I have been sewing more dancewear lately for the girls and it's been so fun. I sewed two leotards for my youngest for gymnastics (I will show these soon) and then started some ballet leotards for the older girls. They wear uniforms for their classes, but for rehearsals and some modern classes they can wear whatever they want. This is terribly exciting for them. After sewing a few, I realized best way to make these is to use a purchased leotard that fits them as a base for a pattern, making sure the fabrics are similar so the stretch will be the same.
This one I sewed (shown in photo) is patterned from Delia's beloved Yumiko. I used swimsuit Lyrca, (matte-side out) bought from the Mill End Store here in Portland. The front is fully lined. I used 1/4" elastic encased in the contrasting binding on the neck and legs. (Delia preferred to not show her booty here, more power to her) The arms are just hemmed, no elastic. The binding is tricky to get right without a cover stitch machine. Close-up, it's not perfect, but when it's on her and you aren't 2 inches away, it's pretty dang good. The nice thing is the one she bought is slightly too big and is only half lined. Sewing this one slightly smaller and fully lined are nice improvements.
I was dreaming about sewing these and how to attach the contrasting binding and all that—I went kind of crazy about it for a few weeks, but I am able to talk and think about other things now. These are easy to make. In theory. There is a learning curve. There is some swearing, and a range of emotions felt, including sad and thrilling. A stretch needle is necessary (a serger is not, but helpful) and extra fabric is a very handy. They are inexpensive to make. I plan on 1/2 yard per leotard plus some lining, so these come in at under $12 each.