What's the best way to store or hang a tutu? —Leslie
Tutus are very delicate and expensive, so storing them properly is a must—especially if you have pets. (I once woke up to my cat chewing my Marzipan tutu to pieces!) I asked Laura Berry, costume shop manager and tutu designer at The Rock School for Dance Education, for her pro tips.
If you're in between performances or storing your tutu short-term, Berry recommends hanging it upside down or with a special tutu hanger. However, the hanger only goes through one leg of the tutu panty, potentially stretching out the elastic over time. (To prevent this, some tutus have ribbon loops sewn inside the basque, the material along the hips above the panty.) "Don't hang a tutu by the elastic shoulder straps," Berry warns. "They will stretch out and decay." For extra protection, keep it in a tutu garment bag, but be careful that the tulle edges don't get crumpled.
For long-term storage, spot-clean sweat-prone areas—like the armpits and crotch—first, since perspiration decays fabric over time. Using a spray spot cleaner like Shout, gently scrub the fabric with warm water and a damp cloth and lightly rinse. (Do not get the tutu netting wet, as it will go limp.) After the material dries completely, lay it flat upside down and out of the sunlight, such as under your bed or on a large shelf. If there is an attached bodice with lots of embellishments, face it away from the tutu to prevent snags. Store the costume in a tutu bag made of breathable fabric or cover it with a sheet to protect it from sun and dust. "Make sure it's not covered in plastic, which can breed bacteria," says Berry. "And never dry-clean a tutu."
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.