Lee Ann Torrans Tacking a Tutu

How to Tack a Tutu

Tacking a tutu prevents the layers from flopping down with gravity one after another when the dancer jumps. The tighter you tack, the flatter the tutu.

Tacking is an ongoing process. Your tacks will have to be examined after every performance and possibly retacked. This is why I use a quilt tack and upholstery thread.

  • On the inner tacks — do rows two through four.
  • As you move out in your tacking, do rows three through six.
  • Then rows five through eight.
  • I use upholstery thread and do a quilt tack about 3/4’s of an inch wide..
  • But you can just use a regular stitch.
    I am asked this often and should have addressed this a long time ago.
  • I hope this helps now!

Obviously, the tighter you tack the flatter the tutu, however, remember a pancake tutu is made with buckram, a hoop, PLUS tight tacking.

You can turn the tutu upside down and tack but this requires looser tacking — because there will have to be some ‘give’ in the tacking for the layers to align.
For tight tacking put the tutu on a dress form or the actual dancer to get the alignment of layers right and then finish by turning the tutu upside down.
Paula Drake’s Exquisite Romantic Tutus Tutus Divine


No one does romance better than Paula Drake at http://tutusdivine.com.

Her specialized technique and deep understanding of the appropriate tutu for the role match the individual dancers unique attributes. Paula’s technique when joined with her understanding of the role transcends her flawless execution. Her insights will be shared with her tutu seminar students.



Certainly, one of the mor memorable romantic scenes. Rozenkavalier Waltz.




Romantic tutu for Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet,
Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1966.

This costume features intricate cutout piecing on bodice with multi-color net skirt.

1950’s Reinterpretation of the Romantic Tutu


The Romantic Tutu

  • The romantic tutu will give a fuller more flowing tutu than the straight ruffled tutu.
  • Typically a romantic tutu has a minimum of four skirts and requires at least eight yards of net or combined net and tulle

Easiest Possible Romantic Tutu

  • Take a lycra panty — white or black and use that as your basque.
  • Cut six “half circles” (or three whole circles)
  • Attach to the lycra panty

The Basque.

The basque for the romantic tutu is made precisely the same as the basque for a standard tutu.


The first skirt is sewn to the top basque and the next four skirts are sewn to the lower basque.

  • Use at a minimum three ‘half circles’ per layer. The wider the hole you cut out in the middle the more the circle will gather!
  • In order to have a skirt of sufficient length the circle skirt will be cut in two halves and then sewn together.
  • Be sure to have one half inch over lap to join the skirt.
  • The opening will be in the back.
  • Do not use the seams for the opening.
  • This will create seams in the front.
  • If you can cut the fabric without seaming it, that is the preferable choice.
  • Remember as you cut the fabric that each circle will be sewn one half inch lower than the previous circle and there will be varying lengths.
  • Do not try to adjust for these lengths now.
  • Wait until the tutu is on the dancer and then trim to achieve lengths.
  • Take grossgrain or satin ribbon one to one and a half inches wide and bind the opening in the back.
  • Cut the waist larger to permit gathering.
  • Remember each small extraction from the waist creates a much, much larger opening. Remember geometry.
  • Widen waist of circle skirts with care.
  • You can always make larger but you can never make it smaller.

Tacking a Tutu and Putting It Together

  • Cut the waist larger to permit gathering.
  • Remember each small extraction from the waist creates a much, much larger opening. Remember geometry.
  • Widen waist of cicle skirts with care.
  • You can always make larger but you can never make it smaller.
  • Take satin ribbon of one to one and a half inches wide and bind the opening in the back.

Cutting the Waist

  • Cutting the waist in the romantic tutu is crucial.
  • The size of the waist determines whether the extent of the gathers at the top of the romantic tutu.
  • I prefer a bit of a gather but it is so easy to get this too large.
  • My technique is to use a file folder cut to fit the dancers waist.
  • Will photograph that in one week and put it up.

Party Romantic Tutu

The party tutu pictured is turned wrong side out for demonstration purposes

This reader used two rows of frills.

  • She cut three circles.
  • She used three of the ‘half circles’ per row.
  • With this method you do not have to gather.
  • Just stretch the elastic and sew straight onto four inch wide elastic.
  • Party girls do not want this to fit at the waist but to sit on the hip bones!
  • Also this is exactly how you make a fifties skirt! Just keep the inside cutout small.
  • For a Fifties skirt in felt NO GATHERING or at least very, very little and just two halves or one whole circle!

Vintage Tutu at the Tulleries – Fashion Week

Tutu worn by Girl at the Tuleries in Paris from The Sartorialist

  • We love The Sartorialist and read it every day!
  • The girls are wearing leggings under the romantic tutus!
  • Fun Vintage Tutus – everywhere now!


  • This fun Ralph Lauren Runway look is full and probably uses at a minimum four half circles.
  • This means four half cricles per row and two rows for a total of eight half circles.
  • That means cut out four circles and use four half circles per row.


I love this. Simple, fashionable and sophisticated colors.


These are from Tammy Lasek! Doesn’t this just say love, love, love!

A fun basque can be made from bathing suit fabric or even an old bathing suit bottom.

Just cut out the crotch and attach fabric.

Be creative! Cheap net is great for Halloween costumes and little girls’ tutus for play.

On sale you can get it for 77 cents a yard!

Butterick Notionshas a link for net in their notions.

In their separate site for patterns they do have some new and wonderful costume patterns.

Love this site: Present/Past Collections: Could these colors be any yummier?

For a fun party tutu you can use four inch width elastic and sew directly on to the elastic!

You do not have to use a basque. Notice the layers above and the cool embellishments!

Halloween Costume Tutu:

  • The tutu described below for children makes a great Halloween costume.
  • Use this approach for a quick and easy Halloween Costume Tutu!
  • TutuCouture.com: Love this site for great chidrens (and adult Halloween Costume) ideas!
  • No Sew Tutu: This is a great site for this for children or grownups!
  • No doubt you have seen the Flikrsite as well

Tulle v. Net for a Halloween Tutu

  • Tulle can be mixed with net.
  • It adds shimer when mixed in colors.
  • Personally, I think no tutu should be just one color.
  • A layer even on a nude color is preferable to just one color.
  • Tulle can be interspersed within the net for a finer look and color modification.


My greatest party tutu was made with layers of black lace, yellow and black netting and tulle.

The basque was yellow and black bathing suit fabric with a layer of lace over it PLUS the totally cool addition of two rows of drawer lining for frills!

Be creative. Have fun. If it’s not fun … don’t do it.



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