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Monday, November 6, 2017

How to Make a Leotard Using a Store Bought Tee

I'm really excited about today's tutorial, both because I totally admire Tosha's work and also because I can't wait to follow her tutorial and make some of my own!
 Tosha is our dancewear designer and on the side she also makes these AMAZING upcycled leotards. 

Aren't they stunning?! I always love to see what new designs Tosha comes up with. She has a knack for finding awesome t-shirts and then turning them into even more better leos. Well, guess what. Now YOU can too! Tosha's going to show you everything you need to know.  Here's Tosha!

First, print and tape the pieces for your chosen pattern. Lay your pattern piece next to your t shirt and decide placement. You'll need to check the stretch of your shirt... most will have decent stretch from side to side and less stretch vertically. (If it doesn't have much stretch, keep reading for tips below!) 

Fold your shirt in half.  Make sure the fold is down the center of the image.. sometimes shirts aren't centered perfectly so double check! Pin your pattern piece to the shirt and cut out.

If you don't have any vertical stretch you'll want to color-block the leotard like I did here. I decided where I wanted my image then I cut straight across. I used the a more stretchy fabric on bottom to give that vertical stretch it was lacking. Make sure to add a seam allowance when color-blocking. You can cut straight across or you can cut it at a slant like shown here:

When up-cycling shirts for dance wear, the number one thing to remember is to use performance fabric for one side. (Front or back.) T-shirts don't have the same amount of stretch as performance fabric so you cannot use t-shirt for both sides of the leotard. You'll have major issues getting it on/off as well as having movement restrictions!

You may have noticed I use Wanda's pattern a lot but you're not limited to that pattern! Here are more CKC dance patterns I've upcycled:

(Almost always, the back and bottom portions are still performance fabric.)

After you have your shirt and fabric pieces cut, simply sew the leo according to pattern instructions.  That's all there is to it!  Here are more upcycled leotards to inspire you: 

Aren't they amazing!?  Thanks so much to Tosha for sharing her tips with us!  I know my daughter will be excited for me to try it out.  If you have any questions or want to show us your completed upcycled leos, please come post in our patterns group on Facebook. We would love to see and hear from you! 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 


  1. So creative, yet so freaking adorable. I will have to make this for my granddaughters. Is the Stitch a bathing suit?

    1. nope! its a leotard too! can't wait to see what you make!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Where do you recommend buying the printed spandex? My Joann's only has solid colors or Mystic metallic in some colors. I am inspired to try and I think print may be more forgiving for this first timer!