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altering leotards for a non-expert sewer

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I am now the proud owner of three leotards a size too big. They were dirt cheap and I figured how bad could they be. Well. . . they're too long and too wide and I found myself picking at the one I was wearing last night to keep the extra fabric from bunching up, which when you're sweaty is really uncomfortable. Does anybody have any suggestions that don't involve major sewing? (opening seams and such)

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Are they cotton? You might be able to shrink them by popping them in the dryer. :(

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What are they made of and what style are they?


I second scoop's idea of trying a wash in hot if they are cotton.


If they are tanks or camisoles, it is easy to make the straps shorter and to take them in on the sides with just sewing by hand. Most of my tanks / camisoles have shortened straps...

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Guest ckdancegirl7

I often order leotards, and it usually turns out that they don't fit me in some way. To make the narrower, I turn them inside out and sew an inch or two inward (like a couple inches past the origional seam) and sew all the way up each side. To sew the straps you can just loop them a little bit on the inside and sew them into place. Yeah, you can also wash them in hot water in the machine a few times, and put them in the dryer (alot of people air dry their leotards but the dryer will help shrink it more and it won't damage your leotard). Hope this helps! :(

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Thank you all very, very much. They're lycra camisoles and some of your suggestions will definitely work!

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Funny Face

Altering leotards was something of an art form when I was a younger dancer, because the leotards at that time were made of 100% nylon. Thus, altering was necessary to get a custom fit that you liked. There were several ways to do this, and they would work for your lycra leotards as well:


1. The easiest way to get a leotard snugger is to use an elastic belt around the waist. I've seen these advertised pretty inexpensively in dance supply catalogs, but you can also just buy a long piece of elastic (about the width of what you'd sew on your slippers, more or less) from a fabric store, cut it to fit your waist, and sew snaps on the ends for fastening. Don't make it too snug, just enough to pull the bottom portion of the leotard up and blouse slightly over the waist.


2. You can gather the leotard in the neckline area. You can do this on either side to create a square neck, or you can do it straight down the center for a v-neck. How is this gathering done? You can do it with a few stitches from needle and thread, or you can do it with small safety pins. We did this with pins quite a bit back in college, and the pins won't pop out and stick you if you're careful not to gather too much fabric in them. I've shown younger dancers how to do this with needle and thread too, and they're amazed by this simple trick. Obviously, you'll do the gathering on the INSIDE of the leotard so the pins don't show, if you go that route.


3. If the leotard is a tank style or camisole style, you can use a thin shoelace and tie it around the back parts of the two straps, thereby creating sort of a halter look if it's real snug, or just a cutaway shoulder look if you don't pull as tightly.


4. One last thing that I've done in more recent years is gather the neckline of a scoopnecked leotard slightly in the center with a decorative pin. Women in my company have bought quite a few of these during our overseas tours. The prettiest, I think, are the handpainted ones from Russia. Just be careful to remember to remove the pin before you toss the leotard in the wash. I've ruined a few favorite pins this way! :(

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