Update! Travel Planner Essentials & More

Hi everyone I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but as always, I’ve just been busy. I’m headed to Hawaii again and I’m hoping to do another “What’s in my travel planner bag” video. I did one before and that was just for shorter trips.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me embed this video, you can see it here though.

This is a different situation. I’m going to my house. So I have supplies there, as well as space to work. When you’re in a hotel you generally want to pack light. But when you know you’ll have space to work, it changes things a bit. Now granted we’re going out to pack up the place and turn it into a vacation rental. So I don’t want to pack too much stuff. In the past I’d have probably packed more cause if I didn’t want to bring something home to my mainland house, I’d just leave it. In theory I can still do that. But I don’t want strangers touching my stuff. Some of our neighbors have just installed a proper lock on the closet under the stairs. I may do that myself.

I may want to turn this into a series. I’ve seen some seriously great videos on this in the past. This one is my favorite.

Hopefully I can eventually create a system as great as this lady by popfizzpaper.

I stay with my BIL a lot and we have a bedroom there. I’m free to leave things and he’s encouraged me to do so. I really need to bring a coat and maybe a cardigan to leave there.  But beyond clothes I’d love a few crafty things. I want a few washi cards, some blank stickers, one of my favorite pens, and scissors for sure. My BIL somehow manages to exist without scissors. He does have one pair but they’re horrible and never in the same place twice. He’s a school teacher but has virtually nothing in the way of office supplies. So I really want to make a very small kit to leave there. I plan to use one of those Freckled Fawn poly zip bags. They’re the size of a 1 quart ziplock. So not super big, easy to store, yet still plenty of space to hold all of my essentials. I managed to carry a ton of stuff in a bag half the size, so I should have everything I need and more in a bag that size.

I’m happy to keep the original video up, just so people can see the evolution of my planning style. I love watching these videos but too often people show what they’re planning to bring and you never know what they actually used. I’m all about traveling light. So I want to be able to show what I actually used, and what I’ve phased out over time. I feel like that’s the information people really need.

I’m also hoping to do some journaling/scrapbooking. I bought a Zinnydori because I wanted something personal size, cute, and with plenty of pockets for decorating on the go. I also bought a Polaroid Zip pocket printer. I’ve been trying to use it but have so far been failing. I think the trick will be to actually carry it with me. When I went to Disney I carried just a passport sized notebook in my bag. I wrote the days schedule in it, then as I went about my day I added little things my son said, happy moments, sad/frustrating moments, stickers, etc. I really think doing this with my actual travel notebook and just carrying my printer with me will mean I get things recorded the way I want them and not result in just a pile of memorabilia that collects dust. I also think it’s kind of a cool way to engage my son while we’re waiting for food in restaurants, or taking a break someplace. Obviously I’m going to need to bring some washi, pens, stickers, tape runner, etc. with me. So I’ll be putting together a pocketbook sized stationary case. I may or may not get a video of that shot. But I’m hoping it happens.

On an unrelated note I bought another Elevé leotard. I decided to buy one of the Ready To Wear styles. I bought one in a limited edition fabric that’s exclusive to the RTW line. The particular style I bought is also limited to the RTW line. Naturally I’ve already contacted Elevé to ask a million questions. They know I’m writing another review and tried to answer to the best of their availability but it’s still a very new line so some things may change. I will share everything they told me though. As the RTW line ships right away it’ll be in Hawaii a day before I arrive! I decided to have it shipped there as I wanted to be sure I’d get it right away and I didn’t know if it’d get to me before I left. I’m so excited to get it! So like last year all my pictures will be in my crazy purple bathroom, lol. I’m not sure what other leo’s I’m going to bring. In addition to my review I may end up doing a post on what I pack when I’m going to go to class while traveling. How I care for my leo’s, how I pack them, shoes, and more.

So keep an eye out, more posts will “finally” be coming. I’m sorry I’ve been slacking so much. I’m just trying to do too much, too often and getting burnt out. I have a goals list that’s way too long. I really just need to pick one project per month. Otherwise nothing is going to get done. I have sewing projects (tulle skirts for my friend and I!), a dollhouse I’ve been building, a coat I want to sew, as well as some button downs. I really need those button downs before fall comes and our leaves have been changing for weeks now… As time allows I’ll be blogging about all of it. And as always, please feel free to comment and let me know if there’s any specific project you want to see covered here!

New Elevé Dancewear!

Hi all, this post was supposed to go up last week, but I’m pretending last week didn’t happen altogether, so there we are. I’m also still out of ballet and we’re going on six months now. I am considering going tomorrow but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. My husband’s been working a lot, I’ve been trying to see how long I can go between food shopping trips before we literally have no food in the house, it’s just been crazy. I’m also still in a lot of pain. So even though we need to do things like eat (I should really just sign up for Amazon Fresh at this rate) I’m basing my attendance off of my pain scale and how much I’m willing/able to just suck it up. Right now there’s like a 50% chance I’m going, which in all fairness is way better than the zero percent it was last week. I really just need more injections. Not just to be able to do ballet, but just to be able to live. IDK, I’m expecting my doctor to call me by Friday. If he doesn’t I’m going to call to make an appointment on Monday and I’ll leave a message for him then. I’m lucky, my doctor is awesome. I actually have his home number and he told me I can call him any time. But I hate being “that patient” so I leave him alone (except that one time but I meant to call the office).

So even though I may or may not be wearing these anytime soon, I wanted to share my new leotards. I bought them forever ago so I can’t remember how long production was, but I don’t think it went outside the normal quoted times. I did have contact with the company. I asked for the solid fabric on both my Anna, and my Tri leotards and Jessica their awesome customer service rep contacted me to be sure that’s what I really wanted. I told her I definitely wanted to do a solid back on the Anna, but that I had been waffling on the Tri when I placed the order. I told her to surprise me. They sent the mesh and I was right, I did love what they picked! So it was kind of a fun surprise. I know some of you might not want to play that game. But I’ve bought from them so many times I felt confident I’d love whatever was sent.

First up is the Anna. This one is a Large, no back hole, and a bust liner. The colors are Bluish Purple and Orange, both are matte.

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As you may have guessed, I had trouble getting the colors to photograph accurately. There will be a photo at the end that shows all three leotards with a more accurate representation of their colors. But this one is still a little off. The color is deep, but not anywhere near this intense/fluorescent. I would say it is more blue, calmer, and very pretty. It’s a great contrast to the orange which I really like. I had debated getting the trim in white, but with the intense colors of the rest of the leotard, I was worried it wouldn’t stay crisp. Any bleeding and the look is just ruined. Knowing how some of the more intense colors have bled on me, I didn’t want to take the risk. I actually have this in the washing machine right now, on the delicate cycle so I can’t say if these colors do bleed. Probably should have washed it by hand for reviewing purposes. But I just wanted it done and I tossed it in without thinking. I probably should take this opportunity to point out, none of my reviews are paid. If I were being paid I’d probably be a LOT more thorough and wouldn’t skip the little things. But I buy all of these with my own money and my reviews are 100% my own thoughts! So while I miss a bit here and there, you can rest assured I’ve not been swayed in any way.

