Buttery cream and ivory tutu

The tutu-making year has slowed down just a little and before it picks up again I thought I’d put together a little ready to wear tutu. During the year ideas for tutus come to me when I’m discussing tutus with clients. Lots of ideas are discarded but sometimes an idea just sticks in my head for later.  The Phantom ice skating dress was made from a beautiful buttery cream lycra and I thought it would team beautifully with a small piece of French lace I had stashed away from Recherche Dance Fabrics.

Recherche lace (640x424)

Cream lycra and yellow beaded lace

The colours were so beautiful together but still fresh and uncomplicated. I thought it would be lovely for a young dancer and just  bit different from the usual pastels. I teamed it with an ivory skirt with a layer of glimmer tulle and a layer of lemon for subtle shifts of sparkle and colour. The bottom layers were white. I dagged the net edges for a softer blend of colours.

net layers (640x424)

ivory to lemon and through to white


I cut around each of the individual motifs on the lace and had about a dozen of 2 shapes. There were very few mirror images so I had to plan out embellishment that would work with repetitions of the same shape. You can see there was a lot of playing around before I decided on a design I liked. They are all pretty so I just picked the one that appealed the most.

applique arrangement 3 (640x424)

applique arrangement 1

applique arrangement 2 (640x424)

applique arrangement 2

applique arrangement 1 (640x424)

applique arrangement 3

I decided on the following one. In the pictures, you can just see the layer of ballet net with a central ellipse cut out to match the hip line of the skirt.

applique arrangement 4 (640x424)

final design

There’s a bit of fiddling with the appliques to have them fit around the ellipse; a true circle is much easier, but dancers are elliptical in cross-section!

pinned appliques (640x424)

pinned motif

Here the net plate is much easier to see. Once the applique was sewn on I trimmed the net around the inner and outer edge of the applique so I had a sort of wreath of appliques. I usually use my darning foot with the feed-dogs down to sew this type of lace to the plate but my regular sewing machine was away for its annual check-up; thimble thread and needle served me well though.

bodice decoration (640x424)

bodice decoration

I decorated the bodice with the few small pieces of mirror image pieces from the scalloped edge of the lace and augmented it with a little hand-beading. I love these little flower shaped sequins. The opalescent pink and cream was perfect!

bodice detail (424x640)

hand beading

I added a couple of faceted AB acrylic beads as a focal point to the bodice.

bodice detail 2 (424x640)

bodice detail

The tutu went together beautifully.  The warm cream tones are enhanced by the glimmer of the sparkle tulle in the second layer and the lemon net is warmed by the ivory top layer. Photos never quite capture the essence though.

skirt detail (640x424)

skirt detail

This little tutu is for sale for $375 plus postage and will fit girls size 8-10; chest 60-65cm, waist 50-55cm, hips 65-70cm and girth 115-120cm.

tutu front (640x424)

pretty little thing


8 thoughts on “Buttery cream and ivory tutu

  1. Natalie says:

    This is so beautiful! You are very talented. I love the colours as well.

  2. Himiyu says:

    Hi Barbara, This is certainly a Nice Tutu; I really like the colors used. Would you mind if I ask you a general question concerning a future tutu project that I am looking to work on ? It’s very informal/recreational compared to what you do but because you understand tutu- construction so well, I wanted to ask you.

      • Himiyu says:


        Thank you so much for your willingness to answer my question. In a month or two, for a community project more so, I am looking to give away free simple tutu’s ( the same color scheme for all of them ) to young girls that are in shelters for Christmas. However, I am not willing to compromise on the quality and I do not want to give these girls poor tattered tutu’s that will not hold up ( though recreational/informal). These tutu’s will not have a bodice or anything, they will just be a basic romantic tutu. What would be the best way for me to do a project like this ? It is self-funded so that is one important consideration 🙂

        Thank you for your time ~

  3. If you apply the soft tulle to a band of wide elastic you’ll get the romantic tutu look without fitting issues. If you get 2″ wide elastic you can apply a row of gathered tulle (about 6 yards) to the top. Cut the next layer 1/2″ shorter and apply 1/2″ below the top layer. A third layer of soft dress net will make the skirt less transparent. Like layer 2, it should be 1/2″ shorter than the previous layer and placed 1/2″ below layer 2. I think that should do the trick. This can be worn over a leotard. Good luck!

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