Whether you’re an aspiring ballet dancer or just want to pretend to be one for Halloween, this article will show you how to make your own voluminous tutu from tulle.
Making a No-Sew Tutu
Get your tulle. Being so sheer, a lot of tulle is necessary to create a wearable tutu. For a small tutu (child size) use between 2-4 yards of fabric. For a medium tutu, you will need between 5-7 yards of tulle. A large tutu can be made using 8-10 yards of tulle.
Create your waistband. The waistband of a no-sew tutu is simply an extra long piece of ribbon tied around the waist. Choose a ribbon that is at least ½ inch thick and is wire-free in a hue that matches the tulle. Wrap it around your waist where you want the tutu to sit, and add an extra 2 feet of length before cutting.
Cut your tulle into strips. Lay your tulle out flat, and cut it into dozens of long strips measuring between wide. For a fluffier, fuller skirt, use wide strips. To create a tutu that lays down a bit more and looks more intricate, use thin strips of fabric.
Fold the strips in half. In order to add the tulle strips to the ribbon, they must all be folded in half first. You can choose to do this as you work, or fold them all in half at the get-go. This should leave two tail ends together at one end with a loop at the other.
Add your first strip. Place a strip folded in half over the top of the ribbon. Move it so that the loop overlaps the ribbon with about sticking out over the top. Wrap the tail ends in the opposite direction away from the loop, and then pull them around and through the loop over the top of the ribbon. This will create a classic hacking knot.
Add additional strips. