Blue and Gold Championship Tutu

One of my clients asked me to make a championship tutu for her daughter with just a few colours a no-go and the brief … lovely, layered, textured and romantic.

Here’s my interpretation of her brief …


bodice CU

Bodice decoration

I used a combination of 2 different laces on the bodice and a range of blue rhinestones.



back decoration


The main applique was white with light gold cording. To bring a textural effect I used bright gold venise lace and some topaz horse-eye navettes.



plate detail

I used the same applique on the plate with a few touches of venise lace. Between each of these appliques I placed a diamond of blue net edged with soft gold lace with a venise lace applique in the centre.



plate detail

You can see the effect of the three different gold colours is quite loves and provides depth to the design. Here is picture of both parts of the late together.




I was very happy with the design and the overall effect. I think It has attracted the most likes of any of my posts on FB.







Dusty Rose and French Lace

I love collecting pieces of lycra in unusual colours so that I can offer my clients something a little different from the colours available from retail fabric suppliers. However, that means I can sometimes paint myself into a corner trying to find the right trim. I was just about ready to ring my client and throw myself on her mercy for a colour change when I found the last few pieces of a very pretty pink French lace. This trim usually attracts a premium but I was so grateful to the Embellishment Gods that I used it on the tutu at no extra charge.

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embellished bodice

I used the motifs on the lace to make a delicate irregular border on the plate and to float from the plate onto the skirt. The lace really didn’t need any more sparkle but I added some crystal AB stones for a little colour shift.


skirt detail

Plate detail

The effect of the plate was a very pretty soft and intricate edge. This perfectly suited the choreography and the dancer’s temperament.



Skirt and plate

The skirt itself was a mixture or lilac, pink and white. The feathered edge complemented the delicate design and colours.





Champagne and Silver

I really like it when colour schemes I wouldn’t have thought of are suggested to me. A client saw a tutu I had made in a warm champagne colour and thought that it would suit silver trim.



I used a combination of light topaz and crystal AB rhinestones to break up the thicker parts of the silver applique I used.



plate detail

I matched the champagne lycra with champagne net. I wanted a light effect so I used a net plate rather than a lycra plate. In the picture above you can see the subtle sparkle from the glitter tulle at layer 2.



Champagne and Silver tutu


This is such a lovely colour I ordered more lycra from the supplier as I have a few RTW ideas for this colour with a little bit of air-brushing.








Apricot, Ivory and White tutus

My last multiple post will be those enduring colours of the ballet world, white, ivory and apricot.


Elegant simplicity

A lovely white tutu with silver venise lace, crystal AB rhinestones and a simple overlay of silver white lace.


Ruched white bodice

This design took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but I think my client and I came up with a real winner. Silver venise lace and crystal AB rhinestones again team beautifully with crisp white. The ruched bodice and underbust decorations are now one of my favourite designs.



This lovely Paquita made her debut at the Sydney Eisteddfod this year. The ivory particularly suited the young dancer’s olive complexion.

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Gold and ivory

The ornate geometry of the decorations gave a baroque feel to this tutu. The skirt was a mixture of white and ivory to reduce the starkness of an all white skirt.

3Q profile

My favourite tutu this year

I know I shouldn’t have favourites amongst my “children” but this beauty still takes my breath away. The upper bodice is covered in stretch lace and the decorations are a combination of apricot, copper and gold. There is a single layer of apricot net that gives the skirt a pretty blush.


Close second

And this tutu is the very close second. It’s pretty and romantic. I had great fun constructing the ornate plate.


Red, Pink and Coral Tutus

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been asked to make some beautiful coloured tutus this year. Here is a series of red, pink and coral tutus


tiny pink

Let’s start with this tiny pink confection with the soft white feathered skirt revealing a pink underskirt.


Fairy Doll

Next is a cute little character tutu for the Fairy Doll. She always features ribbons and bows and lots of sparkle. I did quite a lot of ruched bodices last year. They’re not difficult and look quite lovely.


Magenta and Silver

This tutu was quite simple but had quite a dramatic effect with the white corded lace over the small magenta hip plate. Pink and crystal AB rhinestones gave it some lovely sparkle.


dusty rose and french lace

This soft pink colour was beautifully enhanced with silver french lace. I had a small amount left over from another tutu and there was just enough to encrust this tutu.


