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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.

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