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Tacking Your Tutu: Part 1, Preparation

When it comes to creating the perfect silhouette for your classical or bell style tutu, there are a number of factors to consider: how you cut your layers, the fabrics that you use, and so on.  However, “tacking” your tutu is one step which makes a grand difference (and entrance)!

Class Act Tutu's "Pancake" Style Classical Tutu Skirt
Photo:  Laura Gilbreath, soloist, Pacific Northwest Ballet © Angela Sterling

Whether you have made your own tutu, purchased your tutu or have a tutu in need of repair, “tacking” is a skill that you need to have if you are working with Classical or Bell Style tutus.  “Tacking” is when you secure the layers of your tutu together.  This keeps your ruffles from flying when you dance and helps to shape your tutu.  There are many different methods to use.  We thought it would be fun to share some of the tricks we have learned through the years.

We will be adding to our “Tips & How-To” blog category some of our favorite ideas for tacking your tutu.  First up is preparing your tutu for tacking.

Preparation:  Steam & Flatten

Although some may consider these steps optional, we think that preparing your tutu by gently steaming and pressing--or flattening your tutu is worth the time.  A tutu that is shaped and flattened before tacking is begun is much easier to work with and results in a better finished product.

  • To steam your tutu,  first test your fabric. Nylon melts and, if your steamer or iron is too hot, you can damage your tutu.  If you are using an iron, use the lowest setting that can provide steam.
  • Straighten, shape and steam the layers of your tutu one by one.  The idea is to straighten the layers so that they lie straight out from the tutu panty.  Visualize the spokes of a wheel.

Tutu Tacking Diagram

HINT: If you are making your own tutu, it is much easier to attach your tutu layers if you gently steam each layer where it is gathered before it is sewn on.

  • To press, lie your tutu topside down, arrange the layers neatly, and place heavy books all around the tutu.  Leave overnight.
Flattening Your Tutu with Books

Flattening

As always, if you have any tips you would like to share—or would like us to share, just let us know!

Next Up:  Using a “Tagging Gun” to tack your tutu

Tagging Gun

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