children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts

Back in 2013 I sewed a “trapezist” costume for Stella to wear to a party.  As it turns out that has been one of her favourite outfits for dress ups and to wear to gymnastics classes!  Since she has been growing, and has recently restarted gymnastics, we thought that it was time for a few more sets of leotards and leggings.  Stella also likes to have a skirt to wear with her leotards, so they went into the mix as well.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

I used the same patterns as last time: the Go To Leggings pattern, a vintage leotard pattern, and the Circle Skirt Calculator. I re-traced them all in larger sizes (a mixture of size 6 to size 8 to accommodate widths and lengths) and went to work. It was a production line!

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

These were all sewn at November Sewjourn. Three lots of leggings. Three leotards. At at that stage, two circle skirts. The plain black circle skirt had been made a couple of weeks prior as part of a choir outfit and was already in the drawer.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

The leggings are incredibly straightforward. One pattern piece, a few seams, a ring of elastic (I’d pre-measured these on Stella before heading to Sewjourn) overlocked to the inside of the leggings then turned over to encase and zig-zagged to secure. Hems also zig-zagged.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

The circle skirt was the easiest thing in the world. No seams: just a hole in the centre for the waist, and no hems either. The bright lime elastic waistband was sewn into a circle the zig-zagged onto the skirt waist. Super quick!

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

There is a little more work in the leotards, as the leg openings and the neckline are elasticised. The pattern included suggested lengths of elastic, and I zig-zagged it to the wront side while stretching it a little bit. Then I turned the elastic to the inside and zig-zagged it in place again. Working with elastic like this takes a little bit of practice but the more that you do it, the better a feel you get for how much stretching is needed. The sleeve hems are just zig-zagged in place.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

The fabrics that were used had a significant impact on the fit of each garment. Everything had been cut in exactly the same size. The “fireworks” fabric came from Spotlight. It was Stella’s choice and her original favourite, but had the least amount of stretch and stretched much more across the grain than along it. It was the smallest and least comfortable to wear (although she has still worn it plenty).

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

The fabric with fluoro splashes – very 80s – came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It is a poly/lycra knit, and is very soft and has a lovely feel. I had plenty left over in stash after making Clare a top in it a while ago. This felt the nicest on and was very comfortable and easy to move in.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

The black and white is a swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics. It is possibly the most appropriate fabric of all of these for leggings and leotards. It has been comfortable to wear and easy to move in. Although she didn’t like it at first, once it was on (and she realised she could wear her black skirt with it) it has gone into regular rotation.

Leotards, leggings and circle skirts for gymnastics

It’s highly satisfying to sew things like this that are so appreciated. Stella really enjoys them, and they are definitely loads of fun to see. She receives many positive comments on her leggings and leotards at her (recreational, not competitive) gymnastics classes!

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