The fit on this was standard and comparable to my other Anna’s. I love the fit of this one in particular. The length is good, it’s not too tight or too loose. It’s a fantastic style if you want or need to wear a bra. Especially if you get a solid back. No one will ever see it. Obviously you’ll get lines or indents where it is, but you won’t have straps or anything peeking out. So great for fuller busted women. The style never seems to ride up either. So all around, perfect for those who are looking for something simple, easy to move in, but also don’t want to flash a ton of skin. It’s still really cute so you won’t feel dowdy in it either. It really is the ideal blend of traditional ballet leotard functionality and modern styling.

The next up is the Laico With Sleeves. This one is size X-Large, has the full back, bust liner, and the “above elbow” length sleeves. The base is Velvet Roses, and the top is Black Mesh.

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Once again, the colors of this are off. The base is very much a true Navy. The color you’ll see in the last photos with all three is almost 100% spot on for color accuracy. The color looks so weirdly intense here but I liked that because the trade off is a very clear look at the flocked rose design. I have to say, comparing the flocking on this to something like my Wear Moi leotards, this is miles away better. It’s very well done, there doesn’t appear to be any shedding, and it’s very soft. It’s not at all stiff and crunchy like this stuff can sometimes feel. The fabric really flexes well and the designs don’t split apart. I have so many leotards that my Wear Moi ones aren’t worn enough to show serious wear. But just based off of my initial impressions of both, I feel like this fabric would hold up far better over the long term. No flocked design lasts forever though so I would generally recommend hand washing this one if it’s a real favorite to preserve it’s lifespan. I did buy this one in an X-Large. It’s a size that Elevé really only offers in this style. I do feel that this particular style runs smaller than some of the others. So if you generally buy a large, you may want to go with the size up in this one. If you’re unsure you can always contact the company and Jessica is fantastic. She’s always happy to help. You can send her your measurements and tell her what size you usually wear in their brand and others and she should be able to help guide you. If you do want a leotard with sleeves, and you don’t have those amazing, incredibly thin dancer arms, having the X-Large option. I have thinner arms. Especially for someone 31 with a kid, but they’re hardly twigs. You can see them in some of my other review posts. I have normal person arms. These sleeves are seriously my perfect fit. It’s also worth mentioning that I do have disproportionately long limbs (we make a lot of positive ape index jokes in my family as I’m not alone) yet these sleeves literally stop, right above that first bone in my elbow (not the part that sticks out, but if you feel on your arm, you’ll find it it’s like that first divot above the joint). I would so trust them to make me a long sleeved one. I’d probably contact them first to give my measurements to be sure. But I feel like they cut the sleeves long. Yay!

*You can see my review on the Wear Moi ones here, please excuse how heavy I look in those photos! I was on a med that made me gain a lot and I didn’t know how bad it was at the time, so that review is a little skewed on sizing as well.*

The last one up is the Tri. I bought the size Large, no sleeves, with the bust panel. The base is Dragon, and the top is Arabian Mesh. Sadly it would appear that Dragon has been discontinued, Maharaja would be the closest alternative. I actually debated between the two when picking a fabric for this one. Overall I’m happy with my choice though I may still add Maharaja to my collection (availability permitting) in the future.

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Before I say anything else, I want to take the opportunity to point something out here. The design is perfectly centered on this leotard, both front and back. Some people won’t notice things like this, or just expect it as a given. But I do notice these things. This is something that takes extra effort when cutting the pattern and it’s an added expense for the company. When you cut fabric with a pattern like this you’re wasting quite a bit. When working with a solid, or a busier pattern you can just cut with a focus to getting the most pattern pieces out of every yard. With fabric like this, you’ll ultimately throw yards and yards, from every bolt, away. They did not charge extra for this fabric even though some small Etsy businesses would probably (and fairly) add a surcharge.

That said, I love the feel of this fabric. It’s definitely different from all of my other ones. With patterned fabric you never really know what you’re getting. Some are shiny, others are matte, the stretch is often different than that of a similar fabric that’s solid. This one is incredibly soft and would go as far as to say this is not their standard milliskin but more of a microfiber. I haven’t contacted the company to ask, but it’s a very different feel. Despite that, it had decent stretch and wasn’t restricting. I do feel that this particular style is cut a smidge shorter than some of the others, so there is that. But it’s not restricting in any way. This feels on par with my other Tri styles. So it’s not the most comfortable, that probably rests with my Anna styles. But it’s not going to bother me during class. I do sometimes notice that I have red marks on my shoulders after wearing leotards in this style though. So something to keep in mind if you’re going to be in this all day, or if you have a long torso. I have an average length torso, my height is 100% in my limbs. I have my measurements listed on another Elevé review but I can’t remember which one. If you’re here just for these reviews (and I know some of you are) then you’ve probably already seen them. Keep those measurements in mind when considering what size to buy.

I wanted to include a photo or two of all three side by side, the colors in these photos are most accurate.

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I feel as though the first photo shows the Velvet Roses most accurately and the second photo better showcases the Bluish Purple. It is still a bit more blue than purple in real life, but this is much closer. If you’re looking at the Elevé website the swatch they show looks pretty much identical to this, but the real life color is not this purple. It’s just very difficult to capture in a photo.

I’m often asked questions about liners, how transparent different fabrics might be, and so forth. It seems like Elevé has settled on using a piece of the leotard fabric to do their bust liners. I support this. They did use a plain piece of white spandex for the last one, but it matched the interior color of the fabric. I find that matching the leotard often works out better than going with a “nude” color because not everyone is the same version of nude! At least for the bust, it hides a colored bra a bit better. That’s just my opinion though. I found all three of my fabric choices to be opaque enough to hide a bra. I don’t usually fuss over the color of the back so I didn’t double check with the orange color. But I feel confident that most of my bras would hide well under it. I personally don’t care if my bra is visible under mesh. Sometimes I wear one, sometimes I don’t. All of my bras are purchased with the awareness that they may be seen. So bright colors and cute patterns, I don’t mind if they peek out. Or even if the entire back is on display.

I’m sorry there aren’t any shots of me in them. I’ve just really not been up to it. I did try them all on and record my thoughts so I could share them. I’ve taken photos of myself in these styles in the past and you can refer to those to consider fit. I hope to get better at the selfies in the future and one of these days I’ll find a full length mirror I like! At that point I promise to update this post.

If you want to see more of my Elevé posts, click on the links below.

