Making tutu’s for professional ballet companies and other behind the scene peeks

I worked in theater and costumes BM (before marriage) and one of my favorite jobs was at the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company in Seattle, WA.  I loved being back stage watching the ballerinas dance and hearing their shoes strike the stage. I was enthralled with the dancers during warm up and, completely entranced as I watch them dance en pointe.  I worked up in the costume shop and I enjoyed watching the ladies make tutus. The process has very little to do with the way we see tutus on Pinterest  or DIY sites. It’s quite an involved process and can take many hours to complete based on all those fine details we love.

I found this video of Sarah Bacon a designer of costume tutu’s. I love what she says about sewing (plus, watch for her cat I’m sure it’s a familiar sight to many of us). All of what she says rings true to sewers whether we are professional costumers or home sewers.  It is very black and white – you either love sewing or you don’t. We’re all joined together in our love of sewing and it’s such a wonderful community whether we are online or in person professional or hobbyist. Click on the image below or click here to hear her in her own words.


For those who can’t get enough, here’s a longer one from the New York City Ballet behind the scenes.

And, here is another fascinating look with Mal Burton of the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House.  I could geek out on this stuff all day long!

And, if you ever wanted to know how many ballet shoes a company goes through in a week, watch this very short video. At one company I worked at the ballerinas would give tiny future dancers their shoes after performances. To see these little girls take these was adorable.

Are you fascinated by dancers and what goes on behind the curtain? If you’d like to get a sneak peek at costumers and what they do check out the blog Custom Style. There are great posts on what it’s like to work as a costumer.


  1. Jill, This is really wonderful. To see the customs and all the beautiful jewels brings back a few memories for me . I was a ballerina in my youth (age 7-15). Then the company changed to creative dance, which I finished high school doing. It is so wonderful watching the steps to make a tutu. Thank you for sharing this and all the videos too. This has been for me a well spent afternoon.


  2. Jill, this was so fascinating. I watched everyone of those videos. I always regretted that I quit my ballet in 7th grade because my girlfriend didn’t want to go anymore and I didn’t want to go by myself. The costumes were just gorgeous to see up close. Thanks so much for sharing this. Melanie

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • And, you were probably at the pointe stage? Or going into it? I fell out of theatre life and I sort of regret it. Ah, well we can live vicariously through the Internet.


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