A Treatment for Leotard Seam Disease

Side Seam Hole

Drat! It's wearing thin and it's getting holes! But it's not even that old!

Your leotard getting that tell-tale mark of age: the side seam hole.  You know the one.  It starts either at or just below where the shelf bra attaches, and if left untreated will progress several inches lower until the whole side rips open.  The worst part is, you often don’t notice them until right before something important, like a show, when there’s no time to get a new leotard.   Here’s how I stabilize them.

Scrap Fabric

Cut out a section of a discarded leotard to use as a patch.

1.  Cannibalize a leotard that has succumb to the side seam disease.  Cut out a section far from the side seam in a section that is in good condition.  I’ve also used bias tape.  Match your patch color to your leotard or the color will show through the holes and thin spots.


A patch with rounded corners

2.  Cut the patch larger than the affected area of the leotard you are trying to save.  Round the corners so they don’t curl up and peel off.

Heat and Bond with the Patch

Heat and Bond cut to the size of the patch

3.  Cut fusible webbing or heat and bond strips to the size of your patch.  This is important.  We’re not sewing this on.  When the glue melts into the fabric, it will stabilize it and keep the holes from getting worse.  Sewing is what caused the hole in the first place.  We don’t need more of it.

Cover those weak spots.

4.   Transfer the fusing material to the leotard, making sure to cover up all the weak spots.

Make a stack with the leotard, then the fusing, then the patch, and then iron.

5.  Put the patch on top of the fusing material and iron according the the instructions that come with the fusing you’ve picked.

6.  Wash it like you normally would, but make sure it stays out of the dryer or the patch will peel off.  You don’t dry your leotards anyway.

This is a treatment that will only delay the inevitable; it’s not a long term fix.  I’m sorry friends, once you see the signs of wear, it’s going to end soon.  It’s kind of like when you see your fish start to swim sideways.  You’re in denial for a while and think it’s going to get better, but it never does.  But the good news is that you can at least keep your leotard a little while longer, unlike the fish.

Do you have a better way to fix side seam holes?  I’d really like to hear more ideas.

About micheletobias

I lead two lives - one as an artist and the other as a scientist. More and more I'm finding my two worlds colliding, and it's not the disaster you might expect. View all posts by micheletobias

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