Ivory Traditional Tutu

I’ve had a lovely piece of ivory delustred satin in my stash for a while now so finally decided I would make it up into a tutu … well actually 2 tutus; one in the plain satin and the other in satin with an overlay of pink and gold shot organza that was left over from another project. This post is just about the ivory tutu.

I’ve made lots of stretch tutus for young dancers but I thought I would try out a pattern I have for a girls’ size 10 traditional tutu. There’s obviously no need for spiral boning in a girl’s tutu except for a piece of flat boning in the centre front panel to keep the point of the bodice neatly tucked down. It’s removable anyway so it’s up to the dancer whether it stays in or not.

I’ve finished the bodice and basque but haven’t yet decided on the decoration yet. I’m thinking about just keeping it a textural design in ivory with perhaps some beading or rhinestones. I have a lovely large venise lace “collar” (can’t imagine an outfit with such a collar) that would actually sit rather beautifully on the top of the skirt with the excess decorating the bodice. This is still a work in progress and I will leave it for a week while I finish my daughter’s Year 12 Formal dress. The tutu skirt will be ivory but I might sneak a little bit of apricot or champagne coloured net in there.

Bodice and basque

Bodice and basque ready to be sewn together

I love the look of piped edes on traditional tutus. One day my OCD streak will get the better of me and I will work out a way of putting them onto my stretch tutus!

Suzanne's lines

This lovely pattern comes from “Tutus that Dance” by Suzanne Dieckman.

These patterns go together so beautifully and have beautiful line. I’m a self taught costumier and a good pattern is a wonderful confidence boost to reinforce … Yes Barbara you can do anything!

The point of the bodice site just on the piped edge of the basque

The point of the bodice site just on the piped edge of the basque

The mannequin is a little small for the bodice. I’m not sure how I will decorate this but I will start with some venise lace and see where I go from there.

venise lace 2

Ivory venise lace over ivory satin

The panty has been sewn to mark out the attachment for the layers of netting. There’s not much room of the hip to squeeze in 10 layers so the lines help me from going astray.


ready for gathered net

I have finally decided how to decorate this little tutu after seeing the beautiful work of Louisa Ruthven. I’m usually not a fan of sequins but when they are richly encrusted as an embellishment I think they are beautiful. This bit if hand beading took a while but was better and cheaper than therapy. I’m very pleased with the result but will leave it for a couple days before I decide if I’m done.


Pretty encrusting of sequins, bugles and seed beads

The basque is sewn on after the top 2 layers of net have been attached. The top two layers have their seam allowances pointing up. Thereafter, the seam allowances point downwards.

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basque sewn onto top of panty

 The Petersham ribbon has been sewn on as a waistband and elastic has been added to attach the bodice to the basque at the centre. I don’t sew down the point.

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steamed untacked skirt

I like to steam the layers before I tack the skirt. It helps give the right shape to the skirt.

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simple elegance

The beautiful lines of Suzanne Dieckmann’s pattern don’t need much adornment.

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