Fuchsia and gold

The embroidery on the lace was a perfect match for the fuchsia plate. I firmly believe you shouldn’t be permitted to use fuchsia fabrics unless you can spell it. The colour refers to the vibrant pink of the Fuchsia flower named after Herr Fuchs, the 19th century German botanist.


coral tutu

The top layer of the skirt if slightly shorter than layer 2 so the bright orange net peeks through. This tutu gets great comments from adjudicators.


Watermelon and Gold

The colour of this tutu is divine. I teamed it with gold venise lace and the top layer of the skirt is a soft champagne colour.


Silver, white and red velvet

This tutu teams bright red with crisp white and silver for a stunning effect. Depending on music or choreography this tutu could be so many different characters.


A touch of Spain

And the last of my red/pink tutus is this ornate red, white and gold that has a light Spanish flair about it.


Purple and Burgundy Tutus

Purple and burgundy are beautiful rich colours that make for stunning stage costumes.


Burgundy and Gold

The combination of burgundy velvet, venise lace and a full lace overskirt is a perfect Paquita.


Cherry burgundy and silver

Changing the colour tones slightly to cooler silver and purple gives a tutu a whole new character.


Aubergine and Purple

The colours in this tutu were beautiful. I even included some red in the skirt for an extra bit of zing.


Iris and Gold

My clients provided this beautiful ornate lace and asked for a deep purple velvet to accompany it.


Light Purple and Gold





Lilac Tutus

Last year seemed to be the year of the Lilac Fairy. Here are 6 variations on a theme.




This tutu was very pretty with pinks and mauves moving against each other in the skirt. The lilac corded lace spills onto the skirt where you can see the multiple skirt colours.


Emily’s Lilac Fairy

This tutu was embellished with silver venise lace and rhinestones. The top layer of net is sparkle tulle and it is a little shorter than the next layer to give a soft colour shift at the edges.


Lilac and white

This is a tiny little lilac fairy for a 4 year old. It is embellished with white corded lace, pearls and rhinestones.


Lilac Fairy

This Lilac Fairy was made as a RTW tutu. It uses the same lace as the first tutu but I used the selvedge to trim the plate and it gives the plate quite a different look.


White and Lilac

This tiny tutu uses the same lace as the tutu above but you can see on a white background it has a different effect. Compare it to the next tutu using the central motifs of the same lace.


another lilac fairy!



Blue Tutus

This last 12 months has been completely awash with tutus and I apologise for not blogging more. I promise the next 12 months will include more detailed posts. So for now I’ll just catch up with photos of completed tutus. This first post will be for blue tutus.

blue french lace 3Q

blue French lace

There is a lovely lightness about the lace overlay on this skirt. I don’t often make a tutu without a matching plate but this worked so beautifully.

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Hand Dyed corded lace

This tutu began life as a RTW tutu after I hand-dyed some corded lace as an experiment. It was so pretty I built the tutu around it.  The tutu was listed on a tutu sellers page and sold in 2 hours. Sorry, it didn’t even make it to my RTW page.



Royal Blue and Venise Lace

Royal blue and gold are perfect partners and I especially like this ornate gold venise lace. A liberal hand with the blue rhinestones added a bit of extra colour to the lace which can sometimes be a little overwhelming.

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corded lace

This pretty fine corded lace has a metallic thread through it giving some extra sparkle. It’s actually dark blue so stands out well against the light blue.


Pretty full lace overskirt

The lace overskirt was another dyeing triumph. We needed a pale blue sparkly overskirt and this pretty silver-white lace from Spotlight took on a lovely light blue colour. Even the sequins were dyed!


Pretty little blue and silver

It was lovely making this for a dear little girl. She was so excited about her first tutu!


Pas D’Esclave

I like making a little bodice like an Indian choli for these tutus and decorating them richly with venise lace and rhinestones. The off-the-shoulder effect looks terrific on stage.



This was a lovely choice for Esmeralda, a soft turquoise blue with a tiered skirt and long mesh sleeves. We also added a deep back to show off the dancer’s flexibility.

