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Tips & How To

  • Where do I start?

     

    It is the time of year where we get a lot requests for help for first-time tutu buyers. Don't worry! We understand that tutus are pretty crazy garments and we are happy to assist. Here are some tips we have for getting you started.

    Class Act Tutu Class Act Tutu Style: Scoop-Neck Tutu Bodice with Nude Inset and Classical Skirt Color: Ivory

    How to Order Your Tutus

    At Class Act Tutu our tutu pieces & options are sold separately.  This way you can get just the tutu that you want—no more—no less—and you can mix & match for greater costume options.

    Step 1: Choose your bodice style.

    Step 2: Choose skirt style(s).

    Step 3: Choose your bodice and/or skirt color(s).

    Step 4: Choose the options & accessories that you want.

    Step 5: Choose your size.

    • Refer to our handy How to Measure section for advice on obtaining correct measurements and to print our measurement form where you can record these measurements.
    • Then check our Standard Size Chart to pick your correct size.
    • If you would like our assistance in choosing your size, you may submit your measurement form with your order.
    • If you are not basing your order on specific measurements, use the reference to “Typical Clothing Size” that is found on our Standard Size Chart to help guide your choice.

    Step 6: Place your order online at www.ClassActTutu.com by adding each item to your shopping cart.  You may:

    • Complete the checkout process and you are done!   or
    • “Save” your items to the cart for later checkout.
    • You can also enter your purchase into your shopping cart, indicate Check/Money Order for payment method, and submit.

    OR

    • Just submit your "wish list" via email and we will write up an estimate to get you started. Don't worry about all of the details. We are happy to assist you!

    Choices for Ordering Tutus

  • Quick Tip: Get More out of your Tutus

    Mix, Match & Share!

    Your tutu bodice and skirt separates should be attached together after they have been fit.  This is essential so that there is no gaping during performance.

    Want to get more out of your tutu bodice and tutu skirt purchase? Use this trick to pair your bodice with different skirts. This way you can pair one bodice with more than one skirt to change:

    • Tutu Style
    • Tutu Size
    • Tutu Skirt Length
    • Tutu Colors

    Use Buttonhole Elastic & Suspender Buttons

    Secure your bodice to your skirt using buttonhole elastic for the tabs. Place small, flat buttons on the inside of the waistband. These buttons and "buttonholes" can be placed all around the tutu skirt and bodice. We place our buttons and elastic at the center front, side front, side and side back seams. That way, skirts & bodices can be easily switched.

    Buttonhole Elastic

    At Class Act Tutu, we are now offering Buttonhole Elastic/Button kits. Check it out!

  • Loving Our Colors!

    We LOVE Colors

    At Class Act Tutu we LOVE our Color Layered Romantic Tutu styles.  We have so many colors of our exquisite tulle, that your options are nearly unlimited.

    Depth, Shading & a Stunning Visual

    Layering colors adds depth and shading that changes with movement and provides an absolutely stunning performance.  We think this look works very well for your Nutcracker Ballet's Waltz of the Flowers or Snow Scene. Check out our "Rose Splendor" ensemble in action in the video below.

    Ballet Academy East, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™ Waltz of the Flowers.

    Dress Up Your Barbie

    One way to easily visualize how your color choices come together is to order our ruffled swatch sets and to dress up your Barbie (or soda bottle or whatever!).

    Tutu Swatches

    Order Your Color Cards and Ruffled Swatches Today!

    The price of our Tutu Bodice & Skirt Color cards and/or our Ruffled Swatch sets is deducted from your tutu order and shipping is FREE!  Order today and plan your Nutcracker Ballet tutus!

    Ruffled Swatches

    As always, if you need any assistance, contact us at 800.820.1667 or drop us an email. We are always happy to assist you.

  • Quick Tip - Let the Fabric & Trim Do the Work!

    Hand work can be delightful if you have time, but in a crunch, it may not be an option. Here is what I do:

    Find nicely embellished fabric so that little or no adornment needs to be added.
    Find fabric that needs no edge finishing (that is, no hemming).

