TUTU making again

Nothing much to say about this one.

I made another tutu! It seemed to drag on and on but I finished it eventually.

I just love the giant puffball stage of making these. They are a wrestle to sew but weirdly fun as they materialise under your sewing machine foot!

Tutu - netting plate sewn onto the stretch leotard.

Tutu – netting plate sewn onto the stretch leotard.

Wondering how that is transformed into a tutu plate? Steam and stitches my friends! My first tutu I used a tagging gun to hold the layers together. This time it felt too ‘fluffy’ so I opted to replace the tags with large tacking style stitches, resulting in a better looking plate. My tagging gun also died on the final round of tagging. It is still a bit wonky but I can probably straighten out that front crease with some more steam. I ran out of time before the eisteddfod!

It wasn’t quite what I envisaged but looked lovely on stage. The contrast of the burgundy, white and gold looked very elegant – and much more grown-up after her last pink, grey & silver tutu.

Zoe on stage in her latest tutu

Zoe on stage in her latest tutu, for a classical interpretation of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Pattern: Dani Legge’s Stretch Tutu pattern, you can find her on facebook.
Supplies: Lycra from my local independent fabric store. White netting from Spotlight. Crystals from AliExpress. Gold lace trims from Aleemah’s Appliques and Trims. Tiara from local dancewear shop (I’ve accepted there is only so much I can make).

I wrote quite extensively about making a tutu a couple of years ago, you can read those here…. the workshop, embellishing & on stage.

The last of the dancewear – Jalie Patterns to the rescue

I know that most are not particularly interested in dancewear. However as it’s a blog about my sewing, I’m blogging about it as it was a sewing tangent I decided to disappear down for a while for my daughter.

This will be the last of the dancewear posts for a long time – I am burnt out from sewing dancewear and attending about 48 hours of dance eisteddfod in two weeks… this is in addition to my full-time job. Most of her dancing was at night and on weekends, convenient yes, exhausting most certainly.

Sewing the tutu made me realise I needed to have more confidence and that I perhaps could sew my daughter’s eisteddfod (competition) costumes. I’ve always lacked the confidence (and interest) to give it a go before!

So I took a deep breath and away I went.

None of these were particularly difficult but thank goodness I have an overlocker!

The Jazz Oufit

This outfit has based around the rather sparkly and floral lycra that we found together on a Cabramatta shopping trip with Susan of Measure Twice, Cut Once (thanks Susan!).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

While it looks quite complex, in reality it wasn’t. The most fiddly past being the attachment of the v-neck band and the chevron seams on the sleeves. The pattern is a Jalie pattern – a cheerleading one – called Anne (No. 3466).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

The silver stripes are first appliqued onto one of the main fabric pieces and then the other edge is captured in the garment seam. Jalie has you simply stitch it down with a raw edge. I thought it would look rather shoddy. So I added a 1/4 seam allowance, turned this under with Wonder Tape and then used honeycomb stitch to applique it to the edge – I got this idea from a sewing lunch – sitting next to Sue (who was wearing a Jalie cardigan from memory) and admiring and discussing her honeycomb hem stitch choice!

It was fun to sew. And age appropriate. Some of the things people let their children wear on stage is just frightening.

The Contemporary Outfit

This was a mutual design job between Zoe and myself, she showed me some outfits she liked and away we went. She wanted a vivid blue and chose electric blue stretch velvet. We were fortunate to find a matching corded blue lace on sale. I bought 1.5m for about $15 – usually would have cost over $50!

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

We used Jalie Gym Shorts & Crop Tops pattern No. 3247.

I underlined the front of the top with plain blue lycra. I added a seam allowance to the neckline and arm holes as I didn’t like the fold-over elastic finish. I simply used elastic and a zigzag stitch. Worked perfectly. I also added a fabric band to the bottom of the crop top to lengthen it a little.

The neckline embellishment is simply a ‘bling’ necklace from my collection of accessories. It originally cost me $5 – it’s no great loss and works perfectly here! I simply sewed it to the neckline and it really gave the outfit a lift on stage

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a handkerchief lace circle skirt

The lace skirt was 1.5m square so I simply cut a circle in the centre, larger than her waist and gather it into the waistband seam of the shorts. I left it square to achieve the ‘handkerchief’ hem effect.

Due to the weight of the lace, I threaded some thick elastic through the waistband so there were no ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ on stage.

Third place

Third place

She wore this for her ‘own choreography’ item in the ‘open’ section and she came third!

The Demi Character Outfit

This one I love. Incredibly simple yet she looks so striking on stage. She needed a ‘jewel thief’ outfit so this is what we came up with.

Zoe dressed as a 'Jewel Thief' in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves.

Zoe dressed as a ‘Jewel Thief’ in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves. Yes, she needs new shoes! No time to break a new pair in before this event unfortunately!

The ballet unitard pattern from (you guessed it) Jalie, No. 2105. Sewn in plain black shiny lycra with stretch lace sleeves. The front is lined to the waist with the same black lycra. The neckline is turned under with black elastic and stitched with my coverstitch machine.

The lace mask came from a local sewing dancewear fabric shops that stocks costumes. It cost $5.


And there you have it. From no dancewear to a tutu and three dancing outfits! It can be done! Jalie patterns have a huge range on offer and can be easily modified. You are just limited by your imagination.

Everyone asks – does she want to be a ‘dancer’. No not really. She’s quite ambitious and wants more than to dance from life. However, she LOVES to dance. So I support her – some kids play hockey, soccer, netball or football… my daughter dances. It’s no different and this has been a lovely project to work on together (although sometimes stressful for me!).

She danced well… she danced a lot… she got some places and some highly commended ribbons. A big achievement considering she is dancing in ‘open’ when she should be in ‘novice’ – her teacher convinced her to dance up at a higher level. It was much tougher but she was a trouper and pleased with her achievements. For her, she simply likes to dance as well as she can. Places are nice but not necessary.

One of the backstage volunteers commended her on her friendliness and manners towards other competitors – it can be unpleasant or unwelcoming backstage at times as some of the competitors can be fierce. I guess everyone deals with these things in different ways. I am proud of how Zoe deals with it. With a smile.

No more dancewear for a long time I promise – back to selfish sewing!

Thanks for bearing with me through this little sewing tangent.

The Tutu – On Stage (part 3)

Zoe in her tutu. Yes, she is talking about the second already

Zoe in her tutu. The photograher cropped and zoomed this image for me.

It’s not quite finished here. For some silly reason I thought 100 Swarovski crystals would suffice. It needs a lot more. There are none on the skirt here and it needs it!

I have 1440 Swarovski hot tip crystals winging their way to me from Hong Kong. Yes, they will take hours to apply. I’ve come this far – what’s a few more hours?

Seeing it on stage in the small dance school concert confirmed that the light does hit the tiny crystals beautifully, creating a gentle glimmer as she moves. Like a silvery ice-encrusted piece of airy fairy floss.

She wore it to dance with the tiny tots – essentially leading them through their performance.  I’ve blurred them out because I can’t put them here for obvious reasons – but they were so sweet. Absolute stars that entranced the audience. They were ‘music box dolls’ and I guess Zoe was the big ‘doll’.

with the tiny tots

with the tiny tots

She will wear it again to dance solo… but its first outing wasn’t about her but those little cherubs.

A little like the tutu wasn’t about me but all about her.

Pattern: Dani Legge of Tutus by Dani
Materials: Spotlight, Australia
@fabphotosport@fabphotosport: Fab Photos, Port Macquarie

Thanks for hanging in there on my tutu posts!

Also seeThe Workshop | The embellishment