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/my-eleve-leotards-are-here/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/my-newst-eleve-leotards-a-review/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-leotards-are-going-back-answers-from-eleve/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/my-replacement-eleve-leotards-have-arrived/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/a-review-of-my-newest-eleve-leotards/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/eleve-skirts-and-pointe-shoes/

Heaven help me, I think that’s all of them! As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them down below. I always try to reply in a timely manner. The company is also super great about answering customer questions so I highly recommend contacting them. Good customer service is kind of a big deal with me, and this company is one others could stand to learn from. They have started a Ready To Wear line. Every style is limited stock and once supply is gone that’s it. So if you’ve wanted to try the brand but were unsure if it was worth the 6-8 week wait, this is your chance! They also accept returns and exchanges within a 2 week period on RTW items. So if you were hesitant to order based on size you can buy the size you think you are to try them out. But be fair! Don’t buy just to size them and then send it back and place your “real” order. They’ve made these in their most popular styles and color/pattern combos. So order something you’d really want to keep. There’s plenty to pick from!

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Something else worth mentioning, the absolutely beautiful Secret Garden spandex (shown above) and mesh appears limited to the RTW line. I hope it’s eventually added to the custom options. But even if it isn’t it’s great that they’re thinking ahead to help limit the cookie cutter look with fabrics only available in one form or the other.

That’s all for this post. For those of you that have been waiting for this I’m sorry it took so long. I don’t have any more leotard or ballet posts planned as I’ve been out for so long. Elevé did have a Fourth of July sale but I didn’t partake in it given my circumstances. Perhaps during their next sale.

My Newst Elevé Leotards- A Review

Well, they’ve finally arrived. Through a stroke of good luck the post office delivered my mail early today. I ran down to the box with my son, who was complaining all the while. I didn’t think it was worth while to dress him just to go to the mailbox. But I forgot, it’s a rather arduous trek (insert sarcasm). And for that reason he felt the need to point to his romper and say “Uh-oh” over and over, and when we finally got outdoors he resorted to yelling “naughty, naughty” at me. Yeah, I’ve got you kid, I’m negligent. We did finally manage to get to the box and my leotards were in there! After racing back as quickly as I could drag Captain Naughty and setting him up with some food I tore them out of the packaging. I was able to take some quick shots of them and I tried all of them on. I do have some good first impressions as well as a proper review for one of the three. It was still a bit damp but I wore one of them to class. It was fine by the time I got there but boy I was cold on the way to the car.

First up is the, Amber With The Full Back.

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I really love this one, I’m not sure it’s my favorite style/color wise, but it definitely is fit wise. This fit the best out of the three. I opted to do this in “Branch Out” and “Black Mesh”, and only got the bust panel. The sleeves are “Below Elbow” length. This one just fits so well and looks so good. The black mesh on the back really sets it off. It looked fantastic while I was in center and I could see both the front and the back at the same time. I would definitely order this style again. This one was very comfy and fits just as well as the two I previously owned.

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Sorry for the super messy bathroom. I didn’t have time to tidy up before the photos. That weird blue thing is like my husbands favorite Christmas gift ever. It’s some stupid gun that tells you the temperature of stuff. Why he likes this I’ll never know, but whatever. Moving on… As you can see I’m still horrible at selfies but you still get an idea of the fit. I think the legs come down a little lower in a more traditional line, but that’s fine. The butt stays put and doesn’t ride up. I hate it when that happens, but even more so when it’s cold out and I’m wearing my sweater tights (I have the Gaynor Minden ones and they’re amazing). Just cause it’s weird to reach into your tights to rearrange your butt. It’s not attractive, don’t do that. I found this to be plenty warm to wear without a sweater, most days I have to wear one for the first half of class, sometimes even throughout the entire class. This was just enough that I wasn’t freezing, yet I never got so hot I overheated. I don’t think this will work in the summer, but it’ll be nice during the colder months.

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It has a mock turtle neck, no zipper, and is sleeveless. There is no back hole option for this one, so the full, high back is standard. This one and the one featured below this feel small. So much so that I thought I’d somehow ordered the wrong size. So either Elevé has changed the fit of their leotards, this particular seamstress cut them too small, or these two styles just don’t work for me. I’ll probably be contacting Elevé over this just to get their take. I literally had trouble getting both of these on. It was a real struggle. This is compared with my original two and the Amber above which fit really well, so much in fact I could probably size down and still be okay. Although I’m not so sure about that anymore…

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If you look at these two pictures you’ll see the warping of the fabric. This damage occurred just from trying to get it on. That’s really disappointing. It doesn’t seem as though it’s lacking in stretch, but when it’s on. Well… It’s short too. I’d say I’d just gained weight but I’ve actually lost weight since I first bought from this brand. I’m 142, down from 146. That might not seem like a lot but considering I’ve actually been putting on muscle as well, it is. I’ve noticed a real difference. I haven’t gotten taller either (I hope). So it was crazy when I had a hard time getting this past my thighs. There’s also the little bit of the collar, it’s not sewn the best. As you can see in the photos (left side) it’s curved. I actually noticed the way it was sewn before I even too it out of the bag. It’s probably just because I sew myself, but all I could think when I saw the stitching was “Oh, that’s sloppy”.

The color for this is “Smoke” and the mesh is “Mallard”. If I’m not mistaken they now have Smoke as a mesh option, but that was not possible when I placed my order. That’s fine. I’m very happy with my color choices and I think doing an entire leo in Smoke might be too much of a good thing. Also, even though this is called Smoke, and it does seem like a good descriptor, I think this is water scene. There are what look like tiny water bubbles in the design, like just here.

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You see that up in the top left? Those are little bubbles. At first I thought there was something on the leo. In fact it looked like perhaps it had rubbed against something rough and those were little pills. So while it may not come across well in photos, they have an almost 3D quality in real life. The fabric really is lovely and I’m super glad I picked it. I think the Mallard mesh really looks good with it. Elevé lists 11 different colors that are present in this print, so you really can’t go wrong picking a mesh to compliment it. You could also go with a solid spandex back, or keep it all the same color. Despite the issues I’m having with it it’s a great style and I really like it.

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You might be able to see (if you look at my butt) this one really digs in quite a bit. It was also a bit tight up by the shoulders. It’s probably not supposed to be this low cut, it is pulling a bit.

This last one is the Laico With Sleeves.

