DIY Girl’s Leotard

Make your little girl her own unique leotard, and save a ton of money while you’re at it, with this free pattern & tutorial!


I’m so excited about today’s DIY because it’s so cute, fun and functional!  My girls LOVE leotards, whether they’re jumping on the trampoline, doing gymnastics & dance classes or just dressing up.  The only problem is, if you want anything other than plain black, they’re ridiculously expensive!

After making swimsuits for the girls last year, I decided it couldn’t be all that hard to make my own leotards.  And turns out, it isn’t!  Really!  The best part is that you can give your little girl as much coverage as you’d like.
Read on for the full tutorial and free pattern!

NOTE: the pattern fits about a size 6, but scaling it up or down is not too difficult.  It’s designed for a little girl with a crotch-shoulder measurement of about 36″ (loop a measuring tape from one shoulder, down your model’s front, between her legs and up the back to the same shoulder).  You’ll just need to add or subtract inches from the center of the leotard in order to go up or down a few sizes.

If going up or down more than 2 sizes, you’ll also need to add/subtract a bit of length in the shoulder straps.  Performance fabric is super stretchy though, so it’s very forgiving!  You might try laying a swimsuit that fits your little girl on top of the pattern and seeing where you need to make adjustments.

You’ll need:

*Printed copy of the free pattern (download here – make sure your printer’s set to “do not scale” or “print at 100%” before printing! Overlap short edge of each page with the next without trimming & tape together)
*1/2 – 1 yard of performance lycra or spandex blend (i.e. swimsuit fabric) My favorite source for cute prints is The Fabric Fairy!
*1.5 – 2 yards clear elastic (like this kind)
*coordinating thread

STEP 1: Cut out the paper pattern and decide whether you want to do any color blocking or stripes.  For Kira’s leotard here, I  decided I wanted two diagonal stripes (black and pink) running across the front.  I drew the stripes where I wanted them on the pattern, then cut out a center panel of the pattern piece.

I cut out the top and bottom of the leotard front out of the floral fabric, and then used the center strips I cut out from the pattern to cut black and pink strips.  NOTE: you’ll always need to add a seam allowance (I used 1 cm) where you’ll be sewing these pieces together.  For example, I added an extra 1 cm to the top and bottom of both the pink and black stripes before cutting and sewing them to each other and then to the top and bottom floral pieces.

Also cut 1 leotard back and 1 gusset out of matching or coordinating fabric.

STEP 2: Sew front and back pieces, right sides together, along the shoulders and side seams, leaving the crotch unsewn for now.

STEP 3:  Sew gusset to inside front of leotard (wrong sides together), matching up one short end of gusset with raw edge of leotard front.  Sew along this short edge and both sides of gusset (leaving the other short end loose).  Then match up the leotard back and front crotch and sew, right sides together.

STEP 4: Here comes the only tricky part! Measure your model around her shoulders and upper thigh, where you want the edge of the leotard to sit.  Keep the measuring tape taut, but not too tight.  Then cut a piece of elastic about 2 cm SHORTER than this measurement, for all 4 openings (2 arms and 2 legs).  Do the same for the neckline, for a total of 5 pieces of elastic. Be sure to not mix them up!

STEP 5: Stitch the elastic to the edge of each opening using a zig zag stitch, stretching slightly as you go so that the elastic fits the opening.  I overlap it a teensy bit where the elastic edges meet.  (This is a good time to try leotard on your model and adjust opening if necessary!)
Then fold the raw edge under to hide the elastic and topstitch close to the fold, again using a zig zag stitch.  Repeat for all openings.

**If you have trouble getting any of the openings to fit correctly, you can also try basting the elastic in place and then trying it on your little one.  After you do it a couple times you’ll get the hang of it!

Voila!  Aren’t you so proud of your mad skills??  Now go whip up 3 more and make all the little girls in your life squeal with joy! (and save yourselve oodles of dough.)

DIY Girl’s Leotard

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Stashbuilder Box: Pinafore pattern hack

Jump on the pinafore-style dress bandwagon with this easy pattern hack!