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deep back

And to finish off the blue theme, another sweet tiny tutu for a 4 year old just starting her ballet solos.


Velvet and roses





White and Silver

This delicate little tutu has been a team effort between a grandmother, a mum a young dancer … with me as facilitator. Together we’ve created a delicate white tutu that still has plenty of character to support the choreography and music.

The blank canvas for the tutu is this simple white leotard made from Dani Legge’s brilliant pattern. It’s self-lined with lycra and ready for decoration.

leotard finished

We chose a silver and white corded lace for the design. This type of lace has motifs embroidered onto a net background. These can be cut from the lace and the edges won’t fray.

Starting point

Silver and white corded lace

I have also trimmed the motifs into smaller shapes and secured the cut ends with small ss16 crystal AB rhinestones. and then pinned them into place.

pinning on front motifs

bodice motifs ready to be hand-sewn

I used a body board to stretch the leotard and so that I can hand sew the motifs in place. You can see the small rhinestones that have already been attached to the lace.

pinning on back motifs

back motifs

The young dancer has a lovely supple back so we decided to show it to best advantage by lowering the back a little and also decorating it with some motifs.

treasure chest

treasure chest

I augmented the bodice and back designs with a few sew-on rhinestones to complete the final design.

plate construction

plate construction

This tutu will have a small plate about 1/3 the width of the skirt. In the picture above I have placed 10 motifs (5 pairs of mirror images) around the central section that will be cut out to fit around the high hip. The white lycra will be trimmed close to the edge of the lace to give a finely dissected and delicate plate.

sewing on appliques

sewing on appliques

Tutus are stage costumes not couture pieces. They have to withstand robust treatment so secure machine stitching can keep things effectively in place without diminishing the general effect. I used a fine metallic silver thread to catch the edges of the motifs and then glued ss16 and ss20 crystal AB rhinestones to the appliques to secure them further.

plate construction 2

trimming the plate with applique scissors

I trimmed away just enough of the lycra so that the lace edge defines the plate. The inside circumference of the plate was clipped so it could fit around the leotard neatly.

plate construction 3

finished plate

I put the plate aside and started on the skirt. The 7 net layers had been previously cut, gathered and steamed. So starting with the longest layer I started to build the tutu.

layer 1 goes on

first layer of net

Layer 2 was glitter tulle. Its much softer than ballet net but with stiff ballet net through the rest of the tutu the softness is accommodated. Glitter tulle at layer 2 gives a soft ballet glimmer. For a sparkly Sleeping Beauty Fairy I’d use glitter tulle as the top layer.

pinning layer 2

pinning layer 2

After all the layers were on I tamed the tutu by tacking the layers together; 7, 6 and 5, then 5, 4 and 3 and finally 3, 2 and 1. These 3 rows of tacking hold the tutu into a classical shape but still allow for movement. My tutus are an English classical shape rather than the ultra flat pancaked style.


plate detail

The mannequin has a funny little pot tummy. This tutu is for a very petite dancer so the tutu will have quite a different silhouette on our petite dancer.

bodice detail

bodice detail

I’ve lowered the back a little and added some appliques. You can see here how the plate has a lovely delicate tracery to it rather than a formalised shape.


back detail

We’ve also added some delicate little arms frills in glitter tulle to the ensemble. They have been decorated with matching corded silver lace and rhinestones. I’ve used nude coloured elastic so that there isn’t a strong white line of elastic against the arms.

arms frills

arms frills

And finally the full reveal


completed tutu



Tiny Sugar Plum

This tutu is baby pink for a very young little dancer. How could I resist making a pink tutu for a tiny girl? We started with a beautiful embroidered lace with opalescent sequins which I embellished with rhinestones.


embellished motif

The skirt was chiefly white but I put a layer of pink under the top layer of white glitter tulle to soften it a little.


skirt colours

The bodice of the tutu was a lovely light pink. The motif was quite bright so it didn’t get lost with the pink on pink decoration.

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bodice detail

This was a perfect design for a tiny sugar plum fairy.


sweet little tutu

And here is the sweet little thing herself with her arm frills added, her hair in a ballet bun and ready to try on the tutu with her tights and ballet shoes.

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tiny dancer