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Pattern Reviews> Butterick> 5545 (Children's/Girls' Leotard, Skirt, Bag and Ponytail Holder)

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Reviewed by:Courtney Ostaff

About Courtney Ostaff
Member since: 11/23/10
Reviews: 17 (patterns: 13)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 4 people
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Posted on:6/20/12 3:13 PM
Last Updated:7/23/12 8:58 PM
See other patterns in this category: Costumes    Kids(boys & girls)    
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Available for sale on PR: $13.95 Pattern Details
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Courtney Ostaff said... (7/25/12 10:24 AM) Reply
Thanks for the great tips!! I'm about *this* close to buying a new pattern, though my alterations seem to work well.
Stargirl7 said... (7/24/12 1:30 PM) Reply
This blog has tons of tips for sewing swimsuits, which are exactly the same as leotards. Well worth reading all of her posts about it.

A tip for the leg openings: You want to use elastic at about a 1:1 ratio with the seamline for the front, but in the back you want to pull the elastic tighter - that is, use less elastic than fabric - so that the leo will cup under the bottom and stay there. Thus your elastic should be shorter than the opening. The 1:1 on the front part will gather up a bit when you turn it up.

I don't know what this pattern is thinking with the neck finishes. Commercial leos have elastic at the neckline just like the legs. Tank-style leos have elastic at the armhole as well, which allows the leo to move with the body without gaping. (If a leo has sleeves, they are usually hemmed like a knit shirt would be.) I'd adjust the neckline on your pattern to make it wide enough to go over the wearer's head. As a previous poster said, commercial leos often have a lower back, in part to allow for this. My daughter prefers leos with a higher neck, as then the neckline is sure to stay high enough even when stretching.

In future, I *highly* recommend the Kwik Sew patterns for dance and swim wear. They give all the details you need to produce an excellent product.

I love the fabric you chose! And it's so nice to learn to sew leos and swim gear. They take such a small amount of fabric, and you can make them to fit exactly! Little girls love having "one of a kind", "custom-made" creations! How great that your daughter has a mom who can do this for her!

I have also found that dancewear can make great gifts. For very little time and money, I can make "custom" dance shorts and ballet skirts that are beautiful, fit well, and are very much appreciated by the recipient.
wildbluestarz said... (7/23/12 9:44 PM) Reply
My LO (boy) had a similar problem with the Jalie biketard pattern for gymnastics. I just put it on him slowly and try not to over stretch it. I think it is a design issue if we had the same problems with two different brand patterns. A lot of the girl style have a lower back line and I think that helps with that opening/head issue.
Courtney Ostaff said... (6/21/12 3:56 PM) Reply
No, I didn't add elastic. It said to use bias tape to stiffen the seam, so I did. My main problem is that she has trouble getting it on, because the neck opening isn't big enough. I'm not sure if I should zig-zag that as well -- but it wouldn't look so hot, I don't think. I just turned under the first one, as per directions. I lined the second one, so it was pretty, but again, she had trouble getting it on. Maybe elastic thread?
Judy Kski said... (6/21/12 0:56 AM) Reply
When I sew, I never go for the fastest time record. For me it's therapeautic and racing would just cause a lot of stress. Did you happen to add elastic at the neckline and armscyes? I can't really tell from the photo, but for a leotard, the armscye fabric extends out onto the shoulder too far. By the way, I never understood why the Big 4 used casings for swimsuits and leotards instead of the Kwik Sew and Stretch & Sew methods. Zig-zagging or serging the elastic to the inside of the opening and then flipping it under and topstitching it is a whole lot easier and makes for a much cleaner finish. You see the KS & S & S methods down in RTW swimsuits and leotards all the time. Good luck with your future leotards. Remember to slow down and enjoy the journey.
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