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Have you guys heard about Stash Builder Box yet?  It’s this amazing little monthly box full of adorable fabrics, cute sewing accessories and an on-trend quilt pattern.  The company that sells them then takes 20% from each purchase and uses the funds to create quilts to donate to all kinds of people in need!  Sewing for a cause?  Heck yeah!

I about died when I saw the fabrics I received in my October mega box (1 yard of each of 3 super cute prints).  They’re from Maureen Cracknell’s Nightfall collection and the entire lookbook makes me drool.  I think I’m gonna copy that quilt on the cover because it is beyond gorgeous.

I knew I wanted to make a dress for Mimi out of the fabrics and finally settled on this pinafore style.  It’s the CUTEST little summer dress, and perfect over a long sleeve top for winter!  I’ve been meaning to figure out a pinafore hack from my Infinite A-line Dress pattern so read on for the full tutorial.

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Patriotic Tripoli Trousers (New Pattern!)

These wide leg, sailor style pants are a cinch to whip up and flattering for just about every body!

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Hey all!  I’m finally releasing my first women’s pattern to the public today! The Tripoli Trousers had previously only been available through the Sew What Club but today you can get your own copy!  Hurray!

I seriously love these pants sooooo much.  They are figure-hugging but flattering and best of all, they are seriously a breeze to make.  If you’ve never sewn pants before, don’t be afraid!  The trick is to make a muslin beforehand…if you can sew a facing and install buttonholes, you can make these!

I kept dreaming about a red pair after making my denim ones so when I found this lightweight stretch denim at Joann’s, it was like a match made in heaven.  Enjoy these billions of pictures of my butt, and get your copy of the pattern HERE!  It’ll be on sale for just $8 through Sunday night!

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All the sizing charts, materials list and other details are over on my craftsy page.  I hope you love this pattern as much as I do!

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Infinite A-line Hack: Ruffled Top

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Is everyone ready for another Infinite A-line pattern hack?  I really do use this pattern as a base for any and all woven tops and dresses for my girls.  It makes things so easy!

This little ruffled number came about after I goofed up a romper I was working on, but I think I like how this turned out even better.

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First, I cut out the ruffled bodice (View D), sleeve ruffles and bodice lining.  I went with size 12 mo and even though this one fits pretty well, next time I’ll go up to 18 mo so that it’s a little easier to get on.

I sewed the bodice all together, following the instructions for View D through step 14 on page 14 (ending with the bodice roll technique).  I also added the keyhole opening as instructed on page 16.  Then I basted the raw edges of the bodice hem together and set it aside.

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Next, I measured the circumference of the bodice opening (mine was about 22″). For the waistband, I cut out a strip of contrasting fabric measuring the number I just measured (22″ for me) + 3/4″ for seam allowances x about 3″ wide.  So mine was 3″ x about 23″.  I stitched the short ends of the band together to create a big loop, pressed and finished the seam allowance, then stitched it to the bottom of the bodice, all the way around.

I finished up by creating the ruffle.  My ruffle piece was 4.5″ wide x about 50″ long.  If you cut your ruffle about double the length of your waistband, then that’ll give you a nice gather.  I sewed the short ends together again to form a loop, and then hemmed one long end.

The fabric I used was a slippery rayon, so I folded the raw edge under 1/8″ and stitched it down.  Then I folded it under another 1/8″ and stitched it down again.  This keeps unwieldy fabrics in place better than just pressing a double hem and trying to stitch it all in one go.

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Lastly, I gathered the top raw edge of the ruffle until it fit the circumference of the waistband, pinned it in place and basted it to the band.  Once I made sure all the gathers looked nice, I stitched the two together and serged the raw edges and one billion random threads coming out everywhere.  (WORST part of gathering, amiright?)

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And that’s it!  A super quick and simple hack.  Did I mention Mimi loves it?  She kept playing with the ruffle all day!  And her chubby little unsteady walk gives me all the heart eyes.  New walkers are the cutest when they’re off exploring their little world!

If you still don’t have a copy of the Infinite A-line Pattern, you can get it HERE. And if you want to see all the hacks I’ve created with it so far, click HERE!

