July 09, 2013

The Tutu Series

I will be doing a series of tutu construction posts. This post is primarily some background and what I have been doing up to date.

A few years ago, I took a tutu making workshop from the ballet costumer at the local university. I met her during the years I taught costume design for the theatre department. I actually encouraged her to teach the class because I really wanted to learn. I had done some study and taken a short poster seminar at USITT but really wanted a hands-on experience. In the workshop, each student made a complete tutu. I made a black one which I learned is not the easiest color for a first timer, but of course I learned a lot from the experience. Following this, I studied up more on tutu construction. There are many ways to make a tutu, it is just finding what works for you. I bought some books and did some more studying. I made a romantic tutu for a neighbor's daughter and then two for my own daughters' halloween costumes.

About a year ago, I was able to go back to the university and help teach two more workshops. I also started on a white tutu. Well, I finally just finished it. It was one of those projects that had no deadline and took the back burner on many occasions.

Giselle for YAGP Feb 2012
The Giselle tutu is a 4 layer tulle skirt on a self net inner basque. The bodice is a 12 piece long line made from cotton/rayon bengaline and flatlined with coutille. For closures, I used hook and eye tape dyed to match fashion fabric. I used the tape instead of individual hooks and eyes for construction time reasons and since she was not partnering in this costume knew that this would be ok. I did a double row of eyes for future adjustment since she was 13 or 14 years old. The director was pleased with the costume but at final dress rehearsal requested the sleeves to be off the shoulders.

Halloween 2012
Made these Halloween costumes from an old Simplicity pattern but constructed them using traditional tutu methods.

White Tutu 

Double hand pleating of top two layers
Scalloped edges and hand tacking

Decorated top plate pinned on

Close-up of hand beading

Finished tutu

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