Mint and SIlver Tutu

As the frenetic Sydney Eisteddfod season draws to an end after the mid year school holidays I still get a few tutus to do for regional eisteddfods that run in August and September. It can usually fit these in with not too much difficulty. I got a call from a client wanting a tutu in 4 weeks. I had a space on my schedule and actually got it done very quickly. They picked it up on Saturday and the young girl danced in it on the Sunday, not expecting the tutu to be available until late August!

When I spoke to them on the phone they were looking at a pink tutu but when they came for the consultation the mint tutu in the corner (for another client) changed their mind.

Silver and white corded lace

This lace has tiny holographic sequins all over it giving the lace a lovely glimmer on stage. To break up the colour a bit some green rhinestones will be perfect!

colour-graded skirt layers (640x424)
colour-graded skirt layers

While the mint colour is very pretty too much of it can be a little overwhelming so we decided to grade the skirt from mint to white. Again I had great fun dyeing the layers.

leotard (424x640)

Because the shortest layers of the tutu are white I matched the bottom of the leotard to the net colour. We don’t want to see a pale green bottom poking out of the white underskirt!

blinging up appliques (640x424)
blinging up the appliques

The lace we chose had these lovely individual pieces of cording scattered across it. Carefully cutting them out and trimming off the excess backing material yields perfect bodice appliques. A few green rhinestones and here we have a perfect match for the lace overskirt.

trying out placement (640x424)
trying out applique placement

This wasn’t my final design but I had to start somewhere. I play around with these until the design falls into place. Then I take a a fw snapshot to finalise the design. This is a good thing to do because the camera will see things you don’t. The I sew the appliques onto the bodice on one of these fabulous body boards. No more sewing appliques to the mannequin!

plate construction (640x424)
plate construction

The selvedge of the lace was neatly trimmed off and arranged around a net plate cut to fit the shape of the skirt. I cut down into the bottom of the lace and pulled a little piece forward so that I could curve the straight edge around. I then pinned it all in place and sewed it down with silver embroidery thread using a darning foot and dropping the feed-dogs. This is my favourite technique for making a flat plate!

side CU (424x640)
bodice detail

I decided the bodice detail needed to be longer, drawing the eye from the lace on the bodice to the overskirt and linking the two.

tutu side on (424x640)

The corded lace flowers look like they’re tumbling down. I couldn’t resist a rhinestone at the point of the embellishment.

plate CU (640x424)
plate floating on the skirt

This style of plate is clean and simple and gives a lightness to a tutu letting the skirt colours show through.

tutu (424x640)
finished tutu

And here is the lovely young dancer after performing brilliantly at her eisteddfod.


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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