Unlike the stretchy leotards worn for class and rehearsal, real ballet performance bodices are made of sturdy woven fabrics, patterned for a close fit and built using techniques borrowed from historical bodice-making and corsetry techniques, such as self-piping, flatlining and understitching, that we have included as options in these ballet performance patterns.
Pattern #1072: Corps de Ballet for 18" Dolls features a charming FITTED BODICE with a self-piped scoop neckline, pointed front and low back. Pattern #1072 also features a graceful ROMANTIC TUTU, made exactly like the real thing from gradated lengths of tulle, gathered and stitched in rows to a hidden BASQUE a wide, fitted band from waistline to hip that fits smoothly under the bodice and is itself attached to a tailored PANTY with elastic leg openings.
But it is on the corps de ballet the sylphs, swans, snowflakes and flowers brought to life by dedicated company members that the graceful lines and floating tulle of the Romantic tutu have found their primary place. For pure loveliness, nothing beats a group of dancers in Romantic tutus, all floating beautifully across the stage together!
For all the maidens and princesses-in-disguise, we've included directions to create a "Peasant style" version of our Corps de Ballet bodice and Romantic tutu with faux lacing and a layer of chiffon fabric replacing the top layer of tulle.
Pattern #1073: Prima Ballerina for 18" Dolls features a STRAPLESS BODICE with a nude-look or contrasting front inset and elastic shoulder straps a perfect doll-scale replica of a style popular with real life prima ballerinas and competition dancers.
Pattern #1073 also features the crown jewel of our dance collection the CLASSICAL TUTU. An essential part of the principal dancer's wardrobe since the late 19th century, the Classical tutu was developed to show off the elegant leg extensions and fast footwork made possible by the parallel development of the pointe shoe.
The tutu's position on the hips instead of the waist emphasizes a long, sleek body line and allows the dramatic lifts and balances favored by Classical era choreographers for prima ballerinas and their male partners.
Our Classical tutu is made exactly like the real thing, with alternating channels of tightly gathered tulle stitched to a perfectly-patterned panty in gradated lengths from the wide "pancake" top to the dainty shirred ruffles close to the elastic leg openings. A neat, self-piping-edged basque fills the space between the hip-hugging tutu and the bodice for a seamless, yet flexible look.
If you have both dolls and dancers in your life, and have dreamed of making a full size Classical tutu of your own, this pattern is a great place to start. A professional tutu maker will spend eighty hours or more on such a tutu a daunting task for anyone to consider. But you can complete our doll-scale tutu in a tiny fraction of that time, while learning the same skills and following the same steps you'll need for the real thing!
As an added bonus, we've included a tutorial for turning knee-high trouser socks into doll-size DANCE TIGHTS, and information on the ballet slippers and leg warmers we show in our pictures throughout these patterns.
Can't decide which pattern you want? With the BALLET PERFORMANCE BUNDLE, you are free to mix and match all our bodices and tutus to create a wide range of looks for just about any repertory, recital, competition, fantasy, folklore or fairytale costume at a price significantly reduced from purchasing the patterns separately.
The ROMANTIC TUTU with BASQUE and PANTY is rated INTERMEDIATE for limited hand finishing work, elastic insertion on the panty leg openings, and working with tulle.
The CLASSICAL TUTU with BASQUE and PANTY is rated INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED for working with tulle, elastic insertion, rotary cutter use, and tight tolerances.
As usual, Lee & Pearl's photo-illustrated directions and computer-drafted, guaranteed-to-fit-together pattern pieces make each step as easy as possible.
Since launching our Etsy shop with a single 18" doll pattern in July of 2013, Lee & Pearl have built a reputation for quality patterns that sew easily and fit perfectly. You will never find a mis-matched curve in a Lee & Pearl pattern! But along with those reliable pieces, clear directions and carefully drafted measurements, Lee & Pearl are proud of our reputation for making patterns for doll clothes — clothes that anyone can make — that look just like the real thing.
Whether it's a perfectly-detailed, but still easy to make baseball cap, or a mesh trucker hat, or a skating dress with a skirt carefully drafted to hang just like the real ones, or a slinky wrap dress indistinguishable from a '70s original, or a unisex t-shirt that manages to be both unfitted and fitted enough to slip under jackets, or a replica U.S. Army uniform that has to be seen — and made — to be believed, or... we could go on and on.
And don't get us started on our hat patterns. Lee & Pearl designer, Elizabeth Atwater Menes, studied millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Perfectly made hat patterns will always be a Lee & Pearl specialty.
In 2014, we added a Fabric & Trim Kit section to our Etsy shop, to share some of the wonderful, hard-to-find fabrics and materials we are lucky to be able to source here in the Los Angeles garment district. Check our selection regularly for new additions before they sell out — or scroll down and subscribe to our mailing list to hear about new kits as soon as they launch!
We LOVE doll craft tutorials. We love to watch them, read them and most of all, we love to make them.
We also link to our own, and other favorite tutorials from crafters around the Internet, on our Pinterest Crafts & Tutorials Board.
One of our most popular tutorial features is the FREE "Tweak the Pattern" we often feature in our monthly newsletters.
We love it when people take our patterns beyond the outfit on the cover. In fact, we often do that ourselves. And when we do, we love to put those ideas into free pattern or tutorial form for our Newsletter subscribers.
Here are a few of our recent pattern tweaks:
Use the FREE Tweak the Pattern skirt pieces to turn popular Pattern #1055: Skating Dresses for 18" Dolls into a whole range of red carpet, recital, Ice Princess and bridal gowns.
Here's a swimsuit Tweak of Pattern #1051: Ballet Basics for 18" Dolls — and here's an easy felt beanie tweak of Pattern #1008: Classic Ball Cap and Big Fat Trucker Hat for 18" Dolls.
Don't worry if you missed any of these tweaks: all newsletter content, including the FREE Tweak the Pattern downloads, are available in our Newsletter Archive.