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This one is probably my favorite style/color wise. I opted for the “Below The Elbow” sleeves and had it made without the back hole. I’m really not into those. This one is really beautiful, the base color is “Navy” with the shiny finish and the top is “Antique Roses”. I know they show swatches on their website, but lets be honest, they’re never really enough are they? Here’s a good closeup of the mesh. 🙂

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Isn’t that just so much nicer than the tiny little off color swatch they show on their site? Don’t get me wrong I think they’re okay photos, but some are bigger than others and I find the colors are a bit dull compared to what you get in real life. The colors may be slightly off here because this is sheer fabric and it’s against a colored background, but I find them very true to life. The Elevé site lists the colors featured in this mesh as light blue, medium gray, steel, dusty rose, ivory, navy. I think that’s a fair assessment. But I personally wouldn’t pair this with their dusty rose spandex. Now it might work, but I think this would look best with blues, grey’s, ivory, and maybe even a dark forest green. I was actually torn between a dark green and the navy I went with. I think that while the navy was a safe choice, it was a good one. I love the way this looks.

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Sadly like the Lauren this one is a bit snug and short. I had an even harder time getting this one on. And getting my arms into the sleeves? It was a workout to say the least. Now my arms aren’t the thinnest, but as you can see, they’re hardly my worst feature. I was able to get this on, but it was actually tight up by my upper arms/underarms. So much so that it actually pinched. I just don’t understand why these two leo’s fit so very different from my others. I guess it’s probably just because all of these are handmade. A person really can’t expect things to fit the exact same way every time. Even with the same style. Because if the person who’s cutting and sewing this is the type to cut a bit small, or to take a bit too much off with the serger then it’s going to effect the fit. Humans are just that, human and I can’t really expect perfection. Something very close to it yes, but not total perfection.

I’m a very lucky lady since my mother and siblings gave me a gift certificate to Elevé for Christmas. I’ve decided to hold off on using it until after the move. I figure between now and February they’ll have a sale (probably for Valentine’s Day). And I want to be able to use my new address. Right now the house has been delayed. If something crazy should happen, we could see the move pushed back even farther. We’ve already been delayed once and there’s a limit to what you can predict. I mean, if there’s a problem getting the appliances installed, or the driveway poured then it’s going to be delayed again and that’s all there is to it. I’m telling myself we’ll be in by the end of next month and hopefully that’s true but I can’t know for sure. Besides, Elevé has a 6-8 week production time. This leotard came at just a day or so under 6 weeks. But it could always work out that if I put in my current address, we’ll have moved and it’ll be a hassle. My new address doesn’t actually exist yet anyways. So I’ll wait. It’ll give me some time to think about exactly what I want to get next. I’m thinking about the Vinzant. Kathryn Morgan likes that one and she suggested the Laico to me as well (you can ask her anything, she’s really sweet). She also has broad shoulders she tries to downplay and I agree, the Laico is a good style. I never would have thought I could wear it, but somehow it works. The Amber and the Lauren were pretty good too. I would recommend them to people with broad shoulders as well. The Vinzant is similar to the Laico in that it has sheer shoulders, if you get flesh tone mesh it’ll look strapless. It’ll take me a while to narrow down my selections and I really do need to contact Elevé to be sure there are no further fit issues. It’ll be hard not to be super impulsive, but I think waiting will be worth my while. 🙂

Elevé vs Yumiko

I mentioned in my last post that I’m starting to take more ballet classes. I go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. In January my studio is starting a new class on Wednesday night at an even better time for me. Since I’ll only be able to do some Saturday classes (scheduling conflict) I want to try the Wednesday class out. It’s an intermediate level which I’m really not up to, but my instructor said I’m more than welcome. So when possible I’m going to try to do that class. Really I’m always trying to take as many classes as I can, and it’s a rarity I’m able to attend all of them. I think over the course of the next year I’d be lucky to go to class all five days a few times. But that’s okay, and the more classes I have open to me the better. After all, before last week I had never done a Saturday class. And unless I want to get my son (who sleeps till noon or later) up at 7am to feed, clothe, and drive him to the play center before backtracking to the studio there will be many Saturdays that I just don’t get to go to class. Just this week I had things to do on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday was a holiday so I’m happy for these past two Saturdays. And that’s how I’m trying to look at it. I want three classes a week minimum and it’s what I’ll need if I want to progress onto pointe.

My teacher in Hawaii (who I still talk to and see) said if I keep up what I’m doing now I’ll be getting my shoes in the next year. But I want to feel confident in them. My current studio will let anyone with a years training take pointe, so I could be doing it now (I could have been doing it in September to be honest). That’s great and all, and if I really just wanted the shoes I’d schedule a fitting tomorrow. But it’s not just about the shoes. I want to do more than just wear them, I want to be able to dance in them. I also don’t want to hurt myself, so while my current teacher says I have good ankle strength and really good feet (and I can do any foot exercise you throw at me without thinking twice about it, yes I’m a freak) I think I could still be better. So I’m going to keep taking class, and maybe in the spring or summer I’ll start thinking about getting pointe shoes.

Since I’m taking all of these classes I decided to get some more leotards and that’s what this post is really about. Right now I have one Gaynor Minden leotard (the Lyric in plum in case you’re interested) that fits well, as well as two Yumiko’s and two Elevé’s. I do have a few others but they were less expensive and ultimately the quality wasn’t there. Both Yumiko and Elevé are expensive but the quality is so much better than my super basic leos from Discount Dance. However, I’m starting to move away from Yumiko.

This is not to say that Yumiko is bad, or that the quality is lacking. It’s not that at all! I still feel like my Yumiko’s are super nice and they are beautiful. But they’re short, and the arms are snug, too snug. I find I don’t wear my Marieke at all. I’ve tried a few times, but the shoulders just keep popping off and it’s beyond annoying. The Anna is much better, but the arm holes are still a little annoying. I do wear that one a lot though so it’s not annoying to the point of distraction. The Marieke on the other hand… Perhaps if I hadn’t gotten it without the sleeves it would be better. Actually I know it would. I’ve thought about removing them in the past but I feel like it’ll ruin the look because I can’t match the trim. I would probably buy the Anna style again, but forgo the sleeves. That aside, there’s still the issue of length. For some reason the Anna isn’t as bad as the Marieke, but it’s still a bit too short as well. I feel like Yumiko’s are great if you’re under 5’6″, but anything over that and you’re really running the risk of it not fitting properly. Yumiko allows you to customize so much of their leotards, I wish they’d give you the option to pay for extra length. Perhaps this will be an option in the future. Until then I’ll be holding off on ordering any more.

