How to… Make a tutu   Leave a comment

So I wanted a cute little tutu for LA for her birthday pictures. We had a ladybug theme party (wow, just realized I didn’t update some of those pictures!) and I wanted a little ladybug tutu. So I checked Etsy.


but like 30+ dollars.

Surely, this is something I could do myself….. right?

So I did what I do best… researched. I looked all over the web for tutorials, preferrably with pictures (I need pictures).

I found lots…. so what I’m about to explain is in no way new or original… just what worked for me.

The two sites that helped me a lot (In the idea of full disclosure) were Little Pink Monster and  MomDot.

Supplies needed:

Tulle- 3 rolls (6 inch or so) OR 10-20 yards (unless you are working with smaller toddler baby, then 10 should be sufficient…could even do for less)

Elastic for waistband-  One inch is good for bigger girls and 3/4 of an inch good for the tinier tots.

Ribbon- I got nice thick glossy ribbon


Some thred and needle

Any embelishments (like pom poms to make it ladybuggy… or sequins, ribbons, glitter, what not)

Cardboard & Rubber bands (if you choose to use that method, it seemed like more work to me)

Something to hold the tuto for you- I used an oatmeal container 🙂

So my first order of business was how much tulle I needed. One recommended 2o yards the other suggested using 3 rolls of tulle from the wedding aisle at the local craft store. Other sites suggested more or less.

After having done it I can see why the roll would be good to do (less cutting) but I went head and bought by the yard. I bought 10 yards (6 red and 4 black) because my little LA is still, well, little. Ten yards actually ended up being more than enough. I only used about two thirds of it or less.

NOW here is where I might do things differently. You really only need the strips of tulle to be about six inches wide. So the advice about buying it on the rolls is good because then it is already the correct width. However, black tulle is not often sold in the wedding aisle…. so I did buy by the yard.

My first order of business was to cut it into 6 inch width strips. I folded it, laid it out and cut. It wasn’t too big a deal.

Next I measured how tall LA was and figure dout how long I wanted the tutu to be basically. The websites suggest about 22 to 24 inches. Basically you take the number you want it to end up at and double it. So since I wanted LA to have a 12 inch long tutu I needed to cut it in 24 inch strips. But you can also trim it up when you are done, so you don’t have to be exact.

Little Pink Monsters has a trick for using cardboard to do this cutting quickly. I just went ahead and laid it out to cut again but I can see how (if you have cardboard and rubber band handy, which I did not) it would be quick.  In that method you wrap the tulle around the cardboard, rubberband it down and just make one cut to get it right. But this also only works if you use the roll of tulle… which I also did not do.

So the next step was to cut the elastic to length and sew it together. Here was another variation in advice. One site said to measure your childs waist and subtract 2-3 inches. Another site said to add 1/2 inch to the measurement. I went with the idea to subtract an inch or two so that it would be snug and not stretch out. (by the way, it worked, I was happy with the fit). Then just sew (or use sewing glue) the ends together.

Next comes the fun part. You need to find something to hold the elastic in place while you work. Oatmeal container worked perfectly for me.

Then you take your 6 inch wide 24 inch long strip of tulle and make a slip knot.

Then some more…

If you want your tutu thicker and fluffier and fuller you can lay several layers of tulle on top of each other and do the slip knot. You could have colors layered over each other or do a patter like I did…. the skys the limit 🙂

You go all the way around and then you can (optional) tie the ribbon in a bow over the section where the elastic meets.

This whole thing literally took me about 15 minutes.

Steve said he was going to bed and I said, “I’m going to at least start on that tutu.” And before I knew it I was done!

Super super easy.

Here is the finished result:

I was happy with the results and it cost me like 20 bucks…. which didn’t seem like a huge savings until I realized I had quite a bit of extra fabric. I could probably have done it for 10 bucks, especially if I had a coupon at the craft store.

BTW you’ll notice I never did the pom poms and what not… it didn’t seem to need it!

Another variation could be to make the tutu really long and tie a ribbon in the empire waist area to make a tutu dress. Super cute!

I am even considering making a Cookie Monster tutu for my little LA to be for Halloween 🙂


Posted October 9, 2011 by etainl in Arts & Crafts, Cutting Costs, How To

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