    My favorite choice is embellished (sequined, beaded, embroidered) tulle like we used in this “Spanish” tutu design:

    RedSquarelargeTutu-813

    spanish_tutu

    To create an overlay for your skirt:

    • Cut a “donut” shape with the “hole” the measurement of the bottom of the tutu basque.
    • Choose the length of the overlay.
    • Cut an 8 inch slit at the center back.

    news-overlay

    If needed, use a coordinating trim to edge the outside of the skirt circle.  This trim can be hand stitched or machine sewn.

    news-overlay-trim

    For the bodice, cut a shape that follows the lines of the bodice. Again, if needed, outline the fabric with a co-coordinating trim.

    news-overlay-bodice

    If time and budget permit, add beads or crystals.

    news-overlay-crystals

    Tack bodice & skirt overlay in place so that it is secure but easy to remove for cleaning.

    Voila!  An elegant tutu embellishment without a lot of stitching time

  • Quick Tip: From the Costume Shop at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB)

    We first published this blog entry almost exactly 4 years ago. It remains one of our all time favorite tips: How to create an elegant and very "Degas"  tutu look on a budget. Enjoy this re-post.

    In 2006, Fleming Halby (then director of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Seattle school) staged the only surviving scene from August Bournonville's "Konservatoriet". Class Act Tutu was honored to provide the white romantic tutu skirts for that performance.

    PNB School's "Konservatoriet "  ©Rex Trainter PNB School's "Konservatoriet " ©Rex Trainter

    The staging of this piece has always provided a great inspiration to us in how to create a beautiful classic look reminiscent of the early French ballet.   We were lucky to get to spend some time in the PNB costume shop learning how Victoria McFall created this lovely vision.   Here is what we learned.

    What you need:
    1. White Leotard
    2. White Romantic Style Tutu skirt
    3. Satin Ribbon
    4. Sheer Fabric for Sleeves
    5. Nude Elastic

    The Leotard
    • Start with a camisole style leotard. Remove the straps and replace them with nude elastic.
    • Create a pattern for an off the shoulder sleeve with a gusset. Here are some views of PNB’s sleeve and pattern:

    Sleeve with Gusset Sleeve with Gusset
    Sleeve and Pattern Sleeve and Pattern
    PNB Sleeve Pattern PNB Sleeve Pattern

    • Here you can find instructions for making your own pattern for gussets.
    • Stitch your sleeve onto the leotard

    Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard

    The Skirt
    • Start with a romantic style tutu skirt. PNB used Class Act Tutu’s Romantic Style 5-Layer skirt in a mid-calf length.
    • Edge stitch a nice satin ribbon onto the waistband at the top and the bottom. Victoria used pale blue and white for Konservatoriet.

    Satin Waistband & Bow Satin Waistband & Bow

    • Sew down a faux bow if desired.

    This idea can be used for many different tutu looks and combining a professional quality tutu skirt with an inexpensive leotard can stretch your costume budget.

  • Quick Tip: Easy Tutu Skirt Embellishment

     Lilac Fairy Tutu design© CJDL Design

    Make your tutu skirt embellishment easy to place and to remove by attaching it to a lovely trim!

    1. Stitch your appliqués, petals, or whatever decorative pieces you are using to some coordinating trim.  Here we have used a metallic gold.
    2. Sew or glue some gems, beads, sequins, etc.
    3. Hand stitch the trim to the bottom of the tutu basque or waistband.
    4. Tack pieces to the tutu skirt if needed.

    Voila!

    Lilac Fairy Tutu design ©CJDL Design

  • Ballet Inspired Makeup Tutorial

    Ballet Makeup Mash-up!

    We wanted to share this Ballet inspired makeup tutorial with you because it is so fun (and because we LOVE Lisa Eldridge).

    This video features Roberta Marquez, principal, Royal Ballet.  It is styled with the Sleeping Beauty wedding tutu using "Bollywood"  inspired makeup by Lisa Eldridge.

