How to make leotards from a shirt

Updated April 17, 2017

Leotards for dance, gymnastics and various other sports can be expensive, often because they can be only bought in speciality and athletic stores. As frustrating as this might be, a leotard is essential for many activities. One way to beat the system and get an inexpensive leotard is to make one at home. Most people have some old T-shirts around the house that aren't being used. With basic sewing skills and a few common sewing supplies, these old shirts can be turned into custom leotards.

Lay on a table a T-shirt that is big enough to reach from your shoulders to your mid-thighs.

Lay a tank top directly on top of it, lining the straps up with the shoulders of the T-shirt.

Lay a pair of underwear on the T-shirt directly below the tank top.

Cut around the outline of the tank top and underwear, adding 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowances. Cut through both layers of the T-shirt material so that you have two identical pieces of fabric when your are finished.

Lay the two pieces of fabric directly on top of each other, right sides together.

Sew the pieces together up the sides, along the crotch area and at the top of the straps, leaving the arm holes, collar and leg holes open.

Fold the collar, arm holes and leg holes under about 1/2 inch. Hem them by sewing over the folded edge, tucking the raw edge of the fabric under as you go.


To make a leotard with sleeves, replace the tank top with a tight-fitting T-shirt.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt
  • Tank top
  • Underwear
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
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About the Author

Courtney Clark studied English, creative writing, film and history at Southern Virginia University from 2005 through 2008, earning a Bachelor of Arts. During her time at SVU, Clark participated in the English Honors Society and the university's film club.