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Ballet Talk for Dancers
lifted

Modifying Leotards that are a Size too Big

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lifted

Found a really good deal on leotards online and decided to ignore the size chart. Bad move on my part, but I thought it made sense since I have tried on leotards from 10 different brands and in all of them I am an XL except for the older Bloch leos which are oddly sized and I am a M.

 

Anyyyywayy.. I definitely should have ordered a L instead of an XL, but since they were super super clearance, exchange or return is not an option. I am pretty sewing handy, but I've never done anything like this. Anyone have experience with this and can give advice? Will I need thread that stretches? I was thinking about taking in a couple of the seams a bit, and making a pleat on the front bust so it lays flat when I bend down.

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koshka

I have successfully altered tank/camisole leotards by hand-sewing in the following steps.

1. Adjust strap length as needed. This step will actually go a long way.

2. Take in sides from armpit to bottom of bust/waist (I have, uh, never needed to take _anything_ in at the hips) I do this step with ordinary thread, and I don't bother to recut or anything--I just sew another seam further in and the fabric just folds over.

 

These two steps should go a long way toward having the leotard fit and not gap on top...

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lifted

This is good to hear, since 3 of them are camisole style. What kind of thread did you use? Long or short stitch length?

 

Also, I wonder if shrinking them is an option....

Edited by lifted

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tamaram26

I have altered leos on two occasions for a better fit. For one of them, I shortened the straps by just cutting and restitching by hand to remove about an inch from each strap. For the other, I added criss cross back straps because the back was very low and the two thin straps were allowing too much gapping when I bent over.

 

For adding the extra straps, I purchased black swimsuit type fabric and cut and sewed it into two very wide strips using an all purpose thread. The trouble was when I attempted to add the straps to the leo. Because the material was so very thin, it was bunching in the sewing machine and the stitches would not hold. After much frustration, I found that the solution was to lay the new straps in place in the leo and use a very thin line of fabric glue to secure them in place. Once the glue dried, I was able to stitch along the glue line, which provided the bulk I needed to make the stitches hold.

 

I have washed and dried both leos many, many times and they are both holding so far. (However, I'm always a little worried that a strap might break in class, so I keep safety pins and an extra black shirt in my dance bag, just in case!)

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lampwick

Adjusting shoulder straps *will* help a lot.

 

For stitching I generally use a regular thread, a stretch stitch, and a ballpoint needle. If your machine overcasts, that would be ideal, but a regular stretch stitch would probably be fine. fairly short, and making sure the tensions are set correctly (you probably want to test on a similar piece of fabric before sewing the actual leo). I haven't been sewing for very long but have managed to make a leo and some simple stretchy wrap dresses for ballet costumes. Generally, the "hard" part for me has been experimenting with getting the presser foot tension right so the fabric doesn't bunch or go down the hole on the needle plate. LOL!

 

It's been worth taking the extra time to fiddle around with the tension and stitch length settings on scrap fabric. Saves a lot of frustration in the end.

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koshka

For shoulder straps I just hand-stitch, with regular or button and craft (extra strong) thread. I also tend to sew into place any "convertible" straps that have a hook--the only leo wardrobe malfunction I ever had involved one of those in its un-sewn-in-place state. :-O

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LaFilleSylphide

I once got a Vala leotard where the strap was sewn on wrong. It was supposed to make a triangle pattern on the back, but one strap was sewn straight up and down. I took a seam ripper, and very carefully without wrecking the elastic part, dismantled the thread and re-sewed the strap into the place where it was supposed to be. You do need to have very strong and secure stitching if you are sewing by hand like I did, as the materials are stretchy and elastic. I imagine that if you wanted to turn the leotard inside out and sew up the sides to reduce the width of the leotard by 1/2 an inch or so, it shouldn't be too difficult. Just follow the existing seam curves of the leotard and reduce it by however much you need!

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