Dancewear Patterns: They DO Exist!

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It’s no secret around here that I’ve accomplished a huge goal recently of learning to sew activewear, and more specifically dancewear! Both my tween/teen daughters are ballerinas and let me tell you, dance leotards are not cheap! They tend to run at least $60 per leotard and they each need two or three at a time, since they both dance four days a week. To have their black leotards in pretty designs is preferred, of course, but the price goes up with every cute detail, it seems!

The dancewear patterns may seem hard to find at first, but there are more out there than you might think! So I’m here to complie a list today of dancewear patterns. If you’re still new at sewing, don’t let this intimidate you like I did for so many years! You can sew activewear with the most basic sewing equipment, you don’t even need a serger and it’s a great way to build skills. So if you have a dancer in your life, no matter how long you’ve been sewing, this post is for you!

You can sew dancewear! Click over to see my big roundup of sewing patterns for leotards, skirts, leggings and even Irish dancing and character skirts. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Before we start, know that this list is of in-print patterns only. Though I’m sure there’re tons of out-of-print dancewear patterns, both our selection of sewing notions and our access to professional techniques for unique genres of sewing has come a long way in the last decade, so I can’t vouch for those oldest patterns as far as the techniques and finishes they may recommend. So, without further ado,

The Big List of Dancewear Sewing Patterns.

Jalie.

This will be no surprise to you at all. Jalie runs the market and you will learn so much using one of their patterns. If you do not have a serger, that’s ok, the instructions include techniques without a serger. Visit their website to see all the dance patterns they have available. I choose the PDF format because I find assembling the pages much easier than tracing the lines! The leotard I most recently made for Natalie is the Jade pattern. I’ve also made the dance skirts more times than I can count! Jalie also includes boys and mens patterns in their dancewear offerings and they are actually the only company I found that does so.

Sewing dancewear. I made my daughter leggings with Simpicity 8424 and a skirt with Jalie’s ballet skirts pattern. I even altered a basic leotard to add lace and interesting straps! Visit my big list of dance sewing patterns. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Big 4 Pattern Companies.

Yep, the Big 4 (McCall’s, Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue, plus their other brands) does have a decent selection of dancewear patterns. I have made every single piece of Simplicity 8424 and love the sizing on it because dancers tend to be tiny sometimes. The extra small is perfect for my girls. Other Big 4 dancewear patterns include:

Simplicity 1444. This one pretty much has it all! Would be a good place to start your collection.

Burda 9629. This pattern has everything you’ll need for your littlest dancers.

Simplicity 8561. My girls are allowed to wear active leggings to jazz and modern and we like this pattern for those.

Kwik Sew 3661. I think this neckline is so pretty and the skirt too. Great basic pattern! Kwik Sew can be pricey, but they go on sale occasionally online and at JoAnn.

Indie & Misc.

If you have girls in need of character skirts, here is a pattern for those. Once you know how, you’ll regret never trying them before, they’re pretty simple!

Mountain Ash Designs. This company is new to me, but they appear to have a well-established line of dancewear patterns!

Atira’s Fashions has patterns for various ethnic dance, including belly dancing. If you have a character dancer, you may want to check them out.

Guna Rince makes sewing patterns for Irish Dance.

My Childhood Treasures has a nice selection of dance patterns from younger girls up through the ages.

That’s all I can find, folks! I’m sure that’s not all, though. If you know of others, will you let us all know in the comments? Now that I have the dancewear sewing bug, I’m on the lookout for more unique designs. My girls may end up with more than they really need this year, ha!

Cheers :)










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Frugal sewing: dance skirts

I’ll admit, I lost my blogging mojo for a little while. I was still sewing! But I didn’t feel like sharing. Instead of apologizing and explaining, I’ll just jump back in here as if nothing happened and show you something I recently sewed, sound good?

I have two daughters who dance and since my other hobby is photography, we really love taking dance photos together. It’s sort of carried us through these ridiculously long winter months. They were wanting some flowy skirts to take photos in, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on yardage, so I dug through my drawer instead and found the costume I wore in a recital in Hawaii when I took an adult ballet class. I don’t have a before photo of it, but the skirt portion had both a lace overlay and a lining. I cut both layers off the bodice and made them into skirts!

Here are a couple shots we took:

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These are very easy to make and a very frugal way to turn dresses into skirts! I bought a package of wide black elastic and zig-zagged the raw edge onto it. If you’re unsure how to do this, here’s how:

  1. Cut the elastic to fit the waist

  2. Lap the ends of the elastic and zig-zig it together so it’s a circle.

  3. Mark the elastic in fourths and do the same with the skirt waist opening

  4. The skirt opening will be larger than your elastic. Pin the skirt to your elastic, matching your marks.

  5. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the skirt onto the elastic, about a half an inch from the bottom of the elastic (see photo below), stretching the elastic to fit. This edge will be on the inside. The outside will look nice and clean.

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This technique is also useful if you have girls whose dresses get too small or too short. Simply cut off the skirt and attach elastic and give it new life as a skirt!

I also went to the thrift store that same day to look for some frugal dance skirts and found this amazing Free People (ahem, expensive) skirt! I paid $5. I also thrifted this purple King size sheet to use as a backdrop. This is probably my favorite shot of the day.

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I’ve sewn some pretty great pieces lately for myself. Hopefully I can take some photos of those soon and show you!

Cheers :)

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Sewing and Ballet

My oldest daughter Natalie got her first pair of pointe shoes a few weeks ago. Kind of a big deal to a dancer!! My knowledge of dance is minimal, but I do know sewing and am fascinated by how the two relate to each other. 

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Pointe shoes are not something you go in a just pick up off a shelf. The fitting process takes some time and the ladies who helped us find the right shoes were meticulous and made the appointment so much fun. The shoes have to fit perfectly -- there is no buying a size to big so she can grow into them, since a dancer could get injured if they don't fit just right. 

Then you have to sew on the elastic and ribbons. I got the needle and thread out and directed her to YouTube and made her do that part herself ;) 

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She had her first pointe class on Thursday. I so wish I could have gone in there with my camera as all the girls learned to put their shoes on for the first time! But, that's not allowed. Booooooooo. 

Natalie also auditioned for the Nutcracker yesterday and got a part! She'll be a candy cane and she's so excited. I'm not sure how excited either of us will be when I drive her to rehearsals at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning, though, ha! As a seamstress, I love looking at costumes. Costume sewing (for Halloween) tops my list of favorite things to sew, but I know costumes for ballet are a whole 'nother thing. 

I have no idea what her candy cane costume will look like, but I'm enjoying looking at these beauties! Also, poor Clara's nightgown in this photo is a corset. Sounds comfy, haha. 

Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

I love being involved in dance productions and sewing is the way I know how to do that.  I do have to join "a committee" for this Nutcracker production. Not sure what that entails. But if there's a costume committee, I'm there. Just don't give me the snack bar committee. Haha! 

While on the subject, out of curiosity, I was researching how pointe shoes are made and found this video. I love how the ballerina calls the makers artists and their craft an art form that enables their very livelihood. It really is a cool industry! And now I know why they cost so much, ha! 

During the hour of jazz she has on Thursday nights, I always go to the library nearby. I picked up a few kids' ballet books, including this one

Natalie read it and said it was really good, so I read it too. Did you know that the brothers responsible for bringing The Nutcracker to America were from small town Utah? It's super interesting. I got a kick out of this page, of course: 

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Cheers! 

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I'm not paid to promote certain items, I do earn a small percentage from your purchases when you use these links. rest assured that I only recommend items I truly love! 

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