Thursday, April 17, 2014

Operation Classical Tutu

I have fallen in love with sewing dance wear.

I have made a few outfits for performances to date, but that elusive Classical Tutu has been just out of reach.

I have made a couple of tutus so far to learn, but they have no practical use other than learning tools.  Here is a few pictures of the last one I made (although haven't finished embellishing):

The girls' dance teacher (also known as the best dance teacher a little girl could have) decided against a Classical Ballet solo for this year.  Bah, no tutu.

Well, yesterday I got the amazing news that my 8 year old's Demi Character routine will involve needing a Classical Tutu.

So, with the brief of a white, classical, competition tutu, I made sure to get to Spotlight before work yesterday - found they had 40% off dance velvet - BONUS!  So, bought twice what I needed, because that's what sewing logic is, right.  Riiiiiiight??

So, Phase 1 of Operation Classical Tutu began last night with the construction of the leotard.

I use Dani Legge's stretch tutu pattern.  This pattern is the bomb diggity, and if you are in any way thinking of making a stretch tutu, grab the pattern.  I bought it from Tutus That Dance.

Here is the result of Phase 1:

I wanted the panties to be in plain lycra, so I chopped the pattern where the tulle will sit so the transition is hidden in the tulle.

The top of the bodice is white Dance Lycra lined with white lining fabric, the bottom of the panties are two layers of white Lycra.

The front seams are topstitched with a twin needle on the outside of the middle panel.  and the waist seam on the upper side of the seam.

I used 10mm elastic around the neck and back, as I think it gives it a little more hold and looks nice and substantial too.  The leg openings use 6mm elastic.  I use woven elastic for all my dance wear, I cannot make the swimwear elastic (the plastic stuff) work for me and my overlocker, and I have settled on this working best and I know the feeling of how much pressure to put on when I pull the elastic to stretch as I overlock.

I had been tossing up about a nude insert on the bodice, but we decided against it.

You can't see too well on the picture, but I have sewn two lines of basting for the borders of the tulle (top and bottom).  I get quite stressed out when my tulle doesn't sit in nice, parallel lines on the inside of the tutu, so this helps with my placement.  This is one of the throwbacks from having my first craft love being cross stitch.  Cross stitchers are almost as fanatical about having the back of the work looking almost as pretty as the front.  This is unfortunate when you move on to other disciplines - intarsia knitting has always been something I struggle with because of the inside of the work.

I have left the crotch open, but have overlocked the elastic in place already.  I find that trying to overlock elastic onto a tutu with tulle on it to be a recipe for bad words.  I also do not turn and topstitch the edges until the crotch is sewn up.  Means I have to make sure to stay right away from the edges when I'm sewing the tulle on.

Stay tuned for Phase 2: The Gathering (of the Tulle)........

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