Written by: The Geeky Seamstress

A question we often get is how to handle fuku-patterning for folks who fall outside of Green Pepper’s limited sizing on the Crystal Lake pattern. You have lots of options based on your patterning skills and expertise!

As we mention in our tutorial, you can grade the pattern using a number of methods, including slash-and-spread. Threads magazine has a great overview on this process! 

I used the slash-and-spread technique linked above to modify our collar pattern (drafted by Vickie Bane) to fit my shoulders!

If you’re new to pattern alterations and not quite ready for pattern grading, you can use several other leotard patterns with larger size ranges. Here are just a few in-print options that are available as of this posting:

  • Kwik Sew 3502: This one is a favorite of mine! It goes up to 45”-37”-47” and is very beginner friendly. Plus, it’s readily available at most major craft stores! This pattern does have side seams so if you will need to blend those out if you want a single back seam.
  • Yaya Han’s M7455: We’ve not used this pattern yet, but it looks like a great starting point for fukus! This pattern goes up to sewing size 22 (44”-37”46”) and McCall’s patterns have the benefit of being readily available at major craft stores (not to mention regularly going on sale!). This pattern has the chest armor built in, but you could blend out the underbust seam and use the chest armor piece to follow our tutorials if you so desire.
  • Yaya’s Ultimate Bodysuit (M7217) pattern can also be starting point for base leotards, if you desire a tailored bodysuit and have experience with sewing spandex. This pattern is also available in plus sizes and for male-bodied folks! Keep in mind, this pattern will require initial tailoring, then you’ll need to blend out several seams to make this work for a fuku, so it’s not a very beginner friendly approach.
  • Jalie Patterns: This Canadian company specializes in activewear for gymnasts and athletes, and the vast majority of their patterns are available as downloadable PDFs. The Tessa long-sleeve dress and leotard (Pattern number 3891) is a great starting point. To make this one work with our tutorials, skip the lace inset and drop the sleeves. They also have several plus-size patterns!
  • The Nettie Dress/Bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns: This one would also need a bit of work to fit with our tutorials, but it’s a great independent company with tons of helpful resources, many of which are linked on our site! To make this pattern work, go with the bodysuit view with the higher neckline, ditch the sleeves, and create a seam where you want the skirt to go. Sizing goes up to 46”-39”-48”.
  • Simplicity 8435: This is another one we haven’t used yet, but it looks quite promising! As with other major pattern brands, this one has an added bonus of being easily available at most major craft stores and regularly going on sale. To make this pattern work with our tutorial, ditch the sleeves, lower the front part of the neckline, and make a seam where you want your skirt to go. Also, the pattern maker has lots of great blog posts on how to work with this pattern!
  • Mood Patterns: Mood is one of our favorite go-to fabric resources, but did you know that they also have several FREE sewing patterns? Many of those patterns are available in up to sewing size 30 (58.5”-49.5”-63”). We haven’t used many of their (FREE) patterns yet, but they have two bodysuits that could work with our tutorials with minor modifications: The bodysuit portion of the Iris ensemble and the Davallia bodysuit. For either pattern, you’d need to drop the sleeves and collar and cut a neckline into the suit. For the Davallia suit, you would also need to cut straight up the back rather than creating a back cutout as instructed. Neither pattern has a skirt built in, so you’d also need to add a seam for that.

Once you have your leotard pattern selected, you’ll need to draft your chest armor (SparklePipsi has great information on how to do this in her fuku tutorial) or slash and spread our chest armor pattern to accommodate your size.

Do you have a favorite basic leotard pattern that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments!

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