on your new leotard to ensure it is flexible, comfortable and sturdy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only use form-fitting tank tops with a high elasticity; otherwise, they may not provide the comfort and flexibility you need when performing physical activities. Tank tops that have a high polyester content will be far more elastic than those made primarily of cotton, and therefore a better choice for this endeavor.
  • Save money by purchasing tank tops from a thrift shop or secondhand store.
  • Choose a tank top with a fun, colorful or uncommon designs in order to create a one-of-a-kind leotard that expresses your personality.
  • When using new shirts, allow a little extra crotch room for shrinkage in the wash.
  • If you do not have a sewing machine, you can sew everything by hand, but the speed and accuracy of the sewing machine make it far more preferable.

References

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