Purple and Silver

I’ve had a bit of a love affair with ribbon roses this year. I adore using them. They are simple and provide texture as well as colour.


starting point

The silver and purple corded lace was a perfect match for the deep purple lycra. The rhinestones and ribbon roses complemented it beautifully.


Bodice decoration

The bodice looks like a garden of violets


plate detail

I shadowed the plate with a narrow band of glitter tulle edged with a delicate silver trim.



The corded lace forms a pretty tracery on the lycra plate.


Pretty in silver and purple

And the tutu was finished off with a small purple tiara



Lilac and White tutu

This is a simple little tutu for a very young dancer. Pastel and white with a little glimmer is a good choice for a first tutu.

starting point

corded lace with pearls

The leotard has a simple sweetheart neckline which is suitable for a young dancer. The skirt will grade from lilac to white so the panties on the leotard are white as the lowest ruffles of the tutu should match the panties.


lilac leotard

Once the leotard is finished the appliques were sewn on with the leotard stretched over a bodyboard.

bodice detail

The net has been feathered or ‘dagged”. This gives a very soft edge and is perfect for birds and fairies.  Layer 2 is a very sparky glitter tulle and the following layers alternate between orchid, pink and white.



feathered net

The net is attached from the top down. The first layer is attached at the high hip. In this picture you can see layer 2 pinned under layer 1 ready to be sewn on with a zigzag stitch.

attaching net

attaching net

The plate has 6 appliques arranged around the plate in soft points. I’ve used crystal AB rhinestones for  bit of sparkle. The centre hole is an ellipse rather than a circle.

plate construction


The inside circumference was clipped to allow it to fit neatly around the high hip above the first layer of gathered net. I sew the turned under seam allowance to the net as close to the bodice as possible.


plate detail

The lycra plate has been trimmed to match the shape of the appliques.


tiny Lilac Fairy


Three White Tutus

In September this year I had a rush on white tutus. Here are a few pictures of Paquita Etoile, and La Bayadere and the Snow Queen. I also made a Paquita Grand Pas but that will be the subject of a separate post.


white on white

For the La Bayadere tutu I used white appliques on white lycra with crystal AB rhinestones and translucent sequins to highlight the white on white design.


bodice detail

For the skirt I reprised the plate I used for the pale blue prizewinner tutu although I offset the petals a little differently.


plate detail

The petals were constructed from tulle edged with white venise lace.


La Bayadere

I used a heavy gold venise lace for the Paquita Etoile tutu and embellished it with gold and crystal AB rhinestones.


bodice detail

To keep a nice long line through the tutu it’s important to continue the bodice colour down over the hips. That’s why a matching plate is often used. In this case there was no plate just a lace overlay. To effect the continuity of the bodice colour down across the hips I mounted the lace on soft white tulle that gathered tightly close to the bodice.



lace overlay

The tulle gives a lovely soft look to the tutu.



back detail

I had a special request to continue the detail around the back of the tutu as the dancer has  a lovely flexible back and we wanted to bring attention to it.


Paquita Etoile

The Snow Queen tutu is the first asymmetrical tutu I’ve made for a long time.  The brief was to decorate the tutu with a swirl of snow across the bodice spilling onto the skirt.


snow flurry across bodice

I used crystal AB rhinestones  on the silver venise lace.


asymmetrical plate

The plate had a side swoop where rhinestones tumbled across the skirt. The red cast on the stones was just reflection of the early morning sun.


plate detail





Snow Queen

Gold Fairy Variation tutu

The Sleeping Beauty is a favourite ballet with a multitude of characters telling the story of the enchanted sleeping Princess Aurora. Among the jewel fairies in Act III is the Gold Fairy.


