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.
This is white and gold tutu for Paquita. The accents are a dark gold and red.
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.
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
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.
The widths are sewn together to make long lengths that are gathered and sewn onto the lower part of the leotard.
sewing widths together
I sewed the widths together from the outer edge matching the clipped edges. The overlap is about 1cm wide.
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 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.
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.
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.
plate detail close up
This photo shows the variation in the rhinestones I used.
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.
The red and dark gold rhinestones add a warmth to the decoration.