This may just be my favourite tutu of the year! I love strong colours and this tutu ticked all of the boxes. I was actually sad when Sandra came to pick it up!
Now while these colours look a little like a football jumper when they’re just sitting on my work bench, see what happened after they were gathered and steamed.
sunlight catching the colours
And from above you start to get an idea of how the skirt will really look!
It’s quite a transition from looking at a roll of net to the actual effects of the colours in an eight layer skirt.
adding lycra pants
The bodice fabric was a closer match for the plum coloured net but we wanted the bottom ruffles to be burgundy so the pants had to be a different colour. I made the pants separately and overlapped them on the wrong side of the velvet and zig-zagged them on. You can see this technique more clearly in Matilda’s Garden tutu.
Once the leotard is made up I use a french curve to deepen the front V for the insert. Note the smooth gradation from the original shape. The purple line indicates where I will finish the elastic.
When the elastic has been sewn on I fold it under and baste the unelasticated section in place with a piece of crystal lycra filling in the gap I have created (see further down).
Applique test 1
At this point I see how the applique will fit and what I could do to improve the shape. This applique is too big so I’ve cut a few bit of it off and moved them around.
Applique test 2
Here you can see I’ve snipped off a few little pieces and added them to the top of the bodice. I’ve also cut off the little bunch of leaves from the bottom as I had another idea for the bottom of this.
Applique test 3 and final
The little bunch of leaves has been moved to the centre of the applique and a new bottom point has been added. The bottom point is from a piece of venise lace I will use for the plate. Once the design is finished I apply the rhinestones and then sew the blinged up applique to the leotard bodice.
Rhinestones on applique
The rhinestones are not just for sparkle. By choosing stones that match or complement the underlying fabric you bring more of the “negative space” though the design making it less blocky and more delicate.
Pinning venise lace onto plate
The plate is a simple circle to take greatest advantage of the outline of this gorgeous lace. The edges of the plate was simply overlocked but it could be left untreated as this fabric does not fray. Once in place I machine stitched the lace to the plate using gold thread in the needle and burgundy thread in the bobbin. I use Kingstar metallic thread as it is tough and not temperamental.
I decided the original lace needed a bit more shape as I wanted to divert the eye away from the circular shape so I cut some little hearts out of another lace I have. I quick email discussion with my client and we decided to amp things up a little more and added the beautiful purple french lace motifs to the plate. From the audience perspective this will add sparkle and texture to the plate.
And here, against the sumptuous colours of the skirt you can really see the final effect. I loved watching these ideas come together!
The stones of the bodice were a mixture of burgundy, blue, purple and even a tiny bit of green. Crystal AB rhinestones were added for a bit of ballet glimmer.
I was definitely in LOVE when it was all finished. Folks who visited the studio while it was in residence felt the same. My daughter would pop downstairs just to look at it. Sigh. Yes, this is why I make dance costumes!