Prescott & Mackay School of Fashion and Accessory design launch new ballet course

June 15, 2011

Ballet News

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Two-Day Ballet Tutu Boned Bodice Course

If you’re considering a career after dance, or want to add skills to your existing repertoire, Prescott & Mackay are offering a new, two day course offering design and technical instruction which could help you launch your own business. The company offers a unique range of short courses in accessory design from studios in London, England, San Francisco, USA, and Melbourne, Australia. Courses include shoemaking, bag making, belt making, corsetry, millinery and tutu making, and students can choose to have private tuition on all the courses.

Founded in 1977 by Brit Melissa Needham, the first weekend accessory classes were taught from humble surroundings in East London but quickly developed a strong demand and the company moved to London’s West End. In 2003 Prescott & Mackay opened Black Truffle. The two London stores – 4 Broadway Market, London E8 and 52 Warren St, London, W1T (the same location as the teaching studio) feature seasonal collections of shoes and accessories by small contemporary design labels from the UK, Europe and beyond. Black Truffle won the Best New Shoe Store Award in 2009, and was voted a finalist – Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year in Drapers Footwear Awards 2010.

The ballet tutu bodice course

Duration: 14 hours
Class times: 10am – 6pm
Course tutor: Amanda Hall

This course is aimed at those wishing to make a classical ballet bodice. It covers construction techniques and offers design guidance and suggestions for decorating the costume. Although suitable for dance, this fitted bodice has much less constraint than a corset, so the techniques learnt on this course can be easily applied to a more comfortable fashion outfit such as bridalwear and decorative corsets. The course would also be useful for students who have done our Two-Day Tutu-Making Course and would like to complete their costume with a bodice.

sewing a bodice onto a tutu

attaching the bodice to the skirt (tutu)

Over the two days students will work towards making a 10-panel coutil-backed, boned bodice. This will include:

  • cutting and constructing a plain, piped bodice to a standard pattern
  • instruction on adapting the block and fitting a toile
  • instruction on how to attach the bodice to the tutu
  • discussion and suggestions for decorating the finished tutu costume, including patterning the topskirt

Although Prescott & Mackay endeavour for each student to complete their bodice, this may not always be possible depending on each student’s level of skills and the complexity of the decoration designs. Students will receive enough tuition and notes during the class to be able to decorate their tutu and complete the whole costume at home.

Tutor, costume maker Amanda Hall, is a dancewear specialist and creates tutus for many dance companies including The Royal Ballet. Included in the price are specialist materials such as cotton coutil, piping cord, boning, casing for bones, and elastics.

Amanda Hall is a costume and dancewear specialist. She graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 1987 and has worked ever since making costumes for theatre, film, television, many West End musicals, and with Mr Pearl, for couturers Christian Lacroix and Thierry Mugler.

Amanda has made costumes at the Royal Opera House in a freelance capacity for over 20 years; as well as making tutus for The Royal Ballet, she has also worked for English National Ballet, Northern Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

Amanda says : “Basic sewing skills and enthusiasm are all that are required for this course. It suits those interested in the process of making a ballet bodice and is also suitable for those wishing to pursue a career in costume making; indeed several ex-students have gone on to set up their own businesses. I have many years experience making ballet costumes for professional companies and can pass on tips for those wishing to learn how to make a woman’s ballet bodice suitable to attach to a tutu or longer Giselle or lyrical style skirt.”

Things you need to bring with you:

  • the fabric you wish to use as the top fabric for the bodice, including but not limited to: silk satin, dupion, or brocade. It is important to use reasonable quality cloth to ensure a satisfactory finished garment. Please send a sample if you need guidance with this.
  • the matching polyester and cotton thread to the colour of your top fabric
  • cutting out scissors
  • notebook
  • pencil
  • duvet or sheet to transport your tutu home
  • pins
  • hand sewing needles
  • print-outs of images of finished tutus with the type of decoration you wish to create. The tutor will give you suggestions in the discussion session.
  • decorations you wish to apply to your bodice or topskirt, such as lace, sequin, crystals, beads, feathers, and embroidery panels
  • your finished tutu skirt on which you wish to attach the bodice

No previous tutu-making experience necessary. Basic hand and machine sewing skills will be an advantage.

Class maximum: 4 students

The courses are held at :

Prescott & Mackay School of Fashion and Accessory Design

C/O Black Truffle
52 Warren St

Nearest underground stations: Warrren St, 2 minutes walk away. Great Portland St, 4 minutes wallk away

Airports: Served by all London airports inc Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick and City

Parking: On-street Pay and Display 8.30am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. Free parking all day Sunday

Amenities: Many cafes, restaurants and bars close by. 2 minutes to shops on Tottenham Court Rd.

Course attendees are entitled to 20% discount off full priced products at either of the two Black Truffle boutiques or the on-line store.

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