Selection, Storage and Cleaning your Tutu

Selecting the right tutu for you:
Selecting a tutu can be exciting because often, when you buy a tutu it means you've reached a landmark in your ballet career.

Portions of this article are (with thanks), from the following Blog.

It may be as simple as your first school performance, or as special as your first dance competition. Or perhaps you've just reached the stage in your ballet training where you're ready to wear a rehearsal tutu in class. Whatever the reason, congratulations!

In this article, I'm going to concentrate on the Classical tutu, not the long Romantic tutu. There are two main Classical styles - the wide, flat Russian version (sometimes called "platter" or "pancake" style) and the smaller, softer English style - but there are many variations in between.

The Rehearsal Tutu
It's likely your first tutu will be for use in practice. The rehearsal/ practice tutu has no bodice - it looks rather like ruffles stitched on to a panty.

In fact, the cheaper versions are just that: a pair of stretchy pull-on "granny pants" with a ruffle attached or the ruffle is attached to a simple waistband having no panty attached. Their ruffles are floppy and the ill fitting making it difficult to partner in.

In a proper rehearsal tutu, the panty is made up of two sections. The top section - the part that's visible above the tutu frill - is called the Basque. The bottom is the panty area where the ruffles are attached. See, "Anatomy of A Tutu". Our rehearsal tutu unlike most, are hooped and tacked which adds to the overall look and durability. This kind of professional practice tutu is unquestionably your best choice. Not only does it look better, it feels and behaves like a performance tutu - which means you feel like you are dancing in costume.

In fact, you can use our rehearsal tutu for performance just by adding a separate bodice, or (for student recitals) a leotard.

Don't think a bodice/tutu combination is somehow "make-do" - some of the best tutu makers sell all their tutu skirts and bodices as separates, because they feel this offers dancers the maximum flexibility to customize their costume.

We sell our Rehearsal Tutus in White and Black and offer 13" and 15" lengths constructed with diamond netting A.K.A Balanchine net.


The Performance Tutu
If you're in the market for a serious tutu - perhaps you've made a competition final, or have a big audition - our Performance tutus are a perfect investment. A good custom-made tutu will cost you about up to $500 and take as much as a couple weeks to make.

If you can sew, you can save money by buying a plain tutu and sewing on your own embellishment. Boring though it may be, a plain white tutu is the best choice for your first professional tutu, because it will work for any of the classics and can also be used for other roles by adding trims.

The final option is to commission our company to create your tutu from the base up to embellishment. Embellishment can cost anywhere from $100.00 - $400.00 in addition to the base price depending upon the detail in the decoration. In addition, we will design and construct a matching headpiece.


How to Carry & Store a Tutu
The best way to carry a tutu is in a proper tutu bag. Otherwise, it's easy to crush your tutu when carrying it. If you absolutely cannot transport your tutu flat, pick the tutu up by the waistband and slide it into our bag with the pocket side down. This will allow you to gently fold the tutu with the ruffles facing the outside. You will find this position folds with more ease than in the other direction. You can carry and store your tutu in this position for a short period such as an airplane ride without spoiling the lift of the ruffles. Warning - do not place anything on top of your tutu in this position or fold it too tightly as you will permanently bend the hooping wire. Our bags have a pocket on the outside for storage of your headpiece, tights, shoes or makeup for performance. Our bag also has a crotch strap in the inside center of the bag for stabilization to insure the edges of your tutu from being bent. We suggest that you store your tutu in the back wall of your closet by hanging one handle on a nail or hook. Make sure that your tutu is stored dry and clean.

If you have to pack tutus away, put a desiccant in with them. You don't have to buy desiccant - just save up all those little packets you get when you buy vitamins and throw them in the bag with your tutu.


How to Clean a Tutu
You can clean a plain tutu by washing it in lukewarm water with a small quantity of mild detergent and soft scrub brush. To avoid crushing, wash it in the bathtub!

If your tutu is adorned, cleaning is more of a headache. So, the embellishment has to be removed before washing to prevent bleeding onto your base tutu. Unfortunately, dry cleaning isn't a solution, as chemicals can ruin the net or tulle ruffling. You can dry clean the bodice and Basque by removing it from the ruffle. This is another good reason for designing your tutu so the embellishments can be removed before washing!

You can reduce the need for washing it by wearing a nude camisole leotard underneath. This creates a barrier and reduces the amount of sweat and body oils that contact the tutu.

Some dancers simply don't wash their tutus. Instead, they spot-clean the areas most affected by sweat and keep the rest fresh with odor-removing sprays such as Febreze. If you're going to use Febreze, leave the tutu to air dry after treatment, and make sure it's completely dry before packing it away. If you are allergic to the perfumes in Febreze good old-fashioned Vodka does the trick. Vodka kills the bacteria that create odor. It is best to treat your tutu with either solution immediately after taking it off after performance. If you wait until it has dried, it is more difficult to remove body odor.

Not washing your tutu will certainly shorten its life because sweat, body oils and make-up will eventually rot the fabric. So, we highly suggest utilizing one of the cleaning methods listed above.

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