How to Make a Leotard from a Long Tanktop

Man I haven’t been looking forward to publishing this post.  It’s been bitterly cold here and, despite brainstorming for weeks, I couldn’t figure out any way to show you guys the finished product without posting a, more or less, bathing suit shot of myself.  On top of the whole, “hey world, these are my thighs” aspect of it, getting this picture was FRIGID.  I’d be fairly pleased with myself if I didn’t know the only reason I look so toned is because every single muscle in my body was clenched in the act of shivering.  So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, my pasty self in a leotard:

  I may have photoshopped my legs to be slightly more tan to avoid actually blinding anyone.
  On to how to make the leo.
  First off, WHY am I making leotards, right?  Well, like I said in my post about the things we’ve been doing around the house, I’ve been doing a lot of aerial classes.  If you’ve ever tried aerial, you know that there are certain parts of your body you have to protect to keep from getting horrible rope/fabric burns.  One of those places is your lower back.  I’ve tried just tucking tight sports tops into tight leggings.  It only works if you want to tuck your shirt into your pants AND your underwear after every trick.  Not really ideal.
  I guess I could have gone out and found a dance shop and bought real leotards, but, uhm, I’m cheap, so I did this instead.
  I stopped by our local thrift shop and grabbed the longest, stretchiest tank tops I could find and dragged them all into a changing room with me.  I tried them on and made sure that I could pinch the hems of the shirt together between my legs.  With my crazy long torso, not many shirts made the cut.  I walked out with 3 that worked and spent like, $1.50.  You could, of course, do this with new shirts, but keep in mind that they might shrink, so make sure you leave yourself more than enough seam allowance at the bottom.
  When I got home, I used my seam ripper to pull out the bottom hem of the shirts.  Once it was out, I broke out my safety pins, threw the shirt on inside out and pinned it together where I wanted the crotch seam to sit.  …this was also a good chance to be certain I was going to actually be able to get OUT of the thing once it was sewn up.
  I stitched shut that portion of the seam and then put it back on.  Next I used my safety pins to “draw” a leghole, using my underwear as a general guide.  Obviously you want to start with more modest legholes and then cut more away if you want later.  Since I’m planning on wearing leggings over these (knee backs are another part of your body you want to protect) I didn’t get too finicky about it, just enough to make sure I was comfortable and not restricting my motion any.
  I rolled the leghole edges and stitched them down with a double needle and called it good.
  3 new, one-of-a-kind leotards for less than a cup of fancy coffee.  Not bad huh?


  1. Thanks for the post. Really like the easy way you described making a leotard. I also love shopping at thrift shops – you never know what you might find. Take care and keep posting! Ciao now.

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