Now on to Elevé, my new favorite brand. This company is fantastic if you’re looking for a longer leotard. It’s just they way they’re built, long. They also have mesh, which is something Yumiko is only now getting into, and with only one style. I find that in terms of quality my Elevé leotards are holding up super well, and I wear the two I own all the time. I hand wash them and hang them to dry, and both still look brand spanking new. There’s been no fading and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve actually decided to branch out a bit and order three new ones, in three different styles. I’m not going to tell you all my fabric choices, you’ll have to wait and see when they come in. 🙂

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The first one up is the “Amber”. I initially thought I could never wear this style, I was sure I’d look like a line backer in it. But Discount Dance had some of their new Yumiko knockoffs in stock and one of them was very similar to this. I was actually surprised at how good I looked in it. If it didn’t have the huge cut out in the back I probably would have bought it. But I’m not a fan of cutouts, and the price was $50. If you’re going to compare that to a Yumiko it’s a steal because a comparable style there will cost you $91- before shipping. So it’s half price. But an Elevé is $72 before shipping and unlike Yumiko the shipping charges are only $6-7 and if you spend a certain amount it’s free. Elevé also offers sales (like the 15% I got off this order). So I basically paid a bit over $10 more than the DDS one and got to pick my fabrics and have it made without the back cut out. I also didn’t pay tax on this, and I would have had to pay nearly 10% if I bought the DDS one. So I feel like I made out like a bandit and I’ll be looking good doing it!

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Next up is the “Laico With Sleeves”. I was initially wary of this style as well, because of the shoulder thing. But they had some Ainsliewear leotards at DDS that were similar but with short sleeves and that looked good as well. Kathryn Morgan also suggested this when I asker her opinion on styles since she feels her shoulders are broad as well. She wears this style a lot and I think she looks good, hopefully I’ll look good too. Like the Amber I opted for the 3/4 sleeves on this one, I got the longer ones that stop just below the elbow. And I know you’re probably all wondering, yes I’m still kicking myself for not buying that Ainsliewear one. It was so pretty in black and gold, and they have nothing similar on their website right now either but it’s part of their holiday collection so it probably sold out. It’s not available on DDS>com at all. It was less than $40 too (sobs). If I hand’t bought these I’d probably ask my BIL to go pick it up for me.

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This last one is the “Lauren”. This is the one I’m most nervous about as I think it has to potential to emphasize my shoulders more than the other two. But I’m counting on the v-neck to sort of cancel out the sleeveless style. Sort of like how the Amber style DDS leo looked fine so long as I didn’t zip it up all the way. Worst case I still look broad and I just suck it up and wear it anyways because I bought it in a beautiful fabric I’m going to be happy wearing. After all, they’re just shoulders and people are focusing on themselves. No one’s spending the entire class staring at me and if they are it’s my feet and arms they’re looking at, not my perceived flaws. If you notice on this one it has a cute little mock turtleneck to it. I thought that would look so cute peeking out under my wrap sweater. Just a fun little pop of color (or pattern, again not telling!) up by my face.

Some other good things I like about Elevé that I’m not getting with Yumiko are the style options. For starters Yumiko has 33 styles to pick from, Elevé has 55. Then once you’ve picked your base style, there are often sleeve styles. Both have the same number of sleeve options, but Yumiko’s cost far more. There’s also the bust panel or full front liners and you can get them on both. However bust panels are free with Elevé and they’re $10 for Yumiko. A full front lining won’t even run you that much with Elevé. Now many dancers will roll the legs of their leotards to make their legs look longer, or you can buy them higher cut. For this service Yumiko charges an extra $22. Yes you read that right, to use less fabric they’re tacking on an extra $22. Elevé leotards on the other hand come with a higher leg standard. Both have options for turning various styles into biketards and unitards but I’m not into the look. I do think it’s weird that Yumiko charges less to make something into a biketard which uses more fabric. But hey, they know what people want and will change for it. There’s also the issue of the cutouts. Both brands offer cutouts on many of their styles, but Elevé unlike Yumiko gives you the option to forgo the cutouts. On many of their styles there’s even an option to click “full back”, though I’m told when placing your order if you don’t want it just add it in the comments section and if it’s possible they’ll make it without the hole. So basically they’re giving you even more style options. Then there’s the mesh. Yumiko is just now moving into mesh and that’s great. But I do wonder what the limitations on it will be. In the promo images it looks like they just have black and white, Elevé has dozens of choices and many of them are prints. They also offer matte or shiny spandex (they stuff they use is called milliskin and it’s really cool) and prints. Sometimes they’ve even offered burnout velvets and lace (Kathryn Morgan has a Laico in Vampire with matching burnout velvet that I adore). Now Elevé leotards are a bit more “edgy” and they don’t do just the solid color with contrasting trim. But they have so much else that I personally don’t miss it. And if you do want to do something simple and streamlined you can, like my simple grey and orchid leo for instance. That one could be done solid color (or spandex with matching mesh or just spandex altogether) with a contrasting trim. And there are a few others as well. So you can get a similar look to Yumiko with at least a few of the Elevé’s, but for less. And lastly there’s length, Elevé has it and Yumiko just doesn’t. That’s fine, shorter dancers need something too and Yumiko might be a better fit for them. But for me I just love the length on Elevé’s leotards. They never ride up, they stay in place, and I don’t have marks on my shoulders when I get home from class.

I have mentioned some of these things in the past but I really feel like they bear repeating. Especially since I’m saying I really only want to buy from Elevé in the future. Again, if Yumiko started offering extended lengths I’d totally try them out. But for now I have so many styles, and fabric options with Elevé I’m not sad to say goodbye to Yumiko. And as I’ve mentioned before, Elevé rotates it’s stock, so once a fabric is gone it’s likely gone for good. So I’d rather buy two leotards from Elevé with cool mesh or crazy spandex before those patterns are gone than get just one really basic leotard from Yumiko that has a so so fit and colors that will pretty much always be there.

I just placed my order yesterday and I don’t expect to see my leotards before January. I am moving that month but something this awesome deserves to be shared. So you can be sure I’ll stop whatever it is I’m doing and take photos of these as soon as they get here. And I’m not making any promises but I might be updating my last Elevé post. Previously I was too self conscious to photograph myself in my current Elevé leotards. But suddenly, my back has stopped marshmallowing out of the cutouts. I don’t know how it happened because the scale insists I’ve lost nothing, but I suspect things are starting to shift. I noticed last years knee high boots are a bit snug, as are my skinny jeans so I think my leg muscles have started to bulk back up (oh dear) and I know my midsection is looking like it has a shape to it. I’m still a rectangle, but I now have almost a waist, I’m not the same measurement all the way down! It looks like this ballet stuff is having some nice side benefits. 😀 So I may take a few selfies and add them to the previous post. It’s fun and all seeing what other people have designed and what the fabrics look like in real life, but sometimes it helps to see them on an actual person. And I want to help anyone who’s on the fence about a style or color.

I know my leotard posts generate a lot of traffic and I still get comments on my Yumiko posts. So please, if anyone out there has something to ask or add please feel free to comment. Even if this post gets old I do read all of my comments and try to answer every question as best I can! Don’t be shy. 🙂

My Second Yumiko Part 2

As I mentioned in my first post, I didn’t really have time to do more than snap a couple of photos. My husband was kind enough to pick my leotard up at the post office for me. But as always I slept late and I had to wash it straight away so it would be clean for that nights class. So here’s my full review after wearing it to class last night. 

First off, this is the leotard I bought.

