A Handmade Ballet Leotard: Jalie Jade Pattern

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

This is one of those things I still can’t quite believe I successfully made. I’m not sure why it intimidated me so much, I have actually hacked some basic leotards into fancier ones before, but learning to add the elastic for some reason had me nervous about making them from scratch.

BUT, I have conquered the ballet leotard! Let me say right off the bat, there is no question when it comes to activewear patterns, Jalie dominates the market with good reason. I am not an affiliate with Jalie, I just love them so much, I have to spread the word. More about why I love Jalie further down, but here is my 14-year-old ballerina’s finished leotard!

Sewing ballet leotards with Jalie patterns || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

At my girls’ dance studio, they wear black leotards to class, any design. Natalie likes things with a high neckline and she loves a pretty back design, so when Jalie released this new Jade Leotard pattern recently, it was a no brainer. It went together perfectly and she absolutely loves it. The fabric is nylon spandex from Hobby Lobby, part of their new activewear fabric line and it’s to-die-for. Use the 40% off coupon and you can get it for less than $8 a yard. I also used this lining from Spandex World.

Sewing ballet leotards with Jalie patterns || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Ok, here are the reasons why Jalie patterns can’t be beat.

  • Their sizing is spot on. When I was teaching sewing to kids, we made pajama shorts with this Jalie pattern and I took measurements of each student. Every pair of shorts fit perfectly. When you buy a pattern from Jalie, it comes with all the sizes, from children to adult and the sizing chart is right every time. I definitely cannot say that about most patterns, Big 4 or Indie. There’s usually some trial and error involved to find your size with other brands.

  • They teach professional techniques. I learned so much from using this pattern, especially about how to apply the elastic and finishes. They even include instructions for those who don’t have a serger!

  • They have great variety and modern designs. Jalie keeps up with the trends and goes beyond basic designs. I’m always excited to see what they’ll release next! They have patterns for all kinds of sports, including water sports, gymnastics and figure skating, plus designs for everyday clothing.

Now that I’ve learned these skills, we’re excited to design and make more leotards! I also have the basic leotard pattern, which will be easy to hack into other designs. I saved the following photo from Dancewear Solutions’ Instagram stories this morning. I love the twisted back, so clever with the two colors! They are allowed to wear colorful leotards to jazz and modern, so maybe I’ll some in colors too. (I should add, Dancewear Solutions is my favorite for ordering leotards if I’m not making them. They have the best prices I’ve found.)

Sewing for ballet, inspiration

I think one of the biggest hurdles to breaking out and trying other genres of sewing are gathering the supplies. Once I had the right fabric, some lining, the right elastic, the right needles, and the pattern, I was good to jump in. Half the battle is sourcing the more unique materials.

Next on my “learning new things” list, is a coat! But one thing at a time, ha!

I’d be happy to have you follow along with my sewing adventures on Instagram!

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Sewing Activewear: Simplicity 8634 & 8631

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

A few seasons ago, Simplicity came out with these slightly ridiculous superhero activewear patterns. Because of the outlandish novelty fabrics, I’m not sure many people really gave them more than a glance, but the designs themselves are actually pretty great.

I’ve been on a quest to conquer activewear (see some tips and what I’ve learned so far in this post) and used these Simplicity patterns to make Layla some more clothes for Crossfit Kids this summer. We love how her new activewear outfit turned out and it was really fun and easy to sew!

Sewing activewear: Simplicity 8634 & 8631 || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

All of these great fabrics are from Hobby Lobby. I can’t decide if I like the pants or the top more, thy both have such great details. The lines on the pants are perfection, I’m going to make a pair for myself, probably in navy. But the BEST part of the pants, is that they have deep pockets!! My phone could fit in there when I run and that is something lacking in most store bought active pants, I’ve noticed. They give you the tiniest pocket ever, big enough for one house key, I guess. The pattern for these leggings is Simplicity 8634. These patterns use the novelty elastic for the waistbands, but we don’t like that, so I used the waistband piece from Simplicity 8424.

Sewing activewear, running leggings pattern: Simplicity 8634

Then there’s the top, which is equally cool and I also want my own version of! I love the back ties, so cute! She loves this top and it’s perfect for Crossfit because it stays put. The neckline and armhole pieces for this pattern are drafted perfectly. I used my serger to apply them, and also serged all the seams. I serged the hem edges before turning and hemming with a stretch stitch on my regular machine. With knits, turning them twice and hemming never looks as neat. The pattern for the top is Simplicity 8631.

Sewing activewear, tie-back workout top: Simplicity 8631 || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

I definitely have more activewear in the cue! I can’t wait to take photos of the ballet leotard I made my daughter and I bought some swimsuit fabrics on my trip to Denver last week that I have big plans for, can’t wait! I feel like now that I’ve learned some good techniques for these tricky fabrics, the world is at my fingertips. I’m thinking of ordering this book. It’s author, Melissa Fehr, seems to be quite the queen of activewear sewing, not to mention a very inspiring person in general. It’s worth spending some time on her website.

I talked about this in my last activewear post, but a few essential tools for activewear are definitely some stretch needles and a walking foot. And while you can do without these things, a serger will absolutely make your life in activewear sewing so much faster and easier and give you sturdier results. I also do almost all my cutting out with a rotary cutter, on a large mat. It really saves my hands, which become tired with scissor cutting. At first I thought free handing with a rotary cutter would be risky, I thought it was a quilting tool only, but once I tried it, I never went back!


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