Paula Drake of Tutus Divine has many years experience.
She will teach embellishment.
- The embellishment is the decorated layer placed on the plate.
- For embellishement use a piece of heavy net and cut it the size of the top plate.
- Pin the net to you tutu top and use a colored marker to mark your center
- Cut the net to the size of you tutu basque
- Always mark the center front and back on your net because as much as you try, a tutu in never round and after you decorate the plate you want fit
- If only using lace you can either use it up near the top of the plate in your design or you can cut it and make your design with the lace pieces so it will not weigh the tutu down.
Paula Drake Samples
Cut a circle for the “plate” or the top layer and tack it on after the ruffles have been attached. Not all tutu’s have a plate. Some have gathered fabric, particularly if the fabric is brocade. However, if your design has a plate these are the instructions.
This is the fun part.
This is your embellished layer and a flat layer. After the tutu is constructed lay a piece of net over the tutu and cut the plate to size cutting it a few inches larger to accommodate mistakes. Seriously, go much larger than you think you will need. MUCH LARGER. Somehow this always comes out oblong and has to be trimmed in some areas and in other areas as if by gremlin forces it is just not long enough.
You must decide whether there will be a perfect plate without gathers at the top or whether you will have a slight gather. This is accomplished but cutting the waist larger than required and putting a slight gather in. I like a very finished look so I bind dressmakers cord with diagonally cut fabric and cord the point of attachment for the plate, sometimes placing a string of tiny pearls on the cord. This is optional and cannot be seen from the audience. This is a simple dressmaker detail.
In the image to the right you see there is a lace overlay over the plate and the plate is gathered. There is a smaller lace trime at the seam edge. There are an infinite number of finishes.
Rosetti Costumes and Bridal Gowns does an excellent example of demonstrating a ballet plate. Link here for an example of a plate used for the Sugar Plum Fairy for the Houston Ballet with applique work. You can see the plate on the tutu and as an example of a plate.
Embellishing — Finally!!! Have fun.
Remember, do not make your embellishments too heavy. This approach explains the Russian tutu embellishments being the light weight golden fabric. You do not want to weigh down your tutu with the embellished layer.
The images below from Danceworld — London shows the application process for embellishments for a net plate. These images demonstrate the need for light, light embellishment.
However, you may have noticed that the Sugar Plum at the Houston Ballet had a very heavy and elaborate plate that was quilted! There are no hard and fast rules. Do what works.
Also see images below of new costumes designed by Agnès Letestu. Costumes designed for movement! I find this direction in tutu construction extremely exciting. There is an almost Cirque de Soleil feel.
For partnering purposes the woman’s bodice is minimally decorated around the waist, stomach and back. Both tunics and tutus should be free of ornaments with sharp edges that can cut a partner’s hands, tear fabric and tights or get stuck to a partner’s costume.