Category Archives: Crafting

The Tutu Saga Continues

So when I last left you I had the materials and a plan, but no sewing machine. Purim has come and gone, so here is the story of my tutu.

I realized that my next step really needed to involve the acquisition of a sewing machine. Luckily our neighbors have one. They also have a tiny, precious, new baby. Just saying.

After Dad dug the tutu out of the closet and sent me all those great pictures, Mom got home and got involved as well. She measured the width of each gather, the distance between each layer. She measured and wrote down all the information I could possibly need. We video chatted. She offered to mail me my tutu. Dad raced down to get it in the mail, only to find that it was too late to go out that day, and to next-day it would cost over $30. As much as I want to have my tutu here with me, I just couldn’t see spending that much to mail it. Also, I was still determined to make my vision come true.

Thursday afternoon I rushed home from work and picked up the machine. I laid all the netting and tulle out on the floor. I did all the math (which was more difficult that it probably should have been) to adjust the measurements Mom sent from my white tutu to the new tutu. I started to measure. I began to cut. Things were getting exciting.

I made one gather. Hot. Mess. I made another gather. Okay, this one worked.

At this point in the story it is relevant to share with you that I live with my cousins (well he is my cousin by genetics, she is my cousin because she was awesome enough to marry him). It is also incredibly important that you know that she is pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but on the day I was sewing, she was 4 days away from her due date. Okay, now that you know that I will continue.

I have made two gathers, but one will never see the light of day. An hour or two have passed since I walked in with the sewing machine. My cousin isn’t feeling so hot. She is taking a nap on the couch. Now, I have never been pregnant, but I have heard that flu like symptoms can be a sign of labor being imminent. Although at this stage in pregnancy isn’t labor always imminent? I also couldn’t help but notice that when she walked to the couch to lie down she was waddling. Like really waddling (sorry, but you were). This was new; hadn’t happened yet. Something was different.

I sat on the floor with all my netting and thought. I was conflicted, probably more than I should have been. I stared at my yards of netting and tulle. I stared at the sleeping pregnant lady. And I thought.

I came to the conclusion that if labor were to start on this night or even the next there was a very real chance I would be too busy to finish all 10 layers of the tutu. And even if I did finish all the layers, would I have time to sew them on?

If you read my last post, you know how irrationally committed I was to this tutu. But watching the napping pregnant lady, I knew I was far more committed to her, my cousin, the baby, and being part of what I have dubbed “Team Labor and Delivery”, than I was to some costume.

So I folded the netting in half length-wise. Then in half again. I sewed a casing. I measured the elastic and I began to gather all 20 yards of netting.

By the time we went to get frozen yogurt for dinner (hey, who am I to argue with a pregnant lady), I had a tutu. It wasn’t the tutu I had in mind, the one I had been dreaming of, but it was fluffy and it would work.

Friday after work, I added glitter. This happened outside, because that is where glitter belongs. Also, I am pretty sure glitter and spray glue in the house would make most homeowners apoplectic.

The glittery tutu went into a box in the garage.

Saturday night the box was put in the trunk of the car as to avoid getting glitter all over the car.

Standing on Pearl Street, I stepped into my tutu, added the glittery ribbons as streamers and off we went!

The party was a blast. The actual party, not me, I was The Party, but what I mean was the event was great. I think walking around throwing confetti at people and being covered in glitter might be my new calling in life. I am still finding glitter and confetti on and in things that I didn’t even have with me Saturday night, and multiple friends have reported evidence of the party at their house.

Mission accomplished.

And if you were wondering, still no baby. But I do have extra confetti to celebrate his arrival when he does show up.

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Seriously, throwing confetti is fun. I recommend it.

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.

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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!

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This NOT how I remember leaving it. I am almost embarrassed to show you, but this is what Dad had to contend with.
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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.