This comes from american apparel and cost about £20 I think. I could have got it for much cheaper if I had gone for a white leotard, but initially I didn’t plan on covering the leotard, but was going to use it straight off.
However… when I got it, I decided that the material really was a little too thin to have just that supporting the dress, plus it had quite shiny elastic as its trim.
Luckily I had some matt nude lycra lying around the house (I think it might have been picked up from the bargain bin in FabricLand). So I decided that I would cover the leotard in the nude lycra to give it a better finish and a little more body to the fabric.
My second bit of luck was our acquisition of my mum’s dressform that I could use for draping. I do not even have a clue how I would have managed without it…
So here is the leotard on the dressform by itself, not too bad, but definitely a little on the thin side.
I started playing around a little with some draping, trying to work out how to cover the halterneck and body but also leaving enough material to create a skirt section (so that I wouldn’t have to have a seam to connect a skirt to the bottom of the leotard.
This is mid-way through some experimentation, shaping the fabric to half to the halterneck. I actually didn’t complete it like this though, as I didn’t want vertical seams all over the dress. I wanted 1 seam, in the back of the dress, but nothing on the front.
Once I had played around a little, I cut a slit in the middle fabric, to make a part for the left and right sides of the neck and started pinning and shaping the lycra over the leotard…
Now it may look a little wrinkled and messy here, but thankfully it actually looks quite decent in person. Once the material was all pinned I tack stitched it all the way round.
Once I was happy with the positioning of all the fabric I stitched around all the edges with my double needle which (I think) gives it a very professional looking edge to the leotard.
At the back of the leotard where the draped fabric came together I stitched down the back to complete the skirt, this was a little difficult as the fabric was quite tight, but I managed it successfully and the fringing should shape out the skirt correctly.
Unfortunately I don’t have a photo from the early stages, so this image shows some of the fringing as well…
I also decided to change the crotch of the leotard to have a popper opening. For this I cut the base of the leotard and stitched soft elastic across the raw edges, this prevents the lycra from being distorted. Then 3 sets of poppers were attached. It is important to make sure they are correctly positioned. If I do this again I will try to by poppers which are attached to binding strips as it makes them much easier to sew on in the correct positions relative to each other.