Honors College Theses

Recreating a classical Sleeping Beauty tutu and bodice using modern methods

Publication Date



Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Sarah McCarroll


Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty was first produced in the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 15, 1890. Since the ballet’s debut, the design and construction of the leading tutus have evolved and spread considerably. In most modern renditions of this particular ballet, the silhouette of the tutu includes a skirt made of net tulle that sticks straight out from either the hip or the waist, depending on the exact style. This silhouette that is so integral to a majority of modern ballets did not appear until the 1870s, just twenty short years before Sleeping Beauty’s debut. This project will consist of a reconstruction based on one of the costumes from the original Sleeping Beauty, which made use of Bell Tutus as opposed to the Classical Tutu, which was new and still scandalous in more conservative countries like Russia. The Bell Tutu has a beautiful short dome shaped skirt that ends above the knee. It is made of a combination of tulle and net tulle, and can keep its shape without the use of any hooping or under support. The character that this reconstruction is based on is the Fairy of the Golden Vine. She is the fairy that gifts Aurora with a strong will. Her dress is generally based in deep reds and greys, with bright accents to match her short and abrupt choreography. Through this process I will be examining the differences in stitching techniques from 1890 and today.

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