My Quest To Make A Tutu

With Purim  fast approaching I started thinking about costumes. The Purim Party has a P theme, in other words dress up as something that begins with the letter P.

My friend gave me a brilliant idea. I should be the Party. Streamers, tutu, confetti, the whole enchilada. She is pretty brilliant.

I decided I would sew my own costume. Since I have moved out (you know, away from Mom’s sewing machine that I largely ignored for 20 plus years), I seem to keep finding excuses to need to sew. Simply declaring: I can just make that!

If you don’t already know, I am very much my gramp’s granddaughter, my parents’ child too for that matter. It just doesn’t occur to me that I can’t do something. Once I have decided I can, there is little deterring me. Thanks Mom and Dad for raising such a confident daughter.

The very first sewing endeavor I set out on this year was the costume for my first half marathon. I spent more time on this costume than I did training. The process went something like this:

1. Spend months looking online for a brown running skirt.

2. Find only one option; it costs $80.

3. Pout about how the universe is making life difficult.

4. Watch a few dozen youtube videos on how to make a running skirt.

5. Download a pattern.

6. Decide a pattern is not important.

7. Go to the store with no measurements.

8. Buy fabric, oh and some sequins, a feather, maybe some fringe would be fun….

9. Still no measurements.

10. Find a friend of a friend who will allow a stranger to come over and use her sewing machine.

11. Bask in the glow of a new running costume.

My Princess Tiger Lily Running Costume

Oh wait, this is supposed to be about my tutu.

I did ballet for 15 years. I wore plenty of tutus. I remember the first “big girl tutu” I got to wear. It was a white romantic style tutu with gold embellishments. We were waving wheat. It was the most itchy thing I had ever experienced, I thought I might just die. My last tutu was the most darling Powder Puff (also Balanchine/Karinska) tutu I had ever experienced. I felt just perfect in it. 10 years later I have found many excuses to wear it again (working at summer camp has perks). But when I was loading my life into the back of my car at the end of summer, a tutu just didn’t seem like the thing I needed to bring with me.

But now I am sitting here, over 1,000 miles away from my tutu and I got it in my head that I would make a tutu. A sassy and sophisticated tutu. Not a romantic or platter tutu, those are too itchy or too poofy or too difficult to wear to a bar (yup, a tutu in a bar). I began my search.

Search: how to make a tutu

My momentum came to a grinding stop. These no sew tutus, the ones that are made the same way Mom made my grass skirt, these are not real tutus. This is no good. I’ll try again.

Search: how to make a real tutu

Same thing.

Search: how to make a  Powder Puff Balanchine/Karinska tutu

Still nothing useful.

I check the clock. It is 2 a.m. I have been at this for longer than I would like to admit. If I could just get my hands on my old tutu I could figure this out. Why are tutu makers so secretive?! Is it too late at night to call my parents? I mean I know it is too much to ask for them to over night my tutu (is it?), but maybe some quality pictures and video chat time with it would work. I check the clock again. Yeah, it is too late. I will have to call them tomorrow.

This is when I should say that I went to bed. That I closed my laptop and stopped thinking about it. But then I would be lying.

I looked up local dance supply stores. There is only 1! What kind of remote godforsaken place did I move to?!

I tried youtube again. Some better videos, but still only dressup quality tutus, nothing legit.

At this point I realize a few things. First, I am irrationally committed to having a real tutu. Second, professional tutu makers do not make youtube videos for us novices because what they do is an art, not a DIY crafter activity.

This is where I tell you I realize my limits and I make a good enough tutu. But once again, if I did that, I would be lying.

Instead, I came up with a plan. Driven by my confidence that I can just do anything I set my mind to, I throw aside the idea that tutu making is an art for which I have no training. Forget that I work all day. I have no sewing machine at home. No pattern. No worries. I have a plan. Here is what happened.

I asked Dad to send me a picture of my closet at their house so that I could tell him where my tutu could be found. He kindly indulged.  This turned out to be more of a process than I expected, almost as difficult as chasing the chickens around the yard the day before. But we found it, well truthfully Dad found it. He kept sending me pictures of things until it was located. Thanks Dad, I would have been dead in the water without you!

This NOT how I remember leaving it. I am almost embarrassed to show you, but this is what Dad had to contend with.
It has seen better more fluffy days, it doesn’t help that it was found stuffed in that hot mess of a closet.

I went to my local craft supply store. I still haven’t measured, mind you. I do consider buying a measuring tape, but I am not sure if that is too big of a commitment. “A commitment to what Aimee?” you might be asking. I don’t know. But I assure you I am just not ready for it.

I buy piles upon piles of tulle and netting. Some ribbon and elastic just incase. I throw in a little spray adhesive, glitter, and jewels for good measure.

I visit the 1 and only dance supply store in town. I buy dance briefs, maybe a pair of tights too.

Now I just have to conquer the issue of not having a sewing machine at home. But I have decided not to worry about this yet. I am confident I will figure it out.

5 thoughts on “My Quest To Make A Tutu

  1. Aimee, I have tried to leave comments on your blog. Every time I attempt to, the website wants me to join and get an email address with their name or pay a fee to use my own gmail email address. Way too stressful. Anyway, I love your blogs. I like that you tell us what is going on in your head. Your last blog confirms that you are related to me. When you get an idea in your head you will go to, (which might seem to the outsider as an insane obsession), great lengths to make it happen. I applaud and understand your crazed tenacity. Send pictures when the tutu is finished. I know it will be a work of art! 🎀💕

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Hi Aimee!
    I have actually found many youtube videos of fun, party tutus… wait, should I be telling you this or am I just making you feel worse? Anyway, please post photos of your tutu!
    P.S. Do you mind if I steal your friends brilliant party idea? 🙂

  3. Dear Daughter,
    Although the closet looks cluttered, the upside is you don’t have to pay a storage fee. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Tenacity is a genetic trait. At least in our gene pool.
    Hugs Mom

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