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It’s called the Alicia. I picked Antique for the trim, Antique Rose for the top, and Espresso for the bottom. I also added cap sleeves and a bust liner. 

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Here it is inside out.

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For the most accurate color representation these two shots below are what you’re going to want to look at.

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The first photo really showcases the most accurate version of the Antique and Antique Rose colors. The second is a closer match to what the Espresso looks like in person, under daylight. However I’ve found the Espresso tends to shift a bit, considering it’s a dark color done in a shiny fabric. It’s a very obvious brown in all lighting, but it can look very chocolatey in some lights and then shift to a darker true espresso in others (like in the first photo). 

A question I get a lot is in regards to the linings. Is it worth it, what does it look like, etc. My take on it is this, at the very least a bust liner is always a good idea. And if you get a light color, you absolutely must have one. I feel slightly self conscious in this color, even with the bust liner. I asked my husband and he said he couldn’t see anything and so I guess I’ll take his word on it. I’m probably just being paranoid. But if you have a strong difference between skin color and, ahem, nipple color, I would flat out avoid this color even with a liner. Or resign yourself to wearing a bra underneath it. I’ve heard some people complain about Yumiko’s being sheer, and in my experience they are. It’s nothing terrible, but it is something you need to consider when making your color and fabric selections. Here are some photos of this leotard with a hot pink bra underneath.

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So you can see underneath it. I feel like the lines of the bra are slightly more apparent in real life. And I know the photos here are none to pretty, so again, please forgive my poor, horribly abused, skin. 😦

For those who are interested, this is what the lining looks like.

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Like my last leotard the lining is just a double layer of the same fabric the rest of the leotard is made out of. When I was in the boutique in New York I saw some that had that beige mesh. I do not know if they are moving away from that, or if they used the double layer of the regular fabric because of the style I was buying. I guess if you really wanted one versus the other you could always contact the company when placing your order. But I don’t see an issue with this fabric. It functions fine, and probably provides more coverage than the basic lining stuff since it’s twice as thick. The only issue I could see is if you wanted a shelf bra, I’m not sure they’re doing that anymore if they really have stopped using the regular lining fabric. 

When it comes to wear it was fairly comfortable. I did notice once I was really sweating a lot it kind of stuck to my skin. It was slightly plasticy feeling. It also rode up a bit from time to time. I do not have an especially larger rear, in fact I have a fantastically flat one. I also lack serious hips, I’m a rectangle for the most part. For reference I wear American Eagle skinny jeans in a size 6. So I think it’s a length issue. But I have that same issue with every brand I’ve tried. But I have found that with most brands, when I go up a size they tend to get baggy because, of course, they’re bigger. But with Yumiko I have not found this to be an issue. The only difference I’ve felt between a Large and an X-Large is the length. And although it’s not substantial, it is just about enough for me. I think with a bit or wear it’ll eventually be fine. Even now, it didn’t ride up much. I’ve experienced much worse. And it was not enough to keep me from buying another from this brand.

 

So bottom line? I love this leotard. I would 100% buy not only this brand again, but this style again. I found the style, with the inverted V made me look like I had more of a shape. And the cap sleeves made me look a bit less broad. They just hit at that exact right spot. I do think next time I’m going to branch out and buy a different fabric type. I’ve also been toying with the idea of getting their swatch booklet. I really hate their $25 price tag. But if I plan to buy even two more leotards I think it may be worth it. I might also ask them about a discount on it. I really do feel the fee is too high considering they don’t offer a credit or coupon when buying it. As I mentioned before most companies don’t just sell their booklets. There’s usually a special coupon or something that you can redeem when you place your next order with the company so all, if not most, of the cost of the booklet is recouped. But regardless, if I purchase one I promise to share the images here. The pictures I already have up are great, but I feel like they could stand to be a bit more accurate. I only had my camera phone on me when I took those photos and the lighting in the store was pretty harsh. So I think I could do better. 

I hope you all liked this review. I have two Eleve leotards on the way. I got the shipping confirmation yesterday and I have my fingers crossed I’ll have them in hand by the end of the week. Once I have them, and have had a chance to wear them I’ll take some photos and do a review on here for those as well!

Sewing A Ballet Leotard

I did it, I’ve sewn my first leotard! It went really well, and I’m a bit surprised. I’d never worked with stretch fabrics before, let alone something as crazy as spandex. But it was easier than I thought it would be and I can’t wait to make my next one. I hope to try out a few different styles, the first one was pretty basic. I want to just start by saying this isn’t a very detailed tutorial. I just didn’t take enough photos for that and I’m not always great about remembering all the details of my sewing projects as I tend to make things up as I go. But I hope this can help people out since there’s really nothing about making your own leotards online. Especially ballet ones. There are some skating costume and gymnastics outfit tutorials, but for ballet I’ve only found one. I hope to make more of these and I’ll try to take photos of the process with those if I make a different style. Just to sort of ensure something’s out there for people who want to sew their own. The first thing I did was make a paper pattern. To do that I needed to prepare my paper. I could buy paper, but why when Amazon is happy to send me that stuff for free. 🙂

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This is the packing paper Amazon sends in their boxes. It’s a great size, thin enough to pin through easily, and of course you can draw on it. Also I don’t worry about messing up and “wasting it” because it was free and they’re only too happy to send me more, lol. It does usually show up pretty wrinkled but I just iron it on medium high heat, no steam. You may still see a few wrinkles in the photos but I promise you this was 100% flat.

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After I ironed it I laid my best fitting leotard onto it and traced the shape.

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The front part gave me a bit more trouble cause I couldn’t fold the rear fabric out of the way to do the crotch. So I laid a scrap piece over the front and used my finger nail to press a line into it around the edge of the crotch. Then I marked the beginning and the end, cut it out, and laid it over the pattern I was making and traced the line. Presto! Perfect pattern lines without the hassle.

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After I cut out my pattern I cut two front pieces (it was a smidge sheer), and a back piece. I used a rotary cutter to cut out my fabric, I would never have tried this with regular scissors the fabric was too slippery for that and the likely hood of error was too high. After I had my pieces I hand basted the two front pieces together and then basted the front to the back. At this point I tried it on and it fit well. I had already made a practice one with plain jersey so I suspected it would fit, but this fabric didn’t have as much stretch and when you double it up it can make it stretch even less though this particular fabric seemed to still function fine.

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I decided to use FOE on the leg openings. I liked it and it looked really pretty, but I felt like there was too much room in the rear so instead of grabbing my seam ripper, pulling it off, and cutting down the openings I decided to just fold it over.

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As you can see (seam on the left) it looks fine and fits much better. Though I’ll be making adjustments to the leg openings in the future it fits okay. I just forgot that my butt is flat and my leotard had a bit too much room in that area before I made the pattern. It’s okay though, those adjustments are easy.

