Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Oh God, I Decided to Make a Tutu!

I've made many types of costumes in my past life as a costume maker, but one thing I never made was a classical or pancake tutu. I'd seen them being made when I was working for the ballet many years ago but never had a chance to make one. That job was left to two very talented women whose one and only job was to make tutus. And make them they did, in what seemed to be an amazing feat of engineering and patience. Well, it was my turn to test both my patience and engineering skills.
I looked the length and breadth of the internet, Pinterest became my friend and my main source of inspiration and information. I gathered my information, looked at reviews of patterns and finally decided to go for a tutu pattern and instructions from www.tutupatterns.com.  It was pancake Tutu pattern 200 for a non-stretch tutu.  Sizing was a little bit of an issue because my daughter was between the adult and youth sizing. I went for the adult sizing and everything was just a little too long in the body for her but with my patternmaking skills, I was easily able to adjust it for her.
I also decided to use power net rather than a woven fabric for the pant and used a satin with a cotton lining for the basque.
The pattern instructions are very well written with clear diagrams, most people would be able to follow it easily. The other plus for this pattern is, measurements are given in both metric and imperial. I got the downloadable pattern which did mean quite a bit of tape to get it all together but it was good to be able to get it straight away.
All in all, a test of patience and at times frustrating but well worth it. My, not so little, dancer loves it and I may even make another one.

If you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.

The Tutu

I used beige power net on the inside with black on the outside and hand tacked the two layers together before stitching through all sewing lines. 

I completely finished the pant before going onto the basque.

I followed the pattern instructions exactly for the basque but next time I would make the hip part looser as it gets smaller when the net and pant is attached.

I used a rotary cutter for the net, which made the cutting really fast and easy. A must have for tutu making. I made sure I labeled each layer.

With the lower layers, I didn't seam them, just overlapped them as they went on. I gathered each one separately for each layer then stitched it on before going on to the next layer. I opted for the zig zagging over buttonhole thread for gathering. I pulled the thread up as I went which made it faster. 

I alternated the direction for each layer as it went on. One facing up and one facing down.

Butt ruffles done!

Now for the serious job of getting this net on. I was buried behind a sea of scratchy net that seemed to have a mind of its own. 

I didn't do much pinning but as it got more unmanageable with each layer I did start using them near the end.

It really did look like a giant black Chrysanthemum when I had all the layers on. 

I pinned and hand tacked the basque to the pant and net because it was just so hard to handle. Even with doing this I had to unpick a couple of times before it was perfect. 

Once this was done I machined on the outside in the ditch and then hand stitched the inside seam. 

After a couple of days rest to recover from the net nightmare it was time to tack. I used the tacking method in the instructions which seemed to work quite well. 

I did steam the layers lightly as I went which helped (I think).

All tacked and ready for finishing. 

All Finished!


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