In this article, I will tell and show you step by step how I created a spectacular red and white leotard for an aerial gymnast, which will look beautiful under the circus dome. And also you will find out what materials and rhinestones I used when sewing. The artist works in tandem with her partner, for whom we also sewed a suit in the same style and I will write a description of his tailoring a little later.
- Required materials
- Create a sketch
- Cutting and preparing the swimsuit for the first fitting
- Decorating a swimsuit with an appliqué
- Drawing the ornament
- Assembling the swimsuit
- Carved skirt
- Decorating a swimsuit with rhinestones
- supplex beige
- Supplex red
- Supplex white
- Mesh large white
- Glue web
- Paints for fabric “Decola”
- Indian glue for rhinestones “Fevicryl”
- Sew-on rhinestones Rivoli col. crystal 10 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. crystal 28 x 17 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. siam 28 x 17 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. Lt. siam AB 28 x 17 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. Lt. siam AB 18 x 11 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. siam 18 x 11 mm
- Sew-on Rhinestones Drop col. crystal 18 x 11 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Navette col. crystal 18 x 9 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Navette col. siam 18 x 9 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Cosmic col. siam AB 21 x 16 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Cosmic col. siam 21 x 16 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Quadra col. crystal 16mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Quadra col. siam 20 x 20 mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Octagon col. crystal
- Sew-on Rhinestones Rectangle col. crystal 22mm
- Sew-on rhinestones Triangle col. siam 18mm *Hot fix adhesive rhinestones col. crystal 20ss *Hot fix adhesive rhinestones col. crystal 16ss *Hot fix adhesive rhinestones col. siam 20ss *Hot fix adhesive rhinestones col. siam 16ss
I always draw several foreskets (sketch) in different directions and send them to the client for him to choose one option.
And then I draw the final sketch in color. Not all customers know exactly what color they want the suit. And because I was sketching in Procreate on the iPad Pro, I could easily change the color of the suit without redrawing the sketch in just a few minutes, making it a lot easier and time saving. And so the customer can see one costume sketch in several colors. The customers and I decided to sew suits in red and white. The red color suits the staging and music of the artists’ performance, and these colors also look good in air circus numbers.
Cutting and preparing the swimsuit for the first fitting
For the first fitting, I prepared the base of the beige supplex leotard, partially inserted a large white mesh and temporarily swept in a hidden zipper.
Swimsuit decoration with appliqué
After trying on, I again dismantled the swimsuit and began to draw the ornament that I will have on the swimsuit. I drew a geometric ornament on tracing paper for one sleeve, front and back. Then I glued the tracing paper with adhesive tape for strength and then cut out an ornament from thermobiflex (how to make thermobiflex, see HERE.
After that, I glued the ornament on the detail of the front, back and one sleeve, and then stitched them with a zigzag stitch.
> Important! Those who are sewing a leotard for the first time, keep in mind that all applications and ornaments on gymnastic leotards are stitched with a zigzag stitch. I recommend using “super-stretch” needles for better stitch quality, and if you use universal needles for sewing a supplex leotard, the machine stitch will be of poor quality and with gaps.
Sketching the ornament
In order to make the ornament not look flat, I painted shadows on the ornament with black “Decola” fabric paint. With shadows, the ornament looks more voluminous. After applying the paint, left to dry for 24 hours. You can dry it with a hair dryer for quick drying, but to fix the paints with an iron, you should wait 24 hours. Fix with an iron without steam for 5-10 minutes. Follow the instructions on the tube of paint.
Before connecting the parts of the swimsuit, I sewed a hidden zipper, having previously connected the bottom of the two back parts of the swimsuit.
I overlocked the shoulder seams, side seams, middle panty seam and sleeves side seams. After that, I sewed the sleeves into the armhole of the swimsuit.
Then I processed the neckline with the option that I use in cases of sewing a supplex leotard, but because of the large mesh, I did not like this option in the end. It became obvious that after long-term operation, the mesh in the neck part will quickly wear out. Therefore, I decided to process the neckline with a supplex strip, this option looks rougher up close, but it is stronger and can withstand more loads, which is important for circus performers.
Then I processed the sections of the panties of the swimsuit with an elastic band. To do this, I measured the length of the cut of the swimsuit panties and cut off the elastic (3/4 of this length). I connected the elastic into a ring, then swept the elastic to the cut of the panties, and then fixed it on the sewing machine with a zigzag seam.
I cut out the skirt from two layers of supplex glued together with a glue cobweb. If made from one layer of supplex, then the skirt will twist into a tube.
As well as on the ornament of the leotard, on the carved skirt I drew shadows with black paint.
In the sketch, I have a white ornament under the red ornament of the skirt, but I decided not to make it under the red because because of the white color, the red ornament became invisible. I tried to pin a white ornament on a swimsuit in different ways, photographed the options and sent the photo to the customer for consideration, and she was already deciding which option to leave. We decided to abandon the white ornament altogether, but in the end we returned it during the fitting, only the white ornament was placed on the opposite side of the swimsuit from the red skirt.
Even in the process of working on the swimsuit, I decided to repeat the carved detail of the skirt in the neck area, so the red carved part of the swimsuit looks more complete.
Decorating a swimsuit with rhinestones
The artist immediately at the first discussion of the costume said that she did not want glue rhinestones, but only sew-on ones, because glue rhinestones come off during work. And I understand the customer in this, since the suit of circus gymnasts is subjected to strong mechanical stress, friction and stress - therefore the suit wears out very quickly. On it I will have small glue rhinestones, but the center of the composition will be just large sewn-on rhinestones in large quantities.
I laid out large rhinestones on the swimsuit and for convenience, so that my rhinestone pattern would not crumble, I first glued the rhinestones with Indian Fevicryl glue and left it to dry for a day, and then sewed them to the swimsuit. Sewing rhinestones on costumes for aerial gymnasts must be very tight.
We still added glue rhinestones so that the rhinestone pattern looked harmonious, and the transition from large rhinestones to smaller ones was smooth.
To complete the image of the artist, we made a headdress. How to make a headdress, see HERE.
Now the swimsuit is ready.
As you can see, in the process of work, I slightly changed the design of the swimsuit. What looks good on flat paper doesn’t always look good on paper. In addition, even if it looks good in reality, often in the process you can find a more spectacular version that will look even more beautiful on the arena or on stage. And sometimes something drawn on paper in reality can interfere with the work of the artist, so there is nothing wrong with small, or maybe not small changes in the details of the costume in the process of working on it, of course, only with the approval of the customer.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope it will help you create your own dream costume. Try not to copy other people’s work, but create your own masterpieces that will emphasize your figure and your number. And also which will distinguish your number from thousands of other numbers 😀✌🏽