We all know that gluing rhinestones to dance costumes is a huge trend in the competition world and that crystal embellishments on competition costumes will help catch the audiences eye. But did you know that you can also apply rhinestones to leotards for gymnastics, ice skating, body building and synchronized swimming performances? Although leotards are made from a stretch fabric, it is possible to add non hotfix, hotfix and sew on crystals to bring that extra touch of sparkle. For most performance based competitions, it is important to have the sparkle to stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of the judges.

We’ve been catching up with one of our customers Laura, who talked us through how she uses Preciosa flatback crystals to stone her daughter’s Acro Gymnastics leotard, ready for competiton. Elayna is 11years old and is an acro gymnast for Flight gymnastics academy in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She originally started out as a WAG (Women’s Artistic Gymnast) but changed to Acro as loved the dance aspect incorporated into it. She has recently competed in Edinburgh and London, and will soon compete in Northern Ireland for the preliminery’s. The competition leotards were bought from KC Leotards in Australia and Laura thought they were too plain so wanted to give them a Crystal Parade makeover. She used Preciosa AB crystals in SS16 and SS20 to bling up the sleeves and waist part, gluing them on with Gem Tac glue. When applying flatback rhinestones to stretch fabric, we recommend using a crystal pick up tool as this makes it easier and quicker to place the stone down onto the glue – tweezers are quite fiddly especially when working with smaller sizes. Laura then added some AB navette crystal shapes to the neckline, making it look like a necklace on the suit.

You can be really creative when it comes to crystal placement, forming different shapes, patterns and colourways with the many options available. There are so many shapes to choose from so why not have fun getting creative! Laura later used the hotfix applicator wand to heat fix rhinestones onto the fabric. Hotfix stones are great for embellishing stretch fabric like leotards, as the hotfix or iron on method is long lasting and offers flexibility in movement. When adding rhinestones to fabric, whether you are using the hotfix or glue method, we advise using a Dolly Board to keep the material stretched out. This allows you to apply the crystals to an even, flat surface and stops any wrinkles forming.

Laura, Elayna and the other girls loved the Preciosa crystals for their gymnast costumes, ‘The quality and shine on these stones are unreal and as soon as girls walk out onto floor they shine and you can see their confidence increase when they have the suit on.’

Performance costume

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