New Takes on Tutus
August 4, 2013
It's no secret that I love tutus. I adore them! And I don't mean to scare you, but Halloween is going to be here sooner than you may realize. While turning over those two things in my mind -- tutus and the approach of Halloween (squeeee!) -- I started thinking about ways I could fill my costume closet this year with new approaches to tutus. I wanted skirt pieces that would be fun and different, not just the standard tulle affair. And I wanted the kinds of pieces I could glam up with fancy tops, or even pair with T-shirts and leggings for a more-casual-but-still-costumey outfit.
For my first tutu experiment, I started by making a simple yoked skirt out of slipper satin. Nothing extraordinary here -- I mostly just wanted the seam where the yoke and skirt join together as a guide for ruffle placement.
To cover the skirt with ruffles, I gathered two spools of novelty tulle -- red with white polka dots -- by running the tulle through my machine and making pleats with my seam ripper as I went along. I don't like using a ruffler foot with tulle; in my experience, I end up with torn fabric and frustration rather than pretty gathers. But if you have good luck with pairing the two, by all means, stick with it! The novelty tulle spools are fab because the cutting's already done for you.
Once my two spools were all gathered, I stitched the ruffled tulle to the skirt in four rows at regular intervals. For me, two spools was exactly the amount I needed. I finished with a 2-inch wide piece of tulle left.
And by adding a black shirt, I've got a quick-as-a-wink Minnie Mouse vibe going. A pair of mouse ears and some black leggings or tights would finish this off perfectly. The same style skirt made in one of the animal novelty prints would be great for creating a safari look, or you could use one of the glitter spools to kick off a glam witch ensemble.
For my second tutu, I used Simplicity 2067, but I altered the look of it by adding a layer of lace over the two layers of gathered tulle called for in the pattern. I just love how that one extra layer turns the girlie factor up. For the waistband and yoke on this one, I layered my lace over the same satin I used for the lining layer.
A tutu like this is the perfect jumping-off point for a princess costume. You could embellish the lace with tiny flowers, beads or ribbon. Pair it with a fitted or corseted top and a tiara and you're off to the ball!
What I love about projects like this is that they usually inspire a next step towards a costume or some other creative project. While I may never get through the whole list of things I'm inspired to do, that exciting moment of "What if I made _____ next?" is really one of the most magical things about sewing to me. I think that's part of why I love Halloween so much -- the rules are relaxed and it's just about letting your creativity take the wheel.
Are you ready to get the jump on Halloween stitching?
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