Monday, July 11, 2011

Jalie 2792

Myra just started gymnastics classes last week, which naturally means she needs something to wear. While the boys generally just wear knit shorts and tees, a leotard is de rigeur for the girls. And can we talk about how expensive these little leotards are?? Despite my trepidation about sewing this, there was no way I was paying that much for less than a quarter yard of spandex.
Not too shabby for my first attempt at what is essentially swimwear (yikes!).
The pattern is Jalie 2792. This is the simplest view, scoop neck and back without sleeves. All of the openings are elasticated. The fabric is a midweight poly Spandex from Spandex World. I went with a basic cotton candy pink for my first attempt, but once I get the bugs ironed out, there is some pink and purple hologram that she's going to LOVE.
Here is the back. For the leg openings, I used a trick that my friend Beth has had good luck with. Instead of evenly stretching the elastic to fit the leg opening, I left it unstretched on the front half and then stretched the back half only. This really makes sense if you think about it, since most of the roundness in the body is in the back. In the interest of decency, I won't provide an image of that area, but it fits her really well, and after wearing it all day, it didn't ride up at all.
For the topstitching, I was initially planning to coverstitch,but I noticed that the other girls leotards had a three step zigzag, so that is what I used. I think I may try the coverstitch to see how it looks on the next one, but the zigzag is nice and sturdy.
Fit-wise, Myra is long and skinny, so I used the width from the smallest size (F) and lengthened it to the next length (G) in the body section only. Like me, she is smaller in her upper torso, so I left the bodice sections the size F. This seems to have worked well. It looks good, and she was comfortable and had plenty of room to move in it.
Overall, I'm pleased with it, particularly as it is a first attempt. There are a couple of things I didn't like. Mostly they were due to my own inexperience. First was the way the neckline sits.

See how it sticks straight out from her body? I did use regular 1/4 inch elastic, since I haven't yet found the box with my clear elastic in it. The armholes and leg openings, which use the same elastic, lie nice and flat. What did I do? Anyone have any insights into how I can make that look better?
The other thing I didn't love is the wee crotch lining. Since this isn't swimwear, and she wears underthings with it, it doesn't really matter, but it really doesn't provide any coverage. The spandex I used is a little sheer and Myra kept pointing out the Micky Mouse printed on her diaper that you could see right through it. I think I'll line the entire front bodice next time around, at least when using fabric this relatively sheer. the crotch lining is applied by just basting it along the leg holes, so the two ends are not attached to anything and are unfinished. I stitched the back end into the seam, but the front end is flapping free; another argument for a full bodice lining.
Look at that form! She's a natural! And I am really happy with this first attempt. I'm pleased with how well the sizing worked out. Once I figure out the elastic thing, maybe it'll be time to attempt a suit for me? There may be more challenges fitting my figure...

Linked up at The Train to Crazy...


  1. Myra is adorable in her new leotard! I've had good luck with the 3-step zig-zag you used, and typically use this for this sort of application. I love the tip about the leg openings, and I am going to try that asap! Lord knows, I need all the help I can get back there. ;) I'm wondering if you wash the garment, maybe the elastic will lie flatter? I use steam when I am done sewing elastic, but not sure if your fabric will take the steam ok? Let us know what you figure out with that.


  2. It's adorable! And a good job for a first try, too. Fortunately when Tyo was small we received a MAJOR donation of leotards from family friends who put their three girls through just about every kind of dance/gymnastics out there, so I haven't had to contemplate this yet (although I did pick up a Kwik-Sew leotard pattern the other week...)

    I think this is one of those areas where there are still enough home-sewn versions (probably for the same reasons you mention) that home-stitch techniques like the 3-step zigzag don't look odd. The unfinished-front of the crotch lining is pretty standard, too. My kids never overlapped dance/gym with diapers, so I have no helpful thoughts in the cartoon-character-show-through area...

  3. When I do the neckline I pretty much do a one to one except at the neck where I stretch the elastic a bit. That seems to help make the neckline lie flat. I've been making the granddaughters swimsuits, 4 so far this summer and that's what worked for me. I find swimwear elastic from Sew Sassy to work the best. Clear Elastic isn't my favorite but does work. Elastic from Wal-mart or Joann's seems to stiff.

  4. Yeah!!!!! For your first leotard and for Myra in Gymnastics.
    I agree with BConky about swimwear elastic--I like how it feels. Can't describe it's difference really except it feels more durable.
    The unfinished crotch lining on one end is what I've found in RTW suits also. You should make your own suit.
    I don't know the answer to the neckline--I'll be reading along for the answer.

  5. Cute. The zigzag stitching looks really good! Myra looks so happy!

  6. *applause* Looks great!

    I'm not saying this is the answer to the neckline but my first go around at swimsuit making, I had the same problem. In subsequent attempts, I made sure that my fabric that was folded over the elastic was all the way over (and a little bit beyond). Then when I sewed (double needle or 3 step zigszg) I didn't do it right at the top. It's more towards the middle/bottom of the elastic.

  7. The leotard has worked really well. That pattern and your sewing skills will save you a small fortune!
    I think you are spot on with lining the whole front of the leotard, they look better and last better.
    I am not sure why the elastic at the neckline is sticking up, as elastic does seem to have a mind of its own at times, but Cindy's idea sounds good to me. I have had the centre front or back stick up when I did not fold the fabric over quite enough on the first pass, particularly if the elastic is a little too stiff for the fabric.

  8. I've made a couple of swimsuits, and always pull the elastic to stretch just a little bit around the neckline. It's kind of a pain. But you're right about the cost of these specialized outfits. Myra looks delighted with hers; I'm sure she'll love the purple and pink, too. Glad to see her bed is there to bounce on, and your house is in some semblance of order, finally!

  9. That is adorable! I'm probably going to be signing Gracie up for gymnastics at some point since she has just started cheerleading and wants to do handstands (yikes!). I would love to try the Jalie leotard pattern - esp. seeing how cute your version looks.

  10. So cute! I am no help on the neckline issue, but I am going to have to keep the leg elastic tip in mind. I don't need any more swimsuits, but I really need to make more underwear.

  11. Now, that is what I call a real "jump suit"! Cute as can be.

  12. I accidentally deleted this comment (stupid teeny Iphone screen), but it had great info, so I'm copying it here.

    From Sarahbelle

    Wonderful! Try the coverstitch, so you'll know for sure, but the 3x zig-zag is an industry standard for a reason.

    It's a nice fit, and, of course, the perfect colour!!!

    As for the neckline: the problem maybe the wieght of the elastic vs. the weight of the fabric + the insertion of sewing threads. Play around with elastics and thread. Consider the extra fine thread made for sewing lingerie, and, maybe a lighter elastic. I like swimwear elastic for its durability, but it is designed to withstand the onslaught of chlorine, which isn't an issue here.
    She is so cute!!! I miss those babies so much!!!

  13. Thanks for sharing your tips, I am going to try my hand at swimwear sewing soon because I just bought a teeny tiny swimsuit for $40!

    Myra does have great form (and flair!), how long has she been doing gymnastics?

  14. My gosh, she looks just like you in the photo of you together! Awesome leotard, and I may take out my half-finished swimsuit again since I have the tip about legs now.