The 5 Hardest Challenges About Being A Couture Tutu Maker

© Award Winning Aqua Airbrushed Tutu by Monica Newell for Costume Creations UK,  All Rights Reserved.
© Award Winning Aqua Airbrushed Tutu by Monica Newell for Costume Creations UK, All Rights Reserved.

Is Couture Tutu  Designing Easy Or Hard?  Have you ever wondered what unique obstacles a professional designer faces on a regular basis whilst going about the daily task of providing dancers with custom-made costumes? Although every career has its good points and its bad points, there are special challenges that are par for the course when dealing with this particular line of work.

The Constant Aim Of  A Perfect Fit For Clients Of All Shapes And Sizes

No matter how creative a designer is, or how many concepts flow through her imagination, couture tutu making is an incredibly personal form of garment construction.  You are using your artistic talents to benefit another by offering your services to help them succeed in their dance careers.

Costume designers have many considerations,  but their number one challenge is the aim of a perfect fit for the client.  Bespoke tutu making involves heightened attention to constructing a garment that looks as though it were born to live on that dancer’s body. Every couture order involves:

  • Sending out detailed measurement charts and going over them with a fine-tooth comb for errors
  • Constant measuring and remeasuring to get the proper fit for the client
  • Keeping in mind the right fit for both appearance and movement

Coordinating A Design That Has To Pass Inspection On Multiple Levels

When we think about being our own boss, having our own costume-making company and enjoying the freedom to have full creative input in whatever we do, it can be easy to forget on how many levels a tutu design has to  “pass inspection”. There are literally hundreds of people who will be judging the appearance of a dancer’s costume:

  • The Client: Above all else, a tutu designer wants to please her client and satisfy her needs.
  • The Choreography : If a costume doesn’t work with the music and the storyline, it will stick out like a sore thumb and be condemned most harshly .
  • The Competition Judges: Need we say more? Competition judges vote on the total package, so a designer has the added challenge of making a garment that gives her client the very best chances of winning.
  • The Ballet Audience And General Public: Being a tutu maker means that your design is going to be ogled and in the public view where it can either receive accolades or criticism.

Sourcing The Best Materials To Create The Perfect Costume

© Designed by Monica Newell, All Rights Reserved.

Another challenge that a professional tutu designer faces is sourcing the best materials to create the right look for the finished costume. If the proper colours are not available, then a designer will have to use her artistic talents to hand-dye materials and paint fabric to match. Artistry, cleverness and ingenuity are the marks of those tutu makers that can create “something from nothing”.

 Providing Security For The Dancer On Stage

Because tutu making is an art form that few people can master, a dancer looks to the expertise of the garment designer to make sure everything is secure and safe for her movement during a performance.

Not only does the costume have to be gorgeous and flattering on the dancer, it has to have durable seams, strong straps and elastics that are 100% guaranteed to stay where they belong. A tutu designer also has to incorporate freedom and total comfort for the wearer as well as providing sturdy construction that meets professional ballet standards and looks absolutely enchanting on stage. Those, dear reader, are some incredible challenges!

Maintaining High Standards On A Consistent Basis

Ordering a couture dance garment works best when there is plenty of time for consultation and preparation. In the tutu making business, a well-established designer will have one client after another . There is no resting on their laurels or slacking off from those standards of excellence . A tutu designer can never “take a vacation”  from striving for perfection of couture technique.

Unlike many professions, tutu couture work is one that requires not only a supremely talented individual, but one who can thrive doing a job that demands the highest echelon of results day after day, year after year, client after client. Amazing people, aren’t they?

“Joy is of the will that labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph”. – William Butler Yeats


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