Friday, May 1, 2009

The Cocoa Guide To Tutus

Photo by Abby Lanes

"I see you like tutus! Any recommendations for really nice ones? I've been on a hunt for vintage-styled ones, but the best I've come across thus far are right here and I figured it couldn't hurt to ask if you, perhaps, had suggestions!"

Only recently have tutus become style essentials for unconventional, eccentric, and all around fabulous girls, but their history stretches all the way back to the dawn of ballet and beyond. In the 14th century their brethren, the petticoat, were worn under huge creampuff dresses to create a more desirable shape, but strangely enough, in modern times the terms "tutu" and "petticoat" have become interchangeable, meaning short, fluffy skirts made of tulle, crinoline, or silk. Nevertheless, these swingin' circles of sugary-sweet fabric have captivated so many and still somehow hold the power to make any girl the center of the room. Looking for your very own tutu or, for you DIY girls, directions on how to make your own? Look no further - here's the Cocoa guide to the sparkling, shimmering, cotton candy joy that is tutus. 

 Making A Tutu
For the No-Sew Girl
As crazy as it sounds, no-sew tutus are incredibly easy to make and require so much less time and effort than full-blown tiered ones do. All you need to make one of these fabulous, fluffy skirts is a few yards of tulle your favorite color (or colors!), a pair of scissors, and a piece of elastic long enough to fit around your waist with room to spare. Simply knot the two ends of the elastic together so that it makes a neat little circle, cut the tulle into strips, and tie them one right next to another on the piece of elastic, as shown here. Easy as that! You can embellish your brand new tutu with just about anything you can think of, if a plain and simple skirt is a little too boring for you - tie pieces of silky ribbon in-between the strips of tulle, hand-stitch a loop-de-loop design around the bottom, or even make flowers out of the remaining scraps of tulle and stitch them into elastic!

For the Sew-Happy Girl
Take it from me, sewing your own tutu is not a good idea unless you're both super experienced with sewing and extremely patient. I took the plunge and made an attempt to sew my very own a few months ago and, while it came out with only a few little flaws, it took about seven hours and bundles upon bundles of tulle. If you have the time and experience, though, the possibilities are endless - you can make tutus from just about anything, from old t-shirts to kids bed sheets to your favorite curtains to vintage kimonos. There's a fabulous tutorial on how to do exactly that over at Instructables, covering all of the basics and displaying some amazing tutus to jump-start your creative juices, as well!

 Finding The Perfect Tutu
Believe it or not, vintage tutus are everywhere - the trick is to know where to look. Antique shops, vintage clothing stores, and even thrift stores usually have these tiny gems hidden in-between 1970's aprons and pencil skirts, sometimes even dangling from the ceiling like gauzy halos of tulle. Not up for a hunt? My all-time favorite tutus come from the online retailer Sock Dreams, featuring everything from victorian-style petticoats to sweetly short crinolines all for a super-reasonable price. In terms of the mainstream, Hot Topic has a genuinely funky selection of tutus that are just short enough for us under-5'5'' girls to pull off without looking weighed down by our huge skirts, but if you have the cash to spend and want to go all out, Lacey's has a gorgeous collection of super-pouffy bubblegum colored tutus perfect for any eccentric fashionista.
Penelope ♥


Zoë said...

tutus are fun
arent they :)

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog. It's so sweet and light, like the perfect chocolate mousse cake: never too thick, just a creamy sugary swirl with the slight current of cocoa underneath. I wish that there are more people in the world like you.

Eagerly looking forward to updates.


Durban's Gossip Girl said...

I have to agree with flame fall. Very cute blog...look forward to more interesting posts...all the way from South Africa! :-)