Photography demands a tutu, right?

The pictures of dance I’ve been assessing have one thing in common. Tutus. Of course, this means I’ll need one (or more!) for my dancer-model to wear.

The range goes from ‘no sew’ tutus made for a few $$ using spools of tulle tied onto elastic. (The more tulle, the thicker and more substantial it gets.)

Image titled Make a Tutu Step 6

… to up to $4000 tutus made for professional ballet companies, with miles of tulle, lace, beading and other embellishments.

Paula Drake of Tutus Divine

My budget is closer to the tied-tulle versions than the $4000 ones. Ahem.

Some other options closer to my budget are ones like this pretty crisscross tutu .

Or more streetwear styles like this tutu-skirt made from layers of fabric and tulle circles with holes cut out for the waist, sewn onto the elastic waistband.

DIY Tulle skirt tutorial


Speaking of budget, I did the sensible thing and ‘shopped my stash’ (In sewing lingo this theoretically means you look in your stash for fabrics for your project and use that instead of buying more fabric. In reality it means you sit there petting your favourite fabrics for half an hour before you go to the fabric store and buy MORE fabric, hopefully for your project, and then a whole lot more fabric for your stash as well…)

I found in my stash a small amount of white bridal tulle netting thingy, some lightweight white lace, and some pink chiffon and black chiffon I bought latin dance outfits I never got round to making. Nice and appropriate they are used for dance after all! In addition, there are masses of tiny opalescent seed beads, and some bigger ones in the same colour, and all sorts of different ribbons and trims.

Through my intensive research into my latest favourite sewing project making tutus I’ve discovered that the prettiest ones are made using a mixture of colours. White with dark pink should work well. Another possibility would be to use all three colours – pink, black and white. I’ll have to experiment with different variations and consider the results – and consult my dance model, before I cut into the fabrics.

Once I’ve worked out what will go into the tutu, I’ll try simply gathering all the fabric in layers onto an elastic waistband. This is a very simplified version of how professional tutus are made. It creates a fuller silouette from the waist than the tutu-skirt. If I don’t like the fuller effect I can still cut the fabrics into circles or come up with some other idea.

If you’re curious about how a proper ballet tutu for performance is made, here is a great description.

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