Sunday, 11 March 2012

A tutu or two

What have I been up to this last week or so - it's been kinda quiet around here hasn't it...

Well, as it happens I have been helping to make some costumes for my daughter's dance show which took place this weekend.  So there was a flurry of activity in the background but I didn't think it right to post the costumes until after the show!

It happened something like this if I remember correctly - dance teacher spots a dress that I've made and asks me if I'd like to make some costumes; I smile and nod; dance teacher mentions tutus; I say 'I could probably do that'.

You see, being largely self-taught, I don't know what I don't know when it comes to sewing.  But I am oh so willing to give it a go and figure it out as I go along. 

Make a tutu? 

Why not! 

Let me at the lycra and ballet net!

(And yes, that is my sewing machine in amongst all that net!)

Luckily my daughter already had a ready-made tutu that I could look at for reference. Normally I would also do some research on the internet first for hints and tips but I didn't come across much of that.

Ok, Selena, so it looks like it's down to you...

a) Make up lycra body (it was to be an elasticated, pull-on skirt to go over an existing leotard)

b) then add net

Well, that sure sounds easy, right?

So I purchased a ruffler foot - an amazing gadget that really helps with getting the right amount of gather on the net.  I also bought a rotary cutter and a cutting mat - a godsend when it comes to cutting acres and acres of net.

I figured out how wide the 7 layers of net had to be and I cut net for hours.

I then ruffled for Britain.

It was an experience sewing each layer onto the lycra.  Net has this habit of boinging about and not staying where it's put LOL!  I felt like a jungle explorer at times trying to make my way through the dense undergrowth in search of the needle!

Some things I learned along the way:

- Wear long sleeves - cut net is sharp!

- Make sure you only sew the net to the lycra body and not the gusset as well (I've lost track of the number of times I did that)

- Lycra feels kinda soft and silky

- Figure out how much net you think you need and then buy more - you will need way more than you think

- Your sewing machine will need a rest every now and again to prevent it from getting too hot

- You will need a rest every now and again - don't let it get the better of you!

- Ruffler feet respond well to gentle coaxing


Here is the end result.  It goes nicely with a Girl Guide t-shirt doesn't it?!

Oh, and I didn't just make the one.  I made three.

And when I watched the three of them dancing today I was so happy I had to wipe away a tear. 

It really was a bit of a challenge.  But I did it. 


  1. Hi, I love the tutu! Looks like a lot of hard work!

    I found this page searching for help on how to sew net to lycra. Im not trying to make a tutu but Ive made a tiny skirt with a 4 way stretch lycra waist band and I am trying to add some netting to it but because the netting isnt stretchy it makes a ripping sound when i stretch the lycra to try it on.

    Any advice would be much appreciated! keep up the good work :) -

  2. Hi Vickie - thanks for your comment!

    I ruffled the net and then made sure that the ruffle was large enough to go round the dancer first without stretching. I then sewed it to the lycra, stretching the lycra to fit the net as I went. That way I knew it was large enough to fit and that it didn't pull.

    Does that help any?