Tag Archives: spandex

Working With Spandex

So, you know I have an obsession with spandex and little girl leotards. They are by far my favorite thing to make – quick and easy. You also know that I’ve had my fair share of struggles when making them; tension being my biggest enemy.

I hung in there though and finally mastered it. Or it gave into me, I guess I should say. I used my stretch stitches, but I didn’t change any tension settings on my machine.. just left them on the default settings. The only thing I changed was to clean my machine, and now the tension looks great. (There must have been globs of tiny bits of tread hung in the bobbin case – I’m not the greatest at remembering to clean out that junk). Easy enough.

My next obstacle was the tightness of the elastic around the neck.

First let me explain how I sew the leg elastic. It’s easy to measure the proper length of your elastic there.. just wrap it around the leg, pull it to the proper tightness, mark it, cut it, sew the ends together and pin it evenly around the leg opening. (Remember, you work on the right side of your fabric and then flip it under and sew again.. this makes it easy to work with the spandex and still hides the elastic). As you’re sewing, work from pin to pin..pulling the elastic to equal the length of the material in each area. When you’re finished the elastic will pull snug and the spandex will be evenly distributed around the leg.

But the neck area isn’t so easy (at least for me). I’d measure, sew, and the neckline just kinda hung there a little too loose – not so much that it caused a problem.. it just didn’t look exactly right. See?

It bothered me – big time, so I worked on it. The solution was easy enough. With this last leo I chose not to pre-measure. I left the elastic un-cut, I didn’t even pin it to the fabric. I simply guided it along the edge and pulled it a bit while sewing it to the spandex. Don’t pull too much though or you’ll get bunching.. just a little more than taut and that will do nicely. Fabric tight..

Neckline solved.

My next adventure with spandex will be to make and use spandex binding around the neck and sleeves. Should be fun. I’ll let ya know. 😉



Filed under fabric, Sewing

Finally, Leotard Success!

Exciting news at our house, Goose made the gymnastics team! She’s been practicing for a few years, slowly moving up the ranks, but now she will finally compete.

Now, here’s where I have to brag a bit… On any given week, there are between 500 to 600 girls attending her gym, but there were only 33 picked to represent them in competition. Exciting news indeed! She’s scared to death about it, but says she’s ready to move on to the next step.

So, pull out your spandex, baby! Here we go!

In honor of her big move, I sat down with my machine and made her a new leotard…love the neon pink and green, don’t you?

In the past I’ve struggled with the tension, but that wasn’t the case with this one. I have no idea of the difference.. The black spandex is the same that I’ve used with others, but with this leo I didn’t have to stop and adjust my machine and the seam ripper was never pulled out of the draw. Finally, success! I love that!

For the super-duper, eye-catching neon stripes and ever-so-nicely sewn trim I used these tutorial from Renae at Creative Chicks at Play…I consider her a swimwear expert! She knows all the tricks.

Swimsuit binding

Swimsuit straps

My pattern was a modified version of Jalie 2792.

For some reason, making leotards is an addition of mine… I could make a thousand of them. I think it has something to do with how fast they come together and the fact that there are so few pieces to cut out.

So of course after the completion of Goose’s latest leo, I got to thinking about another.. And I found some UT orange spandex online.


I might buy a yard of it. My only hesitation is that one of Goose’s coaches is a huge Gator fan..

I know!!! She must surely be deranged or something. 🙂

No, She was on the Gator gym team during her college years (a huge accomplishment).

But much to my dismay, she’s tried to sway the girls to her side of the fence (I told Goose that she’d better start packing her bags). Because of this, I have my doubts as to whether or not Goose would wear UT orange into gym.

We’ll see, still thinking.


Filed under Family, Sewing