  • How To Make a "Sugarplum" (for your Sugarplum Fairy Tutu)

    Sugarplum

    Sugarplum

    These Sugarplums were designed and created by Christine Joly of CJDL Design for this year’s Class Act Tutu Nutcracker Sugarplum Fairy tutu design.   These decorative Sugarplums are made using a combination of heat-formed thermoplastics and glued seed and bugle beads.  They are light, sturdy, can be sewn through and are drop-dead gorgeous!

    We are going to tell you step by step how to make these beautiful "Sugarplums" and if you scroll down to the bottom of this post you will find a list of sources for everything that you need for this fun project.

    If you are interested in having your Sugarplum tutu embellished by us, you may contact us for a design quote.

    What You Will Need

    1. One “Cabochon” (oval with a flat bottom) shape
    2. A stiff cardboard template of your shape
    3. Fosshape
    4. Heat gun, steam iron, steamer, or hair dryer
    5. Craft Glue
    6. Heat Proof Work Surface (foil covered metal pan or tray)
    7. Acrylic Paint(s)

    Step 1.  Make your template.

    • Trace your cabochon and add an extra 1/8 inch around the edge.  Cut out.
    • See the middle photo in the trio of pictures below.  NOTE:  The template is just a hole. You can see the tin foil lining the tray underneath.

    Step 2.  Cut your Fosshape.

    Fosshape is a fun “thermoplastic” cloth.  It feels like felt.  Fosshape starts out flexible and moldable but stiffens when heated.  It can be heated with a steam iron, hot air gun or hair dryer set on high.  This material, once formed, maintains its shape, can be sewn or glued and is wonderful for ornamentation, headpieces, masks, props, etc.  See our “Sources” at the end for more information on this fabric and where to purchase.

    • Cut your Fosshape fabric into pieces large enough to heat set over your mold.  This material can shrink up to 30%, so make sure your pieces are large enough.

    Step 3.  Shape and Heat.

    • Working on your heat proof work surface, place a piece of the cut Fosshape over the cabochon.
    • Carefully work your way around the shape holding your heat tool 4 to 5 inches from the surface.
    • When the Fosshape becomes soft and limp, press your cut-out template down and over it. (See far right photo in row below)
    • Fosshape cools very quickly, so you will have to work fast and keep pressure applied over the form.
    Cabochon, Template, Pressed Shape

    Cabochon,

    Step 4.  Paint Your Shape

    • With acrylic paints, paint the surface and base of your stiffened Fosshape.
    Painted Shape

    Painted

    Step 5.  Glue on Beads

    • Sort your beads into containers.  Christine used lighter shades as a highlight and three “plum” tones for the body.
    Sorted Beads

    Sorted

    • You will glue your beads onto the form in increments—not all at once.
    • Begin by squeezing a strip of glue along the top of your shape.  With a spoon, pour your beads over the glued area so they cover the glue.  (HINT:  Pour right back into your container so you have less to clean up!)
    • Gently tap down with your finger so that the beads are pushed into the glue.  Have a moist cloth available to wipe your fingers.
    • Let this harden at least ½ hour.  The glue can take up to 3 hours to fully dry.
    • Repeat this with all your shapes then move onto a different area of your form until the entire surface is covered.
    • IMPORTANT: Go back over your plums and gently push the beads into the glue BEFORE the glue has completely dried.
    Glueing Beads

    Glueing

    Step 6.  Finishing

    • Trim your “Sugarplums”, wrap with decorative cording, and stitch onto your project.
    Sugarplums Applied to the Tutu

    Sugarplums

    Sources

    Here is what we used and the easiest place to purchase that we could find.  If you have source suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

    Large Glass  (Fire Mountain Gems and Beads) or Acrylic (Art Fire ) “Cabochon” shape.

    Fosshape - Richard the Thread – Here you will also find additional instructions on using Fosshape.

    Aleen’s Tacky Glue & Acrylic Paint can be found easily at most craft stores like JoAnn or Michael’s

    Stay tuned!

    Next we will learn how to make the leaves.

