There is something to be said about quality fabric. I made two little gym leotards not too long ago. They are already in a very sorry state. I probably should have been handwashing them, but I’ll freely admit that I’m not a handwashing type of person.
I spent the entire duration of my teenage years training 5hrs a day in heavily chlorinated swimming pools, so I think I have a discerning eye for good swimsuit lycra. Bathers never used to last long in my swimmer’s world. The elastic deteriorated within the fabric itself, the colours faded and the swimmers stretched out, turning see-through, until I had to wear two pairs together. It isn’t just chlorine that kills the fabric. UV light and sweat also contribute.
I’ve been so impressed with the swimsuit fabric I’ve purchased from both Tessuti Fabrics and the Fabric Store in Sydney. I’ve made several pairs of small people bathers (here, here and here) in the last few years. The oldest pair is faded and a little abraded on the bottom, but there is still no sign of the fabric deteriorating.
The same can’t be said for the metallic spandex I used for my big girls’ gym leotards (here and here). They’ve only been worn for a few months and the metallic coating has nearly all been washed off, somewhat unevenly. The actual fabric has also stretched out and lost a bit of it’s recovery in places. But those side panels of swimsuit lycra are still in perfect condition. I wonder if metallic coated fabrics are a just a little less hardy than what I’m used to.
This time round, I made the main body of both leotards up in swimsuit fabric and just used the metallic spandex for contrast on one arm. What can I say? I don’t like to throw away stash and my girls like shiny things. If one arm loses a bit of it’s sparkle, it won’t affect the rest of the suit.
The pattern I used was Jalie 3136. Miss Four’s suit was made up in rainbow
fish scale mermaid lycra (new stock from Tessuti), cut to a size 5. I added 1.5cm to the torso length for her because she is a very long mermaid and I wasn’t quite sure about Jalie’s length sizing. As it turned out, I probably could have skipped this modification.
I’m going to call these leotards a win. Miss Four loves them and I can’t help but smile when I see those fabulous rainbow fish scales. The great thing about sewing little leotards is that they use up such a tiny amount of fabric. I still have enough leftover for Mummy gear next summer.
Miss Six’s leotards turned out just as well. I made absolutely no modifications to her version.