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Here it is, the finished garment. The crotch looks weird because I didn’t bother to move my dress form’s pole, it looks better on me. 😉 I used FOE for the straps and I like the way it looks.

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As you can see I used the FOE to bind the back as well. I could have just hemmed it but I thought this looked better.  It was also much easier.

All in all there’s a lot I’d change in the future. I dislike the top of the front it didn’t come out well, and I don’t like how the straps are attached. But for my first attempt at something I’ve never made, with a fabric I’ve never used, I think it’s pretty good to get a wearable garment. I wore it to class today and it was very comfortable, I felt like I was wearing nothing. I’m very happy with that, I want to be focused on my dancing not some rubbing seam or loose strap.

I did order a bunch of swatches from Spandex World and despite a small hiccup I hope to have them by next week. The next one I make will be a solid color with contrasting straps. The fabric I got for this came from JoAnnes and I really like it. It’s “Performance Spandex” and wasn’t labeled as being for dance but it works very well for it. It was very fast drying and comfortable, but it was also thinner. I would use it again.

The Making Of A Leotard

I’m headed back to Hawaii for a bit this week and whilst there I’ll be taking class again. I’m a bit sad that I can’t wear my new Yumiko, but I expected to be taking class here, in the winter. When I got sick plans changed and it’ll be a while before I can wear it. A leotard with long sleeves, in 80 degree weather, in an un-airconditioned studio just seems risky health wise. So I’m stuck with my stupid boring So Danca camisole leo (that admittedly fits better than all the others but the quality is seriously lacking, and again- it’s boring). I do have a really pretty Gaynor Minden one, so I’ll probably make the most use of that one and keep the So Danca as backup. There is a small problem with my Gaynor Minden leo, and it’s something others have complained about as well. But I’m going to tell you how to fix it!

This is my pretty leotard.

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If you click on the picture it’ll take you to Discount Dance. I first saw this there but they didn’t have my size in store and I didn’t want to buy it online. So when I was in NYC I stopped into their boutique and bought it in person. The ladies there are lovely and I highly recommend stopping in to try stuff on if you’re in the area (pointe shoe fittings are by appointment though!). 

I really love this leotard, but can you spot the problem? Yeah, it’s low cut (like so many leotards) but the stretch lace is, well… Stretch lace, and it stretches- a lot. By the end of class, with all the sweating, it has a tendency to sag dangerously low. And unless you’re looking to do an entirely different form of dance, you need something to wear underneath it. Even then, I still feel compelled to yank it up because I don’t want to be flashing everyone my entire bra. I had planned to sew those ugly plastic straps into it. I had some (came with a strapless bra) but tossed them when I was cleaning out my closet cause I was never going to use them. I’m glad I did cause while I planned to buy more but got lazy and that gave me time to find a better solution. 

I was watching First Position and noticed the straps on Miko’s competition dress (Don Quixote Kitri variation) blended in really nicely with her skin. Much better than those clear straps, which lets be honest, are obvious. Upon closer inspection I realized they were made of fold over elastic (or FOE). If you’re not familiar FOE is the stuff those fashiony headbands and hair ties are made out of. You can buy it on Etsy, Ebay, and at most sewing stores. I just so happened to have some black FOE laying about for another project that was sidelined. It’s basic, Dritz, and seems better quality than the stuff they make those hair ties out of. 

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I held some up behind the lace and it blended really well. I cut the pieces and plan to hand sew them on after my son goes to bed. Hopefully it hold up well but I won’t know until after I wear it to a class. Obviously I won’t jinx it and go braless, but if it goes well I probably could. I do wish Gaynor Minden thought about doing something like this in the first place though. It’s gets a fairly high rating on DDS but the sagging is a known issue. It seems like more of a ballet inspired piece than something that was intended to wear in class. They do actually show the model wearing it with jeans and say it works great to go from the studio to dinner. But I don’t know who does class, gets all hot, sweaty, dusty, then just tosses on a pair of jeans and goes out to a restaurant. I think it’s unrealistic. 

 

The last thing I was going to talk about today is making leotards. There’s almost nothing online about actually sewing your own leotards. Which is weird because you can find way too much about pretty much anything else you ever wanted to know about but there’s nothing on this. So I’m going to try and help fill the void. 

I’ve already prepared the paper I’m using for my pattern pieces and traced my leotard. Despite my loathing for my So Danca one it is the one I used to make the pattern with. I mean it’s a good basic leotard, it fits really well and is reasonably flattering. However the dye still runs on it. One drop of sweat and my tights are covered in black dye, I’m sick of that stupid leo ruining them. And despite treating it like glass (hand washing it in stone cold water the second I get home and letting it air dry) it’s loosing it’s stretch. It was not worth what I paid for it, but if I can successfully use it as a pattern then as far as I’m concerned it’s redeemed itself. And it’s basic shape will enable me to modify it to make a few different styles quite easily. Also it’s long enough, I have a hard time finding leos that are long enough. My Yumiko is, but only just, and it’s difficult to gauge with the GM one due to the lace issue. I have a couple of cotton ones that were but for some reason they shrank. I hand washed them in cold and drip dried but they still shrank a ton. I’d say I just gained weight, but I didn’t get taller. It was like every time I washed them I lost another inch or two and eventually it couldn’t stretch enough. 😦

So I told Chicken Little we’re probably going to take a field trip to the fabric store tomorrow. Assuming I actually get out there I hope to make at least one leotard before I fly out. I have a 50% off coupon so it makes sense to at least buy the fabric. If I can make it in the next two days then I’ll be able to test drive it during class and let everyone know how it goes. I’ll take photos and try to get a tutorial up before then though. I’ve already taken photos of the pattern making process. Assuming all goes well I plan to try and branch out into some of the more exciting stuff. Spandex World has an epic selection and I’d love to have at least one or two leotards that incorporate that patterned mesh like in Eleve Dancewear leotards. I like the fabrics they use but I’m not really a fan of most of their styles so I can’t see myself buying from them. I might also want to have a leotard with long sleeves, not just 3/4. And if I want them long enough then I’m either going to have to make it myself or commission it on Etsy and I rather just do it myself.

So here’s to hoping I get to the fabric store tomorrow!

My First Yumiko!

As promised here is my review of my new Yumiko.

First off is shipping- it took forever. They say to expect 4-6 weeks for construction and shipping but it was more like 8. Then, after all I paid they shipped it in one of those plastic bag mailers and it was just stuffed into a plastic bag with my name, the colors, size, and style number printed on it. I was so happy when I ripped open the package but after thinking about it I was pretty miffed. This leo was more than a hundred dollars, and they couldn’t even be bothered to fold it? So it arrived wrinkled and if it was handled roughly at all it could have been seriously damaged in shipping and I would have had to wait another two months for a replacement. I don’t think it would kill them to spring for a box and wrap it a little better. 