    Sugarplum Parts

    Sugarplum Tutu ©CJDL Design for Class Act Tutu

    Sugarplum

    Sugarplum Ombre Detail

    Sugarplum

  • Amazing Costumes on a Budget: Savannah Arts Academy

    The Wizard of Oz, Savannah Arts Academy - Lollipop

    Lollipop

    To kick-off our "Amazing Costumes on a Budget" series, we'd like to take a moment and introduce you to the talented Christina Powell-Dance Department Chair of the Savannah Arts Academy in Georgia. Christina knows all about creating fabulous, professional-looking costumes--without breaking the bank! When we asked if she'd be interested in sharing some of her best "trade secrets" with our readers, she eagerly accepted. So, if your dance production is in the middle of a financial bind, you might want to take a few notes. So grab a pen (or bookmark this page), and get ready to be inspired!

    Class Act: So tell us, what initially prompted you and the Savannah Arts Academy to be "beautiful on a budget"? Was this something you've always done or did the current economy have something to do with it?

    Christina Powell: Working for a public school in a dance department that is fully supported by fundraising efforts and ticket sales to productions (we receive no funding from the local or state government), we must be extremely creative with our funds. We must work around [financial] issues to be beautiful on a budget. We ask for a lot of help from local seamstresses who donate their time and sometimes even the cost of materials to create costumes for us. For tutus, we order the skirts with basques from Class Act Tutu and the matching basque fabric for the bodices. We then have parent volunteers or local costumers make the bodices for each dancer to complete the look. In addition, we sometimes work with fashion students from our local art college, Savannah College of Art and Design.

    Class Act: Are there any specific actions that you take to do this? How does it all come together?

    Christina Powell: Well, at the beginning of the year, I take inventory of our costume closet and create a list of the most wanted items that I’d like to purchase for the year. Two years ago, we ordered an entire set of white romantic tutu skirts from Class Act Tutu. This was our first big tutu purchase! In order to save money, we had the bodices made to complete the look. We used those tutus for a Swan Lake excerpt and for the Fairy Corps in Cinderella. We used them again this year for the Emerald City Corps during our ballet, "The Wizard of Oz". Each time we use the white tutus, we change the decoration to fit the part. For the Emerald City Corps, a parent volunteer added emerald tulle overlays and a gold ribbon design on the bodice. The tulle was purchased in bulk from Class Act Tutu. Outside of ordering tutus, we also order other costumes that I feel like we’ll get a lot of use out of. For example, we ordered some Rockette-like white costumes that we wore in our Winter Dance Concert. We used them again for a local holiday event in downtown Savannah. The girls dressed up as snowflakes using these same costumes. Then in, "The Love of Broadway", our final show this year, we used these costumes again with added gold accents to perform “One” from A Chorus Line. So, my advice is that you prioritize your costumes needs, determine what costumes you can get the most out of, and take baby steps each year until you create a wonderful costume closet!

    Class Act: You know, I wonder how many other dance companies will read this and think, "Hmm. Why didn't we think of that?" Now, I also heard that you re-decorate your tutus. Would you share some examples of that with us?
    The Wizard of Oz, Savannah Arts Academy - Poppies

    Poppies

    Christina Powell: Yes, we do this a lot! For the lollipop tutus, I ordered that set of costumes at the beginning of the year. For our Winter Dance Concert, we used those tutus for a Sleeping Beauty excerpt. Then, we redecorated them for the Lollipop Corps for Wizard of Oz. We do this for all of our tutus. We always sew decorations onto the costumes so that we can easily take them off to change the look for the next performance. Never use glue! Also, skirt overlays are a great way to add color to costumes and to completely change the original look. The skirt overlays work best on white romantic tutus.

    Class Act: Do you have any final words of advice or any "Top Tips" that you'd like to share before we close?

