So I’ve been trying to start sewing down stash. I’ve been positively stingy with the new fabric purchases the last little while (which seems to mostly be resulting in pattern-binging, but that’s another issue). I’ve been avoiding Fabricland like an (insert clever, really annoying thing to avoid here).
However, the other day Syo had a doctor’s appointment across town at a location I wasn’t familiar with, and so I had built in an excessive amount of traffic/getting lost time, and so we arrived in the area with rather more than an hour to kill before her appointment. And I may not know that area well, but I do know where the fabric store is, so in we tromped.
And Syo found the swimsuit fabrics.
And they were having a big 50% off nearly everything sale.
And I’m officially the biggest pushover ever to disgrace mommydom.
So Syo scored a metre of pink, grey, and white leopard- and heart-print spandex. For a new leotard for her dance class.
Now, she is in sore need of a new leotard—the ones she has are mostly two or three sizes too small. But there is a dress code for the class (however poorly enforced) and I’m pretty sure pink leopard print isn’t on it.
Bring on Kwik Sew 1670, again. This pattern has previously been used (abused) to create the pattern for Tyo’s close-fitting shirt, and the leggings have been made before, but this is the first time I’ve made the leotard up as such. It’s the first time, frankly, that I’ve sewn with full-on spandex in all its slippery, stretchy glory.
First off, I will say, a sleeveless leotard is an insanely easy project. Two pattern pieces, no facings, not even any binding. I started tracing the size 8 (a bit large on Syo but the smallest in my packet) at 8:00 and had the whole thing done before 10:00.
I followed the Kwik Sew instructions remarkably closely, although I don’t know if I’ll do the same next time. They have you measure out elastic lengths, stitch them into circles, and then stretch the circles to fit the various openings (leg, arms, neck). While the elastic lengths were good, I think I do just as well applying in the flat and eyeballing my stretch ratio. I’ll give it a try next time and let you know…
Anyway, I stitched the entire thing on my Janome, as she has the best stretch-stitches—I’ve come to the conclusion (backed by a wee bit of actual research) that my 3-thread serger really isn’t intended for making seams, just finishing them. I’m not supremely in love with the overlock stitch on the Janome—the seams look a little wavy when you open them up—but it is very stretchy. For applying and then topstitching the elastic, I used the 3-step zig-zag. It’s a bit of a home-finished look, but not a bad once, I think.
Some of this may have been motivated by the fact that Syo got her costume for the year-end show the other day. Ah, 1992 called, it wants its clothing back. Black, neon, fishnet, paint-splatter print—an amazing blast from the past. All of which I paid $80 for. And it’s not exactly badly made, and I don’t begrudge the stitcher getting paid a living wage for her time, and she does have a coverstitch, which I don’t… but, frankly, I could’ve done just as well*. And maybe I needed to prove that to myself.
Syo is obscenely happy with her new leotard (not to mention how quickly it was made up). It is a smidge large on her, or at least the neck gapes a touch where I didn’t get the elastic pulled quite evenly, but I imagine that will lessen as she grows. As leotards go, it’s pretty modest, high-necked back and front—I’ll be really tempted to scoop out the back a bunch next time. The butt-coverage is decent, but I suspect it will become less so as her body takes up the excess length. The crotch between the legs seems a bit wide to me, but doesn’t appear to bother her. There’s no crotch-lining included, but I might try adding one next time.
The big question, of course, is what to do with the rest of the fabric, since I used approximately 30 cm off one side of the 150-cm wide, 1m length…
*I don’t think I have any ambitions to pursue a career stitching up dance costumes for local troupes, anyway. Well, at least not the kind of semi-mass-production this kind of costuming requires. Now, making someone a fabulous bellydance or flamenco costume… that could be fun.