Paquita Grand Pas Classique

I’m just about to leave for my holiday so I have a little bit of time up my sleeve to blog my last 2015 tutu . This one has quite a bit of detail so get ready to plough in.

starting point

starting point

This is white and gold tutu for Paquita. The accents are a dark gold and red.

decorated leo

decorated leotard

I build the tutu on a lycra leotard with a faux basque to resemble a classical tutu. I use Danielle Legge’s pattern which is available via her FB page or website. If you’re thinking of making your own tutu I’d urge you to use her pattern. It really is the best available.



Next I constructed the plate. Here I have placed the venise lace on the lycra plate. I sewed the lace to the plate with gold metallic thread. Once it was attached I glued on the rhinestones and then trimmed the lycra around the edges of the lace.

lace overskirt

lace overskirt

The plate was about 1/3 the width of the skirt. The lace overskirt filled the remaining 2/3 of the skirt. Here I have gathered the lace lightly to fit around the edge of the plate.

plate and overskirt

plate and overskirt

This tutu had 8 layers of net. Each layer has between 3 and 5 widths of net. I cut them on a self-healing mat with a rotary cutter and a quilter’s ruler. It’s the easiest and most accurate way to cut 60 linear metres of net. Each bundle is numbered as they are only about 2cm different in length and hard to distinguish at a glance. After the widths are cut I feather or scallop the edges if required by the client. For this one I scalloped the edges.

numbered layers

net bundles

The widths are sewn together to make long lengths that are gathered and sewn onto the lower part of the leotard.

sewing widths together

sewing widths together

I sewed the widths together from the outer edge matching the clipped edges. The overlap is about 1cm wide.

rolling net

rolling the net

When the widths are all sewn together I roll them up for ease of handling. When I gather them the roll unrolls from the top so that it doesn’t roll onto the floor.

sewing hoop casing

sewing the hoop casing

Because this tutu has lace right to the edge there is a possibility the net may droop after a few years due to the additional weight even though the net I use is very stiff. If the tutu does need a little bit of a pick up after a few years hooping can be inserted. This is much easier to do if the hoop casing is already inserted. I will do this for tutus with wide overskirts even if there is no immediate need for hooping. In this picture you can see a 5cm wide casing being sewn onto the middle of layer 4. The ruler and the edge 0f the pressure foot are the guides for placement.

hoop casing

hoop casing

If hooping were to be inserted it would be done just before this layer is tacked. The hooping wire is covered in light fabric to match the skirt and pushed though the casing.

net on leo

ready for tacking

Tacking starts at the bottom three layers. The remainder are held up out of the way with some wide elastic. The bottom three layers are tacked together. The next 2 layers are dropped down and tacked to the top layer of the first 3 that were tacked together. This is continued to through all the layers. The tutu is therefore constructed of groups of 3 layers of net tacked together which are internally attached to one another. This allows the tutu to move softly but without the layers fluffing up.

CU plate detail

plate detail close up

This photo shows the variation in the rhinestones I used.

plate detail

plate detail

The plate was sewn as close to the bodice as possible through the top layer of net. The very edge of the lace can either be sewn with gold metallic thread onto the top layer of net or tacked on using the same tags that are used to hold the tutu layers together.

bodice detail

bodice detail

The red and dark gold rhinestones add a warmth to the decoration.




Blue Roses Stretch Tutu

I made this tutu as a RTW tutu. I had a tiny bit of the blue ribbon rose lace left and I thought I could eke out a design with it. Turquoise velvet was the perfect choice to match the lace.

bodice detail

bodice detail

The lace is quite simple so I blinged it up a little with rhinestones.

plate detail

plate detail

I trailed the lace onto the skirt for a soft delicate look. The tendrils were caught by  thread through the top layer of the skirt. I prefer the look of  lightly floating plate rather than mounting it on net.


completed tutu

I submitted the tutu to a FB page selling RTW tutus and it sold within a couple of days. I’ll try to reprise the design a few different ways and add the style to my repertoire.

Apprentice Fairy Demi Costume

I do love requests like this one. I was asked to make a pink and gold “apprentice fairy” costume with golden wings. The client and I decided on an upside down tutu, with the shortest layers at the top, in a multitude of pinks. Here’s what I came up with.


pink skirt

and to give a ballet feel to the costume we added little pink arm frills with gold venise lace to match the bodice.


arm frills

The wings were made from gold stiff net covered with fine gold glitter tulle. I used a little more venise lace to tie all the costume elements together.



I added a little pink dew drop tiara.



The sweet little fairy looked so gorgeous on the back steps in my garden.



Five Traditional Tutus

It really was a very busy year for me so blogging has had to take second place to actually getting tutus made. I promise to be a bit more organised in 2016 and blog a bit more detail rather than just photos.

In the meantime, here are 5 traditional tutus I completed in the second half of 2015.

The diamond fairy was made with a lovely “dragon-skin” brocade from a favourite fabric shop in Sydney. The skirt was hooped to support the weight of the full lace overskirt.


The Lilac Fairy was made from shantung and dupioni and decorated with French lace. Glitter tulle in layer 2 made this Lilac Fairy really sparkle on stage.


Lilac Fairy I

Another Lilac Fairy was made from aqua/pink shot dupioni and aqua corded lace.



I also made 2 lovely royal blue tutus, one with gold and the other with silver.


Silver and blue


Gold and Blue

Esmeralda Classical Tutu and Peasant Pas costume

One of my US clients sent me a box of beautiful fabrics and appliques to make her daughter an Esmeralda classical tutu and a Peasant Pas costume.


Indian appliques and dupioni silk

Both costumes were made from the emerald green dupioni but I slightly darkened the fabric for the peasant pas dress by overlaying it with fine black tulle.



The middle panels of this costume were made from beaded silk chiffon overlaid on the silk dupioni.



The costume was finished off with a hip scarf made from crimson sari silk embroidered with gold medallions.


peasant pas costume

The off-the-shoulder sleeves, faux chemise and overskirt were silk chiffon. The underskirt was 3 layers of fine tulle. The tulle was sewn in 4 gores per layer to reduce the amount of bulk at the waist.


tutu bodice

Accompanying the emerald dupioni was some forest green silk chiffon. I used this as a ruched chemise on the top part of the tutu. To add a little more drama I sewed a scattering of green seed beads across the bodice.


plate detail

The Indian appliques that I was sent were a very pale gold. The green silk was such a strong colour I thought it needed a little something to balance the the design. A robust yellow gold trim did the trick.



A scalloped ivory skirt finished the picture.

And here are the 2 costumes together.


classical tutu and peasant pas costume