Ask Amy: How Do I Keep My Tutu From Sticking Up?

August 20, 2014

My studio purchased practice tutus with seven stiff layers to use in a performance. Even after tacking the layers together, the tutus want to turn inside out when we leap and stay stuck upward. Do you have any advice? —Lisa

If you’re going to use the tutus for a performance, you should probably ask your costume manager for help before taking one apart—especially if you’re all thumbs when it comes to sewing. But if you don’t have one at your studio, I asked costume designer Holly Hynes for her insights. She suspects the hoop inside the tutu is too tight, which is causing it to flip and, unfortunately, stay up. Luckily, you should be able to enlarge its circumference.

The hoop, which helps the tutu retain its shape, is buried within the middle layers of tulle. If you stick your finger through the layers, you should be able to find it—it’s encased in a tulle sleeve. Hynes notes that making the hoop bigger will make the tutu fullness spread, so untack the layers first. Afterwards, feel around the casing until you find where the hoop’s ends fasten together. Using a seam ripper, open a small slit in the casing to expose the fastener, and adjust the hoop’s size by pulling the ends gently. There should be an overlap of about two inches. “You’ll probably only need an inch,” says Hynes. Once adjusted, stitch the casing back up and re-tack the skirt.

Have a question? Send it to
Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.