Apricot and Ivory Traditional tutu

Sydney is a big place and when people come all the way to see me from outside the metropolitan area for a tutu I’m pretty amazed at their dedication to their art. Recently I had 2 Mums, 2 dancers and a gaggle of young hangers-on visit me from Wollongong. They were Carmel and her daughter Sian and Sam and her daughter Emily. I’ve just finished Emily’s tutu and will start on Sian’s this afternoon … stay tuned for that one too!

Emily wanted a 2 coloured tutu with the top of the bodice in a light colour and the rest in  pastel. I let Emily go into my fabric stash to choose a main fabric. She came out with a beautiful apricot brocade which I teamed with a warm ivory Thai silk. Sam (I think) had already eyed off a textured ivory lace on the shelf and the 3 fabrics went together beautifully. How does that happen? These 3 fabrics had lived peacefully in my studio for some time and had never “met” one another. I was very pleased that Sam and Emily introduced them.

1. apricot and ivory (678x1024)
Brocade, silk and embroidered tulle lace

The first stage is cutting up the toile to create the corselet bodice AND adding the new seam allowance.

2. corselet bodice (1024x678)
toile cut into corselet and bodice

This went together beautifully. I think I’ll make this up again and let the lines shine through and not use trim. But the trim was beautiful when it went on.

3. bodice front (1024x678)
bodice lines

The lace is beautifully sculptural and I managed to put a tiny unobtrusive dart into it to make it curve around the bust. The next step was trying out placement of the venise lace.

11. pinning on venise lace (1024x678)
lace placement on bodice

Once the bodice was sorted out and decorated I started on the skirt. Rather than a solid ivory skirt I suggested some apricot layers. The apricot net I had in my stash had too much red in it so I hand-dyed some net with Dharma Trading Saffron Spice acid dye. It was a perfect warm apricot colour.

4. two layers of apricot (1024x678)
steamed skirt layers

I initially thought layer 2 and 4 could be apricot but the colour was too strong so i just left it at layer 2 and the apricot peeking through was lovely and soft.

6. layer 3 (1024x678)
layers 1,2 and 3

With each layer the decision to add just one layer of apricot was clearly to right one.

7. apricot layer in skirt (1024x678)
lovely soft apricot and ivory colours

The skirt plate needs to tie in the decoration on the bodice so I repeated the venise lace on the plate. We decided inverted scallops would suit the lace best. To extend the lace along the points I cut a small heart shape out, turned it upside down and added one of the little leaf.

12. rearranging trim (1024x678) (2)
rearranged venise lace

I blinged up the venise lace before it was hand sewn to the skirt before the bodice and basque were sewn on.

10. skirt plate (1024x678)
skirt plate


The tutu came together beautifully. There are also little lace arm frills as well but they are so hard to photograph!

029 (678x1024)
bodice detail
14. Skirt (1024x678)
finished skirt
020 (1024x678)
finished tutu

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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