The other day The Adult Beginner received an email from this girl in Australia with an Etsy store, making leotards to support her ballet studies, hoping I would consider sharing her work with my readers.
And I was like:
Ok, two things. Thing 1: sewing is the best, ballet is the best, sewing to fuel ballet sounds like my kinda girl and Thing 2: I’m impressed that she thought to ask. I mean, it usually doesn’t even occur to me to ask for help when I want to spread the word on something. I’m just like “lalalaa, put it out into the world, get on out there, Little Idea, you’re on your own now lalala”. Which doesn’t super-work. So I admire that instinct, especially in someone so young.
Also Thing 3: leotards are hard. Most people are afraid to sew them.
Also Thing 4: I haven’t tested these garments in real life, so I can’t make an endorsement, but the whole thing was intriguing, so I set up this little interview so I could ask a bunch of obnoxious sewing questions because that’s my area.
I’m in the italics, Sarah Jones of Miss Jones Dance is in the regular typeface.
Leotards present so many construction and design challenges. Please tell us about the first leotard you made, who it was for, and what you learned from it.
The first leotard I ever made was for myself, I actually listed it on Etsy, it has a turtleneck and a zip going up the front. I had been making wrap skirts for a while and just decided to take it a little further. I used some leotards that I already had for reference and just kind of improvised from there. It was a bit of an experiment but it actually turned out quite well, the only problem was that at first the zip was too short and I couldn’t actually get the leotard on!
What type of machines do you use and how do you seam your garments?
To sew my leotards I use a Singer Stylist sewing machine which I was given for Christmas. It has a special kind of stretch stitch which is straight and gets reinforced several times so the stitching doesn’t just snap when you put on the leotard. I don’t have a serger at the moment because they are very expensive, but I’m saving up to buy one hopefully in the near future.
How do you finish the legs?
To finish the legs of the leotard I use a kind of rubber elastic which you often find in swimwear. It’s really useful because it curves nicely to fit the shape of the leotard. All I have to do is fold the fabric over the elastic then finish it with a row of double stitches.
I see the leotards are described as front-lined. Is that a shelf bra or a flatline of the whole front piece?
The lining really depends on what the customer wants. If the leotard has a separate bodice and lower half I will usually just line the bodice without a shelf bra, but if the leotard is all one piece I put in a shelf bra. I can make any if the leotards with a shelf bra, bodice lining or a full front lining if that’s what the customer prefers.
Quick off the top of your head: name your favorite dancer, fashion designer, and leotard brand other than your own!
Sorry to be obvious but my favourite dancer would have to be Svetlana Zakharova, her lines are just stunning and she is so incredibly elegant. My favourite fashion designer is either Chanel or Pucci, they are both so colourful and effortlessly chic. I love the leotards made by Elevé, they are the only big brand I know that does patterns and they are custom as well!
Ok, Adult Beginner here in the regular typeface again.
Totally lol-ing over the leotard with the too short zipper that was impossible to get into. We’ve all been there right? Right???
Ok, now for some pictures!
The Adult Beginner has been window-shopping the hell out of this one below. Too bad it would never hide my sports bra. Lé sigh.
This one below could hide all manner of lady-underpinnings though. Look at that large-scale paisley go!
You may go here to see more designs and pictures: Miss Jones Dance, and thank you Miss Jones for granting the interview. Best wishes to you in dancing and in sewing.