Starting Point

The lovely young dancer this costume was made for has a beautiful olive complexion and dark hair. The apricot lycra she chose was a perfect palette for the gold decoration.


steamed ruffles waiting to be attached

The ivory skirt was given a lift by adding apricot net at layer three. This gives a soft blush to the skirt without making the whole tutu too much of one colour. You can also see some subtle glimmer tulle at layer 2.


baroque gold

The embroidered gold appliques added the right amount of Baroque charm to the tutu.


plate trimmed to appliques

The matching plate was about 1/3 the width of the plate. This proportion of thirds is more pleasing to the eye than diving the skirt in half. Fifths also work quite nicely too. The appliques had a lovely shape which I wanted to make the most of so I trimmed the lycra as neatly and as close as I could. But remember, perfect clipping is not really necessary as this is a stage costume so the degree of perfection has 5 metres to attenuate.


lace edge

A wide band of intricate gold lace mounted on fine tulle was added as an overskirt to the plate. This made up another third of the top of the skirt.


skirt detail

The combination of ornate appliques and lace band give the tutu a rather grand appearance.


bodice detail

Teamed with the bodice decoration the whole effect is rather stately but still delicate.


Three Pretty Bluebirds

During the last half of the year I am often making variation tutus for YAGP. Here is a selection of tutus that could inspire any young dancer to be Princess Florine.


bodice decoration

I had only a small amount of this lace left so I had to be creative in making a balanced design from it. The bodice decoration here is augmented with rhinestones, seed beads and sequins.


plate detail

There wasn’t quite enough lace to reach the edge of the skirt so I introduced a little window of glitter net as a design feature. I think it is issues like these that inspire my creativity the most.



The window effect is quite pretty I think. I blinged it up a bit with lightweight acrylic rhinestones.


finished tutu

Et voila … net to the edge of the skirt to give a soft romantic look.


Bodice decoration

This was a combination of a light blue lycra and a darker lace. I wanted to keep the design as a light tracery of lace so that it would not look too heavy against the pale blue.


plate detail

I added some crystal AB rhinestones for a bit of extra glimmer. The tiny flat sequins on the lace accommodated the real sparkle and flash.


completed tutu

I really like who this one turned out. I’ve since had quite few requests for a reprise of this style.


silver and blue tutu

And finally a sweet little blue and silver tutu with a scalloped plate and lace overskirt.


plate detail

The peaks of the scallops were embellished with rhinestones as a focal point.


delicate and pretty

And there we have it. Three Princesses in blue.

Pink and Pearls

Pink and white are traditional colours for a young girl’s first tutu. This one is teamed with pearls and a sprinkling of rhinestones for some subtle sparkle.



Here’s the starting point for the tutu.



The skirt is a slightly paler pink than the bodice so I made lower part of the leotard in pastel pink. I’ve placed the appliques on the bodice to get an idea of final placement.


sewing on appliques

decorating bodice

I glued rhinestones to the appliques. While the glue dried I finished the bodice and attached the elastic straps. This allowed me to stretch the leotard over the body board. The bodice was decorated after the leotard was finished.

clipped plate


I added more half pearls to the plate. The inner circumference was clipped to allow a tidy fit around the high hip.


sewing plate to tutu skirt

I sewed the plate to the very top of the skirt as close as possible to the bodice. The curved needle made the job less fiddly. The very edge of the plate was also loosely sewn to the skirt as well.


finished tutu

I also made a beaded tiara to match.



Pink Velvet and French Lace

I have a small stash of French lace that makes its way out of the fabric inventory for the “right” tutu. This pretty dark pink lace was perfect for soft pink velvet.

starting point

starting point

French lace is the name of a style of beaded and embroidered fine tulle. It may have originally been made in France but these days it’s mostly made in China. It’s a very fine and pretty lace and it particularly good for decorating tutus as individuals motifs can be cut out without unravelling the beads and sequins.

trimmed lace

motif cut from lace

The motifs can then be arranged onto a net plate and also onto the bodice.


lace motifs on net plate

This type of lace has to be hand-sewn in place because of all the beads. The motifs were pinned and then I hand-sewed from the back of the net so the thread wouldn’t get caught around beads. That saved a lot of swearing!

plate detail

lace plate

The linear edge of the lace was folded and stitched at 16 points to allow it to curve around the skirt. The edge of the skirt was left unclipped.



I also made some little arm puffs from the velvet and decorated then with a few pieces of lace.



And also a pink tiara to match.