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  • Jenna Anderson

1955 'Sissi' Ballgown Tutu Process, aka, 'I really am a crazy tutu person'

You can donate to my upcoming trip to London by clicking here!

 

Well, I'm really in to tutus, if that wasn't clear yet from this London project ! I wanted to show you some of my latest project, based on a 1950's costume drama. It is the most labour intensive tutu I’ve ever done, and definitely what I’m most proud of! I really love tutus :)

Romy Schneider stars in the 1955 film 'Sissi', about the infamous empress of Austria

Chicago 2017, I happened upon images from the 1955 costume trilogy 'Sissi', starring Romy Schneider. I loved her costumes, and I especially loved her blue ballgown. It is so tastefully extra; I couldn't stop looking at it! And all I could think about was chopping it short and making it a tutu! The bodice is so clean cut and structured, and I was intrigued by the skirt and how blatant the shiny satin and ruffles contrasted.




I thought it would be fun to reinterpret the traditional pink, froo froo Fairy Doll costume that we so often see into a different kind of extra: Victorian porcelain doll extra!


 

Tutu


 




One classical tutu usually has the equivalent of about one football field of net in it! It's a LOT! A typical classical tutu has about 9-10 layers of net in it; this one had 11.


In addition, instead of scalloping or dagging the edges, I stitched hand-dyed sparkly silver lace onto EVERY. SINGLE. LAYER.


No, I am not crazy!


Altogether, there are 2 football fields of material in this tutu! This is already becoming very extra!

That got interesting when I had to sew it. I'm so glad that Mixxer had industrial Jukis; it was a workout to fit it all underneath the machine!


But... it was worth it for this moment!


Because of how thick this tutu was, I decided to stack some of the layers instead of evenly distributing them in a traditional tutu. The bottom layers are closer together,

and the top layers are spread further out.


 

Flowers

 

I'm going to start out by saying...I don't want to make another flower for AT LEAST a week. A few fun (*real* fun) facts about these flowers:

  • 80 yards of 4 different ribbons

  • 225 flowers

  • 500 individual pieces

  • 150 beads

  • 200 individually placed leaves

  • 25 appliques

  • 425 assembled pieces on this tutu

  • 80+ hours of work

  • I'm fine; thanks for asking!

  • Yes, my fingers *are* scarred for life!


All flowers were handstitched on to netting for support, trimmed down, and then tacked to the tutu plate. And now, enjoy some spam flower pictures because they took over 80 hours! :)



 

Tutu Plate

 

BESIDES the flowers (just a few flowers), there were some other elements. I dyed silk organza to match the satin I had chosen for the bodice and tutu plate. This was gathered into the top half of the tutu plate. I'm not going to lie, this satin and silk organza combo was a pain in the butt. And this took...a while :) I added two layers of ruffles to the top half.


AND THESE PLEATED LAYERS, THO...

I made a pleat board out of paper, and pleated a lot of silk organza. And hemmed a lot. It was a lot.

I also cut out gold pieces to echo the connecting elements of the original design on the ballgown.

And then it started coming together...FINALLY!





And of COURSE. We can't forget...


 

The Bodice

 




Want to see the finished tutu? You'll have to see in on my Facebook page this Sunday ;)


~See you there~

Cheers,

Jenna A



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Custom costumes and dancewear 

Based in Winston-Salem, NC USA