Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sewing Stretch

Making leotards is a staple sewing activity for me. My Leotots ETSY shop was created for loetards. I started sewing simple sleeveless tank leotards out of necessity because sleeveless garments are easy when learning how to sew on a stretch fabric.

Sewing stretch fabric is an art in itself. A dance emerges in the sewing process that begins with placing the fabric on the overlock, continues through guiding the fabric through the knives and doesn't end until the finished edges are bound with the encased elastic. At every point, the seamstress has to anticipate the give, pull and tug of the machine and the fabric. Both machine and fabric move and react independently while sewing.

I discovered jersey leotards one day while I had a partially sewn tank leotard sitting next to a pattern of a jersey sweatshirt dress pattern. I walked into the sewing room, glanced over at what was sitting on the machine cover and bipity boppety boo...I thought "why don't I put the neck line on that dress into that leotard." So, I took my leotard pattern and laid it over the jersey dress pattern and made my own jersey leotard. This combination of styles is what gave my leotard sleeves.
For two years, I stayed with the jersey sleeve style. One reason I stayed on jersey leotards was to avoid any new experience. Sewing stretch is hard enough. I wanted to master the straight stitch and test the stress points on this style leotard.

Next, I wanted to develop some jersey styles in my shop. I quickly got fast at producing the jersey leo and started adding different combinations of fabrics, trimming the edges of my garments, and finally varying the sleeve styles I offered. I developed a nice varied catalog of leotards.

Finally, what I ended up with was a gymnastics leotard shop that wasn't touching on the feminine beauty I find in dance classes. While it is easy to do what I know best, it isn't that much fun staying in the same place with something I do as often as making a leotard.
This year, I am moving myself into the typical round sleeve. The round sleeve is not taking me any more time than the jersey sleeve. The product is that I'm getting a more dance style leotard added to my repertoire and developing a more well rounded catalog of leotards in my etsy shop.

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