Now for the actual leotard.

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The first photo is the front and the second is the back. As you can see the neckline in the front is about two inches higher than it is in the back. The wrinkling is due to the way it was packaged. For those who are interested the style is Marieke, and the colors are lavender for the body and atoll for the trim.

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I was aiming for better light here but didn’t get it. For the most accurate color look for lavender on the color chart I posted before. It rained all day here and I could not get an accurate color shot to save my life today. Anyways, it drapes quite nicely and I think that’s probably part of why they fit the way they do.

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This is a shot of it inside out. As you can see the lining is the same material as the rest of the leo which I think makes it feel more substantial. The lining is only on the front panel and is not on the back or the sleeves.

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Please forgive my juvenile chipped and sparkly nail polish. 😉 This is the lining and the front panel. 

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That’s the tag, I’m sure it’ll be gone after my next class.

 

Full disclaimer it’s been a while since I’ve been to a class so any muscle I might have had has been transformed to marshmallow. I hope you all appreciate this.

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As you can see I’ve yet to perfect the art of the selfie. I’m positive there’s a way to do them so I appear less flat (both front and back) and slimmer but I have no freaking clue how. 

I happened to have on one of those stretchy bras I talked about before and decided to keep it on. That way you could have an idea of how low cut it is. It comes to camisole level for the most part. The leg opening is generous and I opted for the normal low leg. My inseam is 36 inches (yes, you read that right) so I don’t need the high cut to make them look longer. Nature took care of that for me. I was surprised the sleeves were long enough, I was worried since my arms are super long too. I don’t think I’d try the full sleeves but I’d defiantly get 3/4 ones again.

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I wanted to include this side shot so you can really see the difference the front panel makes. This fabric isn’t exactly being stretched to the max and it’s still quite sheer. So if you’re getting anything this color or lighter I highly recommend getting the full front panel and not just the bust panel. Otherwise you may end up embarrassed…

 

All in all I’d say I’m very happy with this purchase. It was expensive but this leotard is so comfortable and it’s really well made. The fabric just feels nice, both in my hand and on. I could see this particular fabric lasting a very long time even with less than stellar care. If I do take care of it I’m sure I’ll have it for many years to come. I will probably add one or two more to my collection before the year is out. Now I just need to find a new studio so I can put this one to work!

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’ll answer you as soon as I can!

 

Yumiko, I Just Can’t Wait

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Well, I finally did it. After months of hemming and hawing I finally picked what style Yumiko I want, now I’m waiting.

Back this fall I went to New York. I got to go to the Yumiko boutique and was so happy. I couldn’t wait to try things on and maybe buy a few leotards. Well, they had virtually nothing in my size, and the few they had weren’t very pretty in my opinion. So I used it as an opportunity to find out my size, the type of fabric I liked, and the styles that flattered.

I’m 5’10” and 143 pounds. Not heavy by any means, I’m actually thinner than some of my classmates- even some of the girls on pointe. But Yumiko sells to professionals and pre professionals and they say flat out on their site their stuff may not fit you if you’re not in that category. In fact I don’t even appear on their size chart. Based on my height and weight I’m an X-Large, I tried on everything from Small all the way up to X-Large while I was in store. I couldn’t get the Small on, the Medium just barely, and the Large fit pretty well, but still felt a smidge short. I could probably get away with the Large in some styles, especially if I lost some weight, but the X-Large fit me best. And since I don’t care what the tag on the inside of my clothes says I got the X-Large.

I discovered that I prefer the Nylon fabric to pretty much everything else. For whatever reason I just loved it. It is very sheer so I opted for the full front lining in the one I ordered since the color I chose is medium in tone. I would only forgo the full lining if I were getting a very dark color. I just don’t want to take chances with such an expensive piece. Even after you add tights (and in my case underwear) I just didn’t want to risk putting on a show. And before anyone asks why I’m wearing underwear, I was injured during my c section and compression underwear helps with the pain. For anyone who also needs/wants to wear undies with their leo I recommend Yummie Tummie brand, you can get them at Nordstrom. I prefer the “Nici” shaping brief in nude. They also sell a thong version but the briefs don’t show with my current leos despite the low leg opening. I may try the thongs in the future just for the heck of it- or if my new studio doesn’t allow undies. My current studio is very relaxed so sometimes you do see the edge of pink panties or a cute bra sticking out. Hopefully my new studio/s are just as forgiving.

I ended up buying the Marieke, I added a full front lining and 3/4 sleeves. I picked Lavender for the body and Atoll for the trim.

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I wanted to include a picture of the fabric swatches because the color chart on their site is in no way representative of what the colors actually look like in real life. You would think that with such expensive leos they would be a bit more careful with how they represent the colors online. You can buy a swatch book from them but they charge $25 for it and I think that’s absolutely crazy. The woman at the boutique gave me the booklet so I could see all the colors in person. When she saw me writing down my favorites she told me I could snap a photo. I thought that was really nice of her. Here’s the photos I took.

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I’m not sure why they can’t do this on their website. The little color blocks on their site are utterly useless, a real photo gives a much better idea of the colors. I think it could only help their business by showing images of the actual fabric since many people are still hesitant to buy online.

I will say I could see how it might be cost prohibitive for them to ship their swatch booklets out for free. But so many custom clothing companies offer a few free swatches if you pay for shipping. Or, if you buy their swatch book for whatever ridiculous amount they’re charging (usually $25-$35) they’ll give you a credit for that amount when you place your order. And you will end up placing an order to “get your money back”. Yes you’re usually out the shipping but the $2-$4 you spend on that is always worth being sure you got the “right” color. I wish Yumiko would give this option, looks like another email I’ll be sending (I email a lot of companies). Aside from color, getting to feel the fabric is important too- and you can’t do that through a screen. It just seems a bit cheap on their part. I can’t imagine how many people buy one of these, wait months for to to be made then shipped, and are disappointed in the color, feel, or thickness of the fabric.

There also aren’t enough blog posts or You Tube videos showing these. Yes, it’s possible you’ll see people in them in class but it’s weird to go up to someone and say “hey, can I pet your midriff” or “can I try on your leotard for size”. Also one leotard is not enough to gauge what every color will look like based on their current color chart. Even if everyone in a class wore one in a different color, fabric type, and style you’d probably still be missing quite a few options. So after I get mine I’ll post photos and let everyone know what I think about it. And I promise to post good photos, showing it both right side in and inside out, in good lighting, and with closeups. Maybe I’ll even do a video so you can get a better feel for the texture of the fabric.

When this one arrives I’m likely to place another order. Here are the next ones up on my list!

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I have pretty broad shoulders so I’ll be adding sleeves to some of these to balance them out. Also I’m moving somewhere cold and I freeze even here in Hawaii so I figure they can’t hurt.