Bustier Top

I made a bustier to go with my big, red skirt.

The fabric is a silk/wool gazaar; leftovers from a wedding guest dress my sister made.

For the pattern, I started with  tutu pattern 2104 from Tutus that Dance.  This might be an unusual starting point for a home sewer, but I figured that ballerinas don't have a large bust, and neither do I, so it might be a good starting point.

I did make a muslin.  I put a zip in the muslin to facilitate fitting to minimise the contortionist requirements to fit a garment to oneself.  I did my first muslin late at night, and then the next morning, the tummy area was too loose.  I decided to go with the looser fit, as it is morelikely to be an evening garment than a day one.  Besides, it is good to have room to eat!  I also knew that the bow on my skirt would take up a bit of room.

The tutu pattern very sensibly comes with 1 inch seam allowances at the CF and side seams and 2 inch seam allowances at the CB.  It has 1/2 inch seam allowances everywhere else.  Ballerinas don't come with a belly though, and I do, so I had to add quite a lot of fabric to the belly seam.  The pictures below show me pointing to where the seam originally was and where it is now.

The tutu construction method allows for relatively easy fit changes; I guess so that the tutu can be worn by different dancers in later productions.  The lining is sewn to the outer fabric pieces before the seams are sewn (essentially as an interlining).  The princess seams are sewn together, then the top and bottom edges of the bodice are finished before sewing the side seams, which makes it easy to let out or take in the side seams later.  I decided to follow this construction method, as my bustier is not likely to be a high wear item and I like the idea that somebody else may find it in years to come, and adjust it to fit themselves.

The bodice has 8 panels.  As I said, I was making this out of leftover fabric, so I was not able to pattern match the 8 pieces.  I did try to match areas of colour and dark.

The above photo shows the lining attached to the outer fabric and the seams being pressed open.  I used quilters basting spray to attach the lining to the outer fabric before finishing the edges of each piece (I'm sure I took a photo of the spray glue basting, but I can't find it).

For the lining I used cotton sheeting that I picked up in an op shop years ago.  The sheets were discards from a resort.  They had a few rips and tears but did not seem worn and they are very densely woven, with no give, so I think they must be 1200 thread count sheets or similar.  I initially bought it to use for muslins, but found  I needed a new needle to pierce the fabric, so I put it aside for  tutus when I was sewing dance costumes.  It seems perfect fabric for bustier linings.

I only boned the CF seam, using the seam allowance as casing.  I have put in rigiliene boning, but have not sewn the channels shut, as I would like to order steel boning for my next bustier, and I will replace the bones then.

I departed from the construction instructions to add an elastic waist stay.  The ballerinas have stays to attach the tutu bodice to basque / panties / skirt, that I obviously didn't need.

I sewed strips of bra hook and eye tape to the back for closing, which is not as strong as the hooks generally used for tutus, or bustiers, but it was what I had on hand.  All the materials used for this project were from stash, so it was essentially a "free" project.

Here are some photos of the inside.  You can see that I have not finished hand sewing the binding to the lining...I wore it unfinished!


  1. It's beautiful! I remember loving Bernice's dress and that spectacular fabric.

  2. Oh ditto the above.. I remember Bernice's dress which I also love. It is a beautiful bustier and looks perfect with your skirt. I have to say you know some amazing websites for patterns!

  3. Great work and I love the thinking out of the square...

  4. Oh I adore that fabric! I was quite bummed when I missed out getting some, but it's not really my colouring anyway. Not that it matters, coz it's clearly your colouring, and goes beautifully with your skirt. It's a really beautiful bustier :)

  5. The floral is just gorgeous! And I am really in love with that full red skirt.

  6. I love the colour combination. You look gorgeous.

  7. Beautiful. You are the epitome of glamour.

  8. That fabric - wow - and it really suits your colouring! Love this bustier, it's perfect with your new skirt, and what a great idea to use a ballet bodice pattern even if they do assume crazy tiny waists! The idea of matching up the dark and coloured sections works really well, I'm going to have to try to remember that for limited fabric sewing...