Tiny Red and White Tutu

Sally and little Ellie (and Nanna!) came all the way from Orange to Hornsby for a tutu consultation. Ellie is a very petite dancer and her tutu is a tiny size 4. She has a fair complexion and golden blonde hair so their choice of a red and white tutu was perfect! I am quite a fan of strong colours although there is always a place for soft colours especially when the choreography demands it. Between the 4 of us we found the perfect watermelon red from my stash and some lovely organza lace with pearls and translucent sequins for the plate. As Ellie is only 6 the tutu will have no nude insert. I found the sweetest little neckline applique with a heart with tendrils of flowers. The skirt for this tutu is just a plain crisp white with scalloped edges to tie in with the pretty scalloped lace.

red and white tutu
Starting point for tiny tutu

I like to line my lycra tutus and I do this by serge-lining rather than bag lining which can cause wrinkles. There are some lovely matt lycras available now so I’m using my remaining shiny lycra as a lining fabric. Each tutu piece has a piece of lining lycra overlocked (serged) to it and then the pieces are sewn together using a stretch stitch.

serge liing 2
Pieces ready to be sewn together.

The first pieces I sew together are the 2 backs because as soon as I’ve done that I get to sew in my wee label. Having a label for my tutus says to me I’m doing a job I love, not a job I have to do!

sewing this in is my favourite thing!

Although the tutu is a strong colour everyone agreed that delicate embellishment would be the order of the day. So of course I start with Preciosa crystal AB rhinestones. There are a lot of resin rhinestones around at the moment. They are wonderful for splashes of colour but you can’t beat the subtle glimmer of crystal rhinestones!

rhinestones and embroidery on organza

The lace is rally pretty but takes on a whole new life against the red. Also by pulling it into a rounded shape the lace gets a more 3-D look which adds to the effect. It needed just a little something else so I added some pearlescent flower shaped sequins with a tiny pearl in the middle.

lace on plate

The bodice appliqué is so sweet I thought perhaps just some rhinestones would be enough … for now.

heart bling
bodice bling

Between sewing on the net I give myself other wee jobs to do otherwise I wold go crazy just sewing on net. So before the skirt becomes unwieldy I sew the elastic straps onto the front side seam allowance. The elastic can fray so I give a good 3cm to work with ad leave the straps long at the back for the dancer (or dancer’s mum/nanna to sew on. It’s good to keep a bit of length too in case the dancer stretches out a bit.

sewing on straps
sewing elastic straps
pearls, sequins, seed beads and rhinestones!

Just a bit more textural bling. This is more for the dancer than the audience as it can’t be seen. It only adds a tiny bit of sparkle.

Sewing the plate to the skirt

The plate has to be sewn down to the skirt so it doesn’t flap around. I sewed it firmly to emphasize the little scallops that make the plate look like a pretty flower.

Pretty little red and white tutu ready to go west

This tutu was a delight to make. Little swoop sleeves were added as will for a finishing touch and trimmed with narrow embroidered organza.

This tutu was just a bit too small for the mannequin but it shows that these stretch tutus will last girls up to 2 years. The smallest size for this mannequin is for a 6-8 year old and the 4-6 pattern just squeaks on.


Published by barbarasanders2077

I am a costumier living and working in Sydney's leafy upper North Shore. I specialise in dance costumes (particularly classical ballet tutus) but I also love the challenges presented by stage and film costuming and am always looking for new costume genres to explore.

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