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Strong Is The New Skinny | Ballet

Strong is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks for stopping by my stop on the Strong Is The New Skinny Blog Tour!

I love the fresh start offered by the new year – the chance to evaluate last year and make plans for this one. I had a few goals in mind for 2016, but when I saw Becca’s call for the Strong is the New Skinny blog tour, I knew it fit in perfectly with how I’ve been thinking recently about my personal health & fitness. I also had some fitness projects in my sewing stash I was hoping to finish for January so hopping on the tour was a given!

Strong is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

My Fitness History

I didn’t love running in Jr. High. I did a kind of walk run that was mostly walking. Later in high school I took a weight lifting class. I cried after the first class because a cheer leader could effortlessly lift more than I could. In college, I joined a gym after gaining my Freshmen 15, but didn’t really know what I was doing there. After school & newly married, I reminisced about a handful of cardio kickboxing classes I took briefly at the end of High School and remembered having a good time, so I grabbed a used copy of Tae Bo to do at home between gym sessions with my husband. And that is what I stuck with for YEARS. I mean, I could probably do the original Tae Bo series in my sleep! (How’s that for a hidden talent?!) After I had my son I took up running and ran my first 5k, but I’ve pretty much kept up either with running or some version of cardio kickboxing for the last 10 years.

First 5K | Made By Jaime

I had also tried out various ways of changing my eating habits. I tried low carb, a vegan/gluten free/dairy free three week cleanse, added green smoothies to my diet, etc. And of course, there was the negative body image we all struggle with in one way or another – a problem area here that plagued me, the doing too much then getting burned out and doing nothing.

New Adventures

Early in 2015 I was ready for a change. I found it more and more difficult to be excited about the same old videos and keeping up with extreme meal plans was exhausting. Plus there’s #momlife and leftovers that need to be eaten. I started to crave a more balanced approach.

As a teenager, I started to think maybe I’d like to try ballet. I loved Audrey Hepburn, who was a ballet dancer before she became an actress, and I was drawn to the beauty and delicacy portrayed by ballerinas. I’ve talked about it off an on for several years, but this past year, I finally found the courage to find an adult beginner ballet class and took the plunge. I am so thrilled that I did.

Audrey Hepburn (source)

When I talked to the instructor at one of our local studios, she let me know the best time to start would be in 2 months time, since they were currently in the throws of choreography for the upcoming show. I was like a little kid, counting down the days and gathering the appropriate ballet-wear. It only took one class to confirm that ballet was everything I had hoped for, but what wasn’t completely evident to me was the strength required to look that effortless! I fell in love with the new challenge, with the idea that ballet couldn’t be memorized on a video and repeated ad nauseum, with the guidance and instant feedback from the instructor and the experience and camaraderie of a live, group class.

Strong Is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

Ballet has also given me a positive goal for my fitness. Whereas before I was focusing a lot on how I looked, now I find myself wanting to be strong so I can dance better! This is a huge shift in my thinking.

Sewing for Ballet & Dance

Last spring while I was dreaming of starting ballet, I purchased this pattern, Kwik Sew 3671. It is out of print but you can still find it on the Kwik Sew website and uncut copies on etsy & ebay.

In sewing for ballet or dance, lycra is king! If you haven’t sewn with stretch fabrics before, do not fear! Just make sure you have a ball point or stretch needle to use with your machine. You will be using a stretch straight stitch or narrow zigzag stitch on your home machine or your serger.

Strong Is The New Skinny | Ballet | Made By Jaime

This clear lightweight elastic I got from Wawak is great for swim & dancewear. You can also use cotton elastic.

I had made swimsuits before so I felt comfortable with the fabrics and techniques, but I wanted to feel the fabrics for this project, their weight and stretch. So I headed to my local store, F&M Fabrics (online as There are several local theaters in town between the high schools and the melodrama, not to mention the dance studios, and everyone knows F&M Fabrics has the best stretch fabrics for costumes & dance. I was lucky enough to grab a few yards of this black spandex as the bolt was taken off the delivery truck that day, as it is difficult for them to keep it in stock!

Strong Is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

I also grabbed a thinner pink fabric to make a skirt. I started a ballet pinterest board as soon as I knew I would be taking classes and pulled up this tutorial. It went SO FAST – I mean if you cut straight, you don’t even have to hem it. There are no side seams, just cut, attach the waistband and you’re done!

Strong Is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

This particular leotard is so comfy to wear and I love the simple elegance. The one I purchased above for my first class just doesn’t fit well – it’s too short in the torso and I don’t feel great wearing it. I actually broke the Kwik Sew rules and blended sizes to get the perfect fit (it actually says in bold letters not to blend sizes – I now REBEL!).


Strong Is the New Skinny | Made By Jaime

Since I’ve started ballet class, several of my friends have expressed their long held desire to be a ballerina. I cannot stress this enough – if this is something you’ve been thinking about, find a class and GO FOR IT! You will be re-inspired, learn something new, make new friends and have lots and lots of fun along the way.

Waiting Backstage #ballet

A photo posted by Jaime Johnson (@madebyjaime) on

I hope you are inspired and if you want more inspiration and fitness sewing tips, check out the entire tour!