    Christina Powell: It is so easy to get overwhelmed with costuming needs, especially if you are just starting to build a costume closet and you’re on a budget. When I took over as the chair of the Savannah Arts Academy Department of Dance, we didn’t even own a tutu! That was two years ago. Now, we own two complete sets of romantic length tutus (a white set and a pink set), a set of euro-tutus (red for the Poppy Corps for Wizard of Oz),  four romantic tutus for the Cinderella fairies (Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn),  and several pancake tutus (Fairy Godmother, Mazurka lead for Cinderella, Wizard for Wizard of Oz, etc). We have already used the white tutus in four shows, and the pink tutus in two shows. The red pancake tutu has been worn for the Mazurka lead in Cinderella, the Spanish variation for Nutcracker, the Don Quixote pas de deux, and the Poppy Lead in Cinderella!  Lots of use out of the red pancake tutu! Also, the winter fairy tutu was also re-worn by Glinda the Good Witch for Wizard of Oz. The best advice I can give someone wanting to build a costume closet, is to prioritize! Think about what kinds of costumes you need for your upcoming shows. Think about what you can get the most out of. Start basic (a set of white romantic tutus is a great place to start! They are so versatile and beautiful on stage!!!), and again--take baby steps! Breathe! And most of all, have fun!

    Thank you so much, Ms. Powell! Your creative ideas are going to come in handy for so many dancers out there. We wish you and the Savannah Arts Academy continued success! If you'd like to learn more about the programs available through the Savannah Arts Academy or attend future performances, please click here.

    Denise Opper ~ Media Relations

  • Fashion "Tulle’s" for the Fashion Forward

    By Mariangela Abeo

    Gone are the days of going shopping with your mom to the local department store for a prom dress, then hoping and praying that no other girls show up wearing the same thing.  Today’s teens are steeped in the rich fashion molasses that is served to them on everything, everywhere they turn.  From social media, to reality TV, they are on the new fads before even the hipsters have time to make them cool and before a teen celebrity can been seen in it on Instagram or on TMZ.

    The 80s look that so many in my generation loved and cherish, are back – everything from floral and lace, to vibrant colors, punk rock accents and yes, you guessed it – TULLE.  The fabric that every girl, and yes also boys – at some point in their life, secretly want an entire outfit made out of.

    Whether you shop at hip boutiques and consignment shops or mega trendy places like H&M or Forever 21 – pairing tulle tutus and skirts for every day looks, school dances and even Prom – is easy and simple.

    For Prom or Punk

    For example, a Prom show stopper will have flowing tulle, paired with tasteful corsets, lacy tops, tussled hair, and a pretty smokey eye.

    Romantic-Tutu-for-Fashion-with-Corset

    Model:

    The punk element is one of the reasons shops like Red Light or Trendy Wendy – which we are lucky enough to have in Seattle - are popular – you can find fabulous tops and funky tights to pair with one of Class Act’s 5-layer “Juicy” Bird of Paradise short tutus.  If you aren’t in the Seattle area, find a local vintage or consignment store and a trendy boutique to get necessary outfit pairings.  Big “diva” hair is a must, take your skirt colors to your local MAC counter to get your make-up done – and finish with some FIERCE heels or even grunge it out with some army boots from the Army surplus store!

    Tutu-Grunge-Funky-Punk

    Model:

    Who wore it better? (It won't happen!)

    The wonderful thing about tutus beside the fact that they are handmade, and that tulle personally makes me morph into a 5 year old that squeals with joy even at the sight of it – are that they are unique.  You will not feel like you are in People magazine’s “Who wore it better” because another girl is wearing the same dress.  If you pair it with your street wear, you will be SURE to turn heads, get compliments and be considered a trend setter with peers that may be waiting for someone to stand out before they add a little tulle into their daily wardrobe.

    It's good for the soul

    I asked a few “fashion forward” teens I know, to tell me 3 words that came to mind when they saw tulle in a store or in a magazine – and the theme was consistent: Playful, Fun, Delicate,  Feminine, Beauty, Classy, Diva.  All things all of us, at some point, want to portray with our outfits, right?  Even more reason for me to firmly believe that keeping a good amount of tulle in your closet, is good for the soul…

    Romantic-Tutu-Prom-Fashion

    Model:

    Special thanks to Kim and Adam Bamberg of LaVie Photography and Bamberg Fine Art Photography and Oliver Wevers for sharing his lovely home!

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