Apricot, Ivory and White tutus

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

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Elegant simplicity

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

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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.

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Paquita

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.

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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.

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Close second

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

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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

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tiny pink

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Three ways with the Silver-white lace

Finding lace and trimmings for costumes is a never-ending task; EBay, Aliexpress, op-shops, generous gifts all make for a lively versatile inventory. But sometimes you can get stuck. Well here’s how I used white and silver in three different ways – not because I’d run out of ideas but because 3 separate clients all chose similar pretty lace for white lyrical costumes.

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Silver sequin lace from Spotlight (the rhinestones were my addition)

This lace is readily available from Spotlight stores on Australia and New Zealand. It’s quite versatile but is becoming a little overused. So circumstances call for some creativity to reinvent this useful fabric. In the picture above it is overlaid on knitted lace and has a few rhinestones added.

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Stretch lace over lycra

In the first costume the motifs from the lace were blinged up with crystal AB rhinestones and used to decorate the skirt and bodice of the costume.

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close up of lace motif on upper bodice

The sequin lace blends beautifully into the lycra/stretch lace combo.

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back view

The lace motifs are continued around the back of the bodice and onto the lace sleeve. This is a lovely simple costume for a young dancer. The current trend for bare midriff is included but with plenty of coverage elsewhere.

The second costume is a lyrical with a long stretch mesh skirt.

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White Lyrical costume using silver lace

In this case the a corded silver lace covers the seam between the lycra and the white sequin mesh on the upper bodice. I’ve condensed space between the motifs to give a more solid silvery effect.

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close up of back

The Spotlight lace could easily have been used here as well with a similar effect.

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back keyhole

The addition of the corded lace over the seam between the lycra and the white sequin mesh gives the impression of a more complex lace fabric overall.

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Pastel detailing

The final white costume required soft pastel colours so I thought a bit of hand painting might work well. You can see this is the same lace that was used in the first costume.

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just like colouring in

The apliques were placed on the bodice and continued around onto the back of the skirt.

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hand painted motifs added to costume

While the colours look a little bright here, under stage lights they fade to lovely soft shades.

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appliques on nude mesh

The motifs again were placed over the seam between the upper and lower bodice,

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a few rhinestones added some stronger colour points

And below is the finished costume. So you can see there are plenty of options for creating white and silver costumes.

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soft pastels with white and silver

Blue and Fuchsia Contemporary

On a recent trip to Indonesia, my brother brought home some bright new lace for me. While it wasn’t quite what I might use on a tutu it did pique the interest of one of my clients for a new contemporary costume.

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The lace is turquoise net with fuchsia embroidery and blue sequins

The lace itself was a greenish turquoise but it blended beautifully with the royal blue lycra. On the back here I have sewn additional appliques across the top of the gathered lace and onto the waistband.

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Appliques on bodice

I decorated the crop top with appliques and rhinestones.

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all ready for the stage

 

Burgundy Contemporary costume

This costume uses a lovely combination of burgundy and wine red fabrics as well as a dusty rose sequinned lace. I love finding unusual fabrics that sing together beautifully. On the back of the skirt you can see the wine coloured lycra, burgundy skirt and dusty rose lace edge.

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back detail

I used some of the motifs from centre of the lace to decorate the crop top as well as augmenting the lace with burgundy and crystal AB rhinestones.

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front detail

The costume was for a young dancer so a crop top was preferred over a bra top. We made the back a little fancy for her though with a strappy cross-over. The diagonally placed applique continued around the back just a little.

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back detail

 

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completed costume

 

Matilda’s Garden tutu

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.

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staring point

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.

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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.

decorated bodice

decorated bodice

The skirt was a mixture of mauve and light purple net and a layer of glitter tulle.

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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.

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first version of the plate

The final version of the plate has a lovely delicacy about it.

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plate detail

I was very pleased with this rather whimsical little tutu. It’s very sweet and age appropriate.

bodice detail

bodice detail

The addition of the green butterflies just makes me laugh every time I see them remembering my funny little conversations with the charming Matilda.

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finished tutu

 

 

Spider

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.

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Spider unitard

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.

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unitard back

And what does a dancer do backstage waiting for her call? Method acting!

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spider on the wall