Strong Is The New Skinny Blog Tour | Made By Jaime

I feel silly even needing to state this disclaimer, but “better safe than sorry,” they say. The talented women participating in this tour are NOT trained physicians (unless they state otherwise). I hope you find their testimony encouraging and motivating – but they are NOT adequate substitutes for the advice of your own doctor, trainer, or other health professional. Please consult an expert before adjusting or creating your own fitness regimen.

22 thoughts on “Strong Is The New Skinny | Ballet

  1. Love this! I danced in middle school and colleg and loved it! I’ve tried other workouts, but I do miss dancing. Maybe I should look into classes for myself!

    1. You totally should, Sara!! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wonderful post. I started back to ballet September 2014 because my little princess (and her teacher) talked me into trying, just one class. After a 22 year hiatus I realized just how much I loved dancing. I joined the senior company, 17+ and was sadly the old lady of the group, but these girls who had been dancing since they were little and had never quit, are the most amazingly encouraging girls to be around. I danced in the end of year show last year. I was severely obese, and highly mortified to be on that stage but when it was over all the mommies came over and congratulated me. This September another mom joined the group and we are an amazing group. There is nothing that can stop me from going to class, except a sick princess. It’s something I keep telling my friends, if you want to try it, just go find a beginner class and go for it 🙂 I have also taken up powerlifting and have managed to start losing the weight that I have been packing on since I got married. I’m a third of the way to my goal, but the lifting has made me a stronger dancer, and all of that gives me a reason to keep going to the gym.

    1. Yes! Oh my gosh Kelly! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I think as moms we make sure our kids have everything they need and more and to do this small thing for ourselves – it makes us feel alive again! And yes, all the moms were inspired by you on stage! I also did my first performance in December and I had a few mistakes, but I felt like – at least we had the audacity to go on stage and try! It was exhilarating! I lived off of that for a few days! My friends who came to support said things like it was beautiful and I was so light on my feet – from the audience it just looks beautiful, flaws or not. (and I am not a naturally graceful dancer!) Hopefully we can inspire more mamas to get out there and try the thing they’ve secretly been wanting to try! So glad you stopped by!

  3. Wonderful, so enjoyed how you are following your bliss and taking care of yourself. You will be a better person, wife and mom as you improve your health and enjoy your many talents!! Expose yourself to so many experiences and build on what you love.

    1. Thank you Grams!

  4. This is wonderful! I love dancing and begged my mom to put me in dance classes, but 4 kids and one income meant I was not allowed that luxury. I’ve always loved dance, and took a couple of classes at the local JC. It was invigorating and so freeing. I suck at following choreography, but dancing feels wonderful. You look like you were always meant to dance and thank you for the reminder that we need to do things for ourselves too. Us mamas tend to forget about that.

    1. I’m so glad you were able to take a few classes at the JC! It is such a great feeling. I love choreography and pre-determined dance steps so I can look a little robotic in application. I’m hoping that graceful dancer look will come with familiarity with the moves and time. Thanks for reading, Melissa!

  5. I love seeing adults get into ballet. With the correct tuition it is one of the best workouts available. I danced my whole life and taught as well but gave up when I moved countries/got a new job/had kids. I have recently returned to ballet classes and all I can say is it makes me feel complete again. That light inside me that went out when I stopped dancing was reignited and that huge part of who I am is back, even if it’s una much smaller way. Dance is way more than tutus and floaty arms?

    1. You are so right – it is WAY more than tutus and floaty arms! And I’m just starting, but I can tell right away there is an absolute depth to it. So glad you got back into it! Thanks for reading!

  6. I love this! I think it’s amazing that you started ballet as an adult, when I saw your photos, I thought you had been a dancer your whole life. You look like a natural dancer and I love the outfit you sewed!

    1. Oh gosh – thank you Melli!

  7. I love that you followed your childhood dream as an adult!

    1. Thank you! It’s been a blast!

  8. This is beautiful! I’ve never seriously considered ballet, but I may have to. My daughter adores her class after all. And the clothes are amazing 🙂

    1. You should definitely try it just to see! And yes, love the clothing too – it’s a double win!

  9. I recently won a several week dance class of choice at a silent auction and when I saw that they had adult ballet, I thought, “Jaime does adult ballet. Maybe I should try it.” (you mentioned it to me when we were working on the M is for Moto Jogger pants) So I just might. This post was great – and I love that pant version in the quick sew pattern!

    1. Ooooh! WON dance class!?!? You should definitely try it! I like the pants version of that pattern too but where to wear it. My instructor wants to be able to see our legs to make sure we’re using the right muscles for the moves.

  10. Jaime- what a great post! I took ballet as a child and enjoyed it. In my adult years I actually led a worship dance team…that was so much fun!!

    I’m saving this post so I can go back and check out the tutorial for the skirt. Thinking about making one to wear over my workout leggings 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Tiffany!! I think a worship dance team would be so fun! The skirt is great! My mother in law requested one too! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I started ballet in September 15 and love it. I was a gymnast always growing up. but that doesn’t transition well to grown up life so ballet it is. We performed in the December recital (the moms class) and it was so fun. I love going to class with my friends. This spring our dance will include our kids. I’m so excited to dance with my daughers and I’m making our skater dresses to wear too!! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you are able to get involved again! I wasn’t sure how I would like the performing aspect of it but I really enjoyed it. It’s fun to be back stage with your littles too – you’re going to love it!

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