Handmade Ballet Leotard with Short Sleeves

by | Sep 20, 2017 | Clothing, Girls | 0 comments

Nut #2 is a pretty stereotypical girl.  She likes dresses, princesses, fairies, baking…and dancing.  So we signed her up for dance classes.  And, as children do, she outgrew her ballet leotard and needed a new one.  I looked around pricing out options and decided to just make a bleed leotard for her.  The cost of the pattern and fabric is almost the same or less than buying a new ballet leotard.  Except now I can make the ballet leotard to fit her just right and use the pattern for years to come!Ballet Leotard

Now that she’s 8, she’s old enough to take a ballet only dance class instead of a ballet/tap combo class. I. Am. Stoked.  Because dancing is one of my all time loves.  Fun Fact: my husband and I met, dated, got engaged, and married while dancing on a folk dance team in college.  So I am so excited for my daughter to learn good basic ballet technique in a class that requires solid leotards, pink tights, and hair pulled back in buns.

Ballet LeotardPattern

I splurged and bought the Jalie 3349 Ballet Leotard pattern.  Jalie patterns are not cheap and never go on sale.  Possibly because the patterns have the most epic size range imaginable.  I’ll never need another ballet leotard pattern again because it goes from little girls all the way through women.  However I did buy two other patterns so I could get the standard 20% discount when buying 3 patterns.  And after sewing up this pattern I can’t wait to try the other two I bought.  I won’t tell you which, I’ll let that be a surprise.

Ballet LeotardThe sleeves for this pattern are cut on the fold.  However, the sleeve cap was larger than the armscye and they seem to fit well. I chose to make the short sleeve version but the pattern includes long sleeves as well.

This version is as classic ballet leotard as you can get.  Low cut legs and a deep scoop back.  The crotch is lined and the front bodice has a partial lining as well.  The pattern includes a twist front option without any changes to the legs or back.

The Jalie ballet leotard pattern sewed up beautifully!  The instructions are sparse but complete.  I had to double check myself a couple times but put the pattern together correctly without any construction mistakes.  I’m sure my experience sewing up swimming suits this summer helped.  Many of the techniques were the same.  However sparse Jalie’s instructions were, I’ll take this pattern over the McCall’s pattern I used for the swim suits any day.


The fabric is black 12 oz. Cotton Lycra that I bought from Nick of Time Textiles.  It is thicker than most Cotton Lycra and is 92% cotton and 8% spandex.  I am not worried about the fabric being opaque, but went ahead and put the partial front lining in anyways per the instructions.  When I make it again I probably won’t do the lining until she’s old enough to need some support from a shelf bra.

Ballet LeotardFit

The fit on this ballet leotard is perfect.  I sewed up a size K because it matched Nut#1’s height even though the size was a little big in the bust/chest and hips.  I was pretty sure it would work fine because the fabric had excellent recovery from the extra spandex.  It could even be slightly compressing.  It’s good stuff.

I couldn’t be happier with this ballet leotard and am thinking I might use it for swimming suits next summer too because I love the ballet cut legs!  Such good coverage!  Two Thumbs up!!


  • Pattern: 3349 Ballet Leotard
  • Designer: Jalie
  • Style: Classic Ballet cut leotard with Twist front option
  • Fabric: I used 92% cotton 8% Lycra
  • Size Range: F-AA wich translates to approximately Girls size 2-Womens size 14
  • Size made: K or girls size 7
  • Lengths: 1
  • Sleeve lengths: 2-short and long
  • Sleeves cut on Fold: yes
  • Alterations/Hacks: Nope-I made it according to instructions
  • Clear Instructions: Clear and complete but brief.  They are not geared to a beginner seamstress.
  • Seam Allowance: 1/4″
  • Layers: yes
  • Trimless: No-I prefer to trim pages because I feel like I can line them up more accurately
  • Dislikes or desired changes? None!  It came out exactly the way I wanted and fits my daughter perfectly!
  • Sew again?  Absolutely.  I’ll be using this to make her ballet leotards from now until she decides she doesn’t want to dance anymore.
  • Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely.  No Hesitation whatsoever.