Monday, 27 December 2010

How to make a "Pancake" Tutu

Again, courtesy of my Mama!

These are the tutus seen in ballets such as Swan Lake, or the Nutcracker (specifically in the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy) which stick out.

You will need:

Measuring tape
Ribbon, Leotard, ballet basque or dance briefs
Snaps (only if using Ribbon) 
Sewing machine  
Stiff petticoat tulle

The tutu should be attached to dance briefs. The tutu could also be attached to a leotard for a beginner, but they are typically worn on dance briefs (or a basque) either with a bodice, or attatched to a bodice.

Typically, a pancake tutu falls from the dancer's hip, just below the waist.

Cut three to four lengths each of tulle in successive layers ranging in length from 12 1/2 inches to 1 1/2 inches. There should be a 1 to 2 inch gradation in the layers from the top to the bottom. (So there should be between 36 and 48 layers)

Stitch each layer horizontally onto the brief or lower basque, starting with the longest and working downwards to the crotch. You will need to use the gathering foot attachment on your sewing machine.

To gain stiffness in the tutu, add a wired layer. To create a wired layer use soft, plaiable wire sewn into two pieces of tulle in a circle around the base and the top. This should be placed either in the middle or at the base, depending on how you wish your tutu to look.
Alternatively, if you wished to be able to wear your tutu for more general purposes, you could build it around a thick piece of ribbon, adding snaps to enable you to open and close it - follow the instructions on building a Romantic tutu when measuring ribbon sizes etc.
Again, buy more tulle than you think you need!
Callie xx


  1. you really know how to do this! So do I. I did before reading this too. You can also use a store bought tutu and just sew a wire in.

  2. Hi Callie, I can't see the picture.