How to Make Ballet Costumes

Updated February 21, 2017

The dance art of ballet has been around for centuries. Having originated in France in 1661, some of the same steps and costumes are used in modern ballet performances. To make a ballet costume, study the traditional attire that ballet dancers wear on stage and tailor it to your recital's theme.

Measure the dancer's waist and write down the dimension. Draw the circumference of the waist on the tulle fabric, with consideration to the length that the tulle should fall from the waist down. If you want to make a pancake tutu, the tulle will be short in length so that it sticks out. A more romantic version of the tutu is one where the skirt falls lower, towards the knee, and has a petticoat beneath it for extra movement and body.

Sew a tulle skirt using a tutu sewing template. Attach the tulle skirt to a unitard. Ballet dancers, male and female, wear unitards allowing them to bend and move with grace and flexibility. Creating a one-piece with the tutu and the unitard keeps the costume in place as the ballerina dances.

Give the ballerina tights to wear beneath the unitard. Tights help the legs stand out to audiences from the distance on the stage and come in a variety of colours, which should be matched to your dancer's costume. For instance, if your ballerina is dancing the part in a forest scene, her tutu, unitard and tights might be green or she might wear a pink unitard, green tutu and green tights to resemble a flower.

Start with a unitard and tights. Often, male ballet dancers only need to wear unitards, tights and their ballet shoes for a dance role. If the dancer is playing a particular character, he may need to wear a jacket on top of the unitard.

Measure the dimensions of the male dancer's shoulders, chest and waist for a jacket. Find a suitable sewing pattern to use as a template for a jacket, if the costume calls for one.

Accessorise the male dancer's costume by giving him gloves and a hat to wear. Hats should have chinstraps that hold the hat in place while the dancer is dancing.


Look for sewing templates for ballet tutus and jackets at fabric and craft stores. These patterns can also be purchased through Internet sewing sites, available for download, which you can print.

Things You'll Need

  • Tutu sewing template
  • Jacket sewing template
  • Unitard
  • Tulle
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Tights
  • Ballet shoes
  • Hat
  • Gloves
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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.