In 2018 I have resolved to make a few more RTW tutus to test new design ideas on the ballet community. This one was a classical colour combination but with a new lace type that my fellow tutu-maker Danielle Legge brought to my attention. It’s a net based trim that has tiny sequins adhered to it in beautiful baroque-style patterns, just perfect for a tutu.
I’ve added apricot, topaz and jonquil rhinestones to enhance the pattern and break up the cream background a bit.
The long points are arranged to give a star effect over the ivory and champagne skirt.
Most of my RTW tutus are sold very quickly after they are released for sale. I sell them on my FB page and Tutus Off the Rack and a few other FB ballet costume platforms.
Most Australian eisteddfods and dance competitions don’t ask for variations but I do get a lot of requests for variation tutus from the US. Flames of Paris is very popular.
I used a Dani Legge’s peasant pas dress pattern for the bodice and attached the skirt at the high hip rather than the waist. The slightly bell shaped tutu has a layer of white and silver chantilly lace that I used as the foundation for the blue and red ribbon trimming.
Flames of Paris
This was a sweet and quirky little jazz costume that I loved making. The colours were such fun and making the little bathing cap just finished the picture.
The halterneck top was adorned with lycra flowers. I sewed little Indian mirrors onto each as the flower centre. They were another find that I had stashed away for the right application.
The bikini pants has ruffles on the back and I added flowers there as well to continue the theme.
This was a cute and age appropriate costume for a young dancer. I completed the vintage look with a bathing cap.
And here’s an action shot of the dancer.
The dance world seems to be awash with contemporary costumes consisting of a crop-top, dance pants and an attached skirt. So it’s a delight when I’m asked to make something that varies from the trend.
This one piece costume is a gorgeous midnight blue with black appliques and crystal AB rhinestones.
What I love about this Jalie pattern is the yoke and sleeves are one piece so there are no seams in the mesh to distract from the dancer’s line.
yoke has no seams
And the back has a nice deep keyhole for some added interest. I’m looking forward to using this pattern again.
Matilda is 8, turning 9 in August and wanted a green, purple and gold tutu with butterflies. She’s a completely delightful and engaging wee thing and quiet decisive in her tastes. We had a brief chat and quickly decided on colours, trim and embellishment. I eventually made a small change to give the embellishment a pretty lightness.
Once I’d made up the bodice I laid out the trims we had decided on but the venise lace motif was a bit too heavy so I swapped it for some gold corded lace I had used on a tutu last year. There was just a little of it left; no mirror pairs so had to make do. The aim was to fill the gaps with flowers.
corded lace on bodice
In this photo you can see where I have zig-zagged on the mauve pants (to match the net) and the basting line to indicate the first layer of net. The raw edges are completely hidden by the net on the front and on the inside by the lining. The flowers disguise the fact that the corded lace embellishment is not symmetrical.
The skirt was a mixture of mauve and light purple net and a layer of glitter tulle.
gathered and steamed net
The original plan for the plate was venise lace, butterflies and flowers. As you can see in the photo, it’s pretty but a little stark, so I introduced a little of the corded lace onto it and added some rhinestones to bring a bit more purple through the gold lace.
first version of the plate
The final version of the plate has a lovely delicacy about it.
I was very pleased with this rather whimsical little tutu. It’s very sweet and age appropriate.
The addition of the green butterflies just makes me laugh every time I see them remembering my funny little conversations with the charming Matilda.
Emily is not only a talented ballerina (Apricot and Ivory Traditional tutu 8th April 2014) but a very strong and accomplished contemporary dancer. I was asked to make a Cirque de Soleil style unitard for her Spider contemporary piece. I foolishly didn’t take any photos during construction but I’ve recently received photos from backstage at the eisteddfod.
The back is deep wide and open. I used a glittery black lycra for the contrast trim and a heavily sequinned motif on the front. There are long stripes on the front of the legs and underneath the arms. I designed the black shape on the back to make her look like a B&W version of the Australian red back spider.
And what does a dancer do backstage waiting for her call? Method acting!
spider on the wall
This is a little costume for a 10 year old. They wanted a crop top and shorts with a big bow at the back. We hunted through patterns and found this Jalie Ice skating dress and decided to make the crop top from this.
another fabulous Jalie pattern
I’m not a real fan of strappy costumes but this one is quite lovely. It has 4 narrow straps radiating from the neckband to the back of the costume. It’s almost a halter neck. I glammed up the elastic with some Czech rhinestones .
For the front I sewed on a few acrylic rhinestones that have a nice bling effect.
The finishing touch was the bow bustle and the back skirt in blue sparkle tulle. The bling in the middle of the bow is the dancer’s initial!
After the fitting we decided that a unelasticised wide waist band would be better s so I sent Mum and daughter off for cake and coffee while I changed the waistband (and made a wee bow as a hair piece and I needed to tweak one of the straps).
doesn’t the colour suit her!
The back of the costume is so cute … “someone” kept wiggling her bum and looking over her shoulder at it!
It was lovely to meet this lovely bright young dancer and her fabulous Mum! They even bought me a little present for squeezing them into my busy schedule!
The moment I saw the cerise and orange shot dupioni silk I knew I had to make a firebird tutu. I set to work hand-dyeing the net for a gradation from hot pink through to yellow, being inspired by Margot Fonteyn’s Firebird tutu. I also wanted to try out Suzanne’s Dieckman’s new corselet bodice pattern to use a piece of tissue silk I had stashed away. I dyed the tissue silk and hand-beaded it as a labour of love. I’d already cut the layers ready for the skirt when Suzanne suggested that layers 1 and 2 (cerise and red) be swapped around, making the shorter red layer the top one. With the dagged points this gave a beautiful feather effect with a great colour transition. The finishing touch was a series of venise lace wedges around the skirt and matching beaded lace on the bodice.
underside of firebird skirt
Firebird embellished venise lace
Demi Character Costume
This is such a fabulous part of the ballet repertoire. Amongst all the dancing dolls, Lady Macbeths and wicked fairies you occasionally get really quirky characters like this one, a bird protecting her nest. The costume was a turquoise unitard with a completely feather covered bolero that included gloves which extended the arm into a wing. Some coloured hackle pads finished off the ballet-bird look
Lycra unitard with feathered bolero
Bollywood Inspired Jazz Costume
This cute little cozzie was for a solo jazz-bollywood fusion routine. The purple velvet gave a fabulous depth of colour and the offset lace half skirt gave a nod to the sari skirt. The gold trim and rhinestones gave some bollywood bling.