November 19, 2013

Leotard with sleeves for American Girl Doll

See my other free Gymnastic tutorials

What you need

  • 4-way stretch fabric (dance fabric) in black and accent colors
  • 5/8" FOE (foldover elastic) 1yrd
  • 1/4" elastic 4" (for scrunchy) optional
  • parchment paper (for design)
  • needle and contrasting thread
  • "Beads in a bottle" from Tulip (optional, for decoration)

How to make the leotard

1. Download pattern here

    For home use only, this is copyrighted by me, Read Creations !!!!!
    Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

2. Turn front and back pattern over and draw your design on back
    Notice how I increased the neck size from the pattern. The pattern gives you the neck outline
    and a minimum suggested size.
    It is your responsibility to make your neck opening at least as big as indicated in the pattern.
    The bigger the opening, the easier it is to put the leotard on the doll.

3. Take parchment and trace your design, and cut out.
    Make sure you have the back side matching up with the front.

4. Cut out design from stretch fabric.
    Make sure your design template is on the fabric, the way it stretches.

5. Baste (hand-stitch) design onto front and back of leotard.

6. Applique with zigzag stitch (I used 1.8 for length and 3.5 for width).
    Stitch the outside stitch part just outside the design along the border.

7. Sew one shoulder together (right sides together)

8. Sew FOE around neck opening

9. Sew other shoulder together (right sides together)

10. Sew arm sleeves on

11. Sew a 1/4" hem (fold up 1/4") on sleeve bottom on each sleeve

12. Fold leotard right sides together and sew sleeve and leotard side together.
      Repeat on other side.

13. Sew FOE around leg openings

14. Sew between legs together.

15. I used "Beads in a bottle" from Tulip, to create the beads.

You are done !!!

How to make a scrunchy

1. Cut a rectangle 1 1/2" x 8"

2. Fold lengthwise, right sides together.

3. Sew along long side, leave 1" on either end.

4. Turn right side out.

5. Sew short ends together (right sides together)

6. Thread elastic through and sew elastic together

7. Sew opening shut

You are done !!!!


  1. Wow! This is amazing! I love all of your tutorials!

  2. Thank you. This one really did turn out well. I am very pleased with it myself ;-)

  3. Totally awesome!! Where do you get your ideas?!?!? ;)

    1. This leotard is a copy of my daughter's (just the colors are different, couldn't find her colors).
      My ideas come from real life (our life). I have so many more ideas but not ENOUGH time !!!! :-(

  4. Thanks so much for this pattern!!! I looked all over, but it was really hard to find a pattern I liked that was free. It is really pretty!

  5. Replies
    1. you could, by adding a 1/4" additional seam allowance and using some 1/4" elastic and folding the additional seam allowance over the elastic to encase it, just like you see in bathing suits.

  6. This was amazing! I made a leotard and three swimsuits with it. Thanks for the pattern!

  7. Hi, this tutorial is great! I want to make this with a casing and elastic. How long should I cut the pieces for the leg openings?

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  10. I didn't have any FOE so I tried making this by adding a seam allowance to the neck and legs and just folding over and sewing. It didn't work :( Although I used a stretch stitch and performance fabric, the fabric doesn't stretch enough to fit over her head. The FOE must allow it to stretch more. Adding velcro or making the back of the neck hole much bigger might fix this. I never got as far as hemming the leg holes but I imagine it could have the same problem.

    The other problem I had was the sleeves. When I basted them in the sleeve was about a centimeter too wide for the armhole.

    I will try making this again once I get some matching FOE.

  11. Do you use a zig-zag stich for all seams and the foe? I can't tell by the pictures, maybe it's my screen. I think the foe is zig-zag but not sure about the shoulder and side seams. If it is zig-zag stitch what width and length do you recommend? Thank you

    1. I use zigzag for the FOE and a stretch stitch for the seams.

  12. Do you need to enlarge it or not????

    1. As long as you use 4-way stretch fabric, then no you don't need to enlarge it. Not for AG dolls anyway.

  13. Okay. Thanks sooo much, I just finished it with a little skirt. I don't play with dolls anymore but I like sewing things so, I'm in the middle of a ice skaters outfit! It's turning out really well thanks to your instructions!

  14. Did you use a sewing machine or could you sew this by hand?

  15. I used the zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine...that way the fabric still stretches. Over head, arms and legs and thread won't snap. Perhaps one could zig-zag hand stitch - but you might wont to try a sample first to see if it holds. Good luck.

  16. What length of elastic did you use for the scrunchie?

    1. 4", it's listed under the supply list in case you need to get more details

  17. Hi am FELICITY i love all your crafts i try to do your crafts evaluna its pretty happy she is my doll its an our generation can you do an skates for doll please thanks bye

    1. Hi 👋 I'm mary and I like to sew for my doll too:)

  18. I plan on using this pattern to recreate an old dance outfit of mine. However I couldn’t find the color in the stretch fabric. Is there a way to use regular satin for the outfit? So I adjust the pattern? I don’t play with them of course, but just want the outfits to put on them and display so they don’t need to be easy on and off or anything

    1. Using non-stretch fabric would not work with this pattern since it is designed to stretch the fabric. You would need to increase the size of the pattern and then you would not be able to get it on or off without using velcro or such in the back seam. Good luck.

  19. Hi! I'm an eleven year old girl, and just last year I started sewing for my doll.I got an 18" Newberry doll a few years ago, and I named her Tara. I don't have the right fabric to sew the skirt yet, but I will get it soon. When I do sew the skirt, I can post a picture of her on the ice, because I live close to a lake and it's almost frozen! :)