(This floral fabric I bought from Indiesew ages ago, as well as the flowy coral from Joann Fabrics.  Making headway on that stash!)

 

Girls’ Summer Sewing: Skorts Edition!

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I’m contributing over on the Project Run and Play blog today, talking all about skorts!  Head on over to the post HERE for more pics and some breezy summer sewing inspiration!

 

The Alcoy Dress – Free Pattern!

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Hey all!  I’ve got a brand spanking new pattern for you all today!  Woo-hoo!

It’s called The Alcoy Dress and it’s a fitted knit dress with raglan style sleeves.  I’ve made about 5 so far and I’m hooked!  It’s flattering, comfortable and…best of all, takes less than 2 hours to whip up!

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You can make it in a pretty textured ponte like this white one, or in a more casual jersey with contrast sleeves like the Aztec print dress below.

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Wanna hear the best part??  The Alcoy Dress is free!!  I wanted to create something of real value for my email subscribers since my readers are the reason I’m doing this!  So I created this pattern, with all the details and features of my regular paid patterns but without the price tag.

The link to download the pattern will automatically be sent out to you once you subscribe to the Whisk ‘Em blog (that means you’ll get one weekly email telling you what you missed on the blog – that’s it!).

Just enter your email address in the Subscribe box on the right side of this website (right under the picture of the Alcoy dress!).  And then watch your inbox for the pattern.

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Once you get your copy of the pattern and sew it up, be sure to share it on social media using the hashtags #WhiskemPatterns and #AlcoyDress.  Feel free to send your friends over here to the blog to subscribe and get their free pattern too!  Just please don’t share the link to the pattern itself.

Thank for you being here and I can’t wait to see your Alcoy Dresses!

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Easter & Pattern Updates!

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I apologize ahead of time for the ridiculous onslaught of pictures in this post.  Prepare to be bombarded.

Here are all our Easter pics plus more shots of and details about the updated Infinite A-line Dress Pattern!  Check them out!  (Click Read More)

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Tripoli Trousers Pattern for the Sew What Club

 

Today’s the day!  I’m excited to announce that my first women’s pattern is being released through the Sew What Club.  This unique club is a monthly PDF pattern subscription; you sign up to receive either women’s or kids’ patterns and then get 1-2 brand spanking new designs every month.

Introducing…the Tripoli Trousers!

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The Sew What Club is the brainchild of Kelly (from Sewing in No Man’s Land) and I’m so thankful she let me be one of her featured designers.  Not only is Kelly beautiful and ridiculously talented, she’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever (virtually) met.  Check out all the club’s current patterns here.

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Good news, ladies: flare leg pants are back!  Consistent with this whole ’70’s fashion revival thing we’re seeing, wide hems are all over the place and I couldn’t be happier.  After years of hating my skinny jeans, my poor tortured husband has a reason to look at my bottom half again.

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Inserting a Zipper in the Infinite A-line Dress

Hate buttonholes?  Try installing a zipper in the Infinite A-line dress instead!

Insert zipper Infinite A-line

 

Let’s face it: even veteran sewists find themselves with tasks they dread and buttonholes are often at the top of the list!  I’m much happier now that I have a machine that does automatic buttonholes, but no machine is perfect and I still find myself crossing my fingers before making them. 🙂

When I made Kira’s Dia de los Muertos dress, I knew we needed to try inserting a zipper into the Infinite A-line bodice.  If you’ve never added a zipper to a fully lined bodice, you’re in for a treat!  The finished product is so nice and pretty that you’ll wanna give yourself a pat on the back…and brag to anyone who will listen!

It’s really not as difficult as it looks and takes WAY less time than hand sewing a whole bunch of buttons and swearing your way through buttonholes.  Ready?!

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Dia de los Muertos Dress

 

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So, you might not know this but I’m basically Mexican.  No, it’s not simply because of my love of tacos, enchiladas and the cha-cha (although these things are all extremely important to me).  I actually lived in Mexico on two separate occasions, for a total of about 5 years.  The first time I was just a little kid, dressed up in my Catholic school uniform, rolling my R’s and telling my mother to please not embarrass me by speaking Spanish in front of my friends since she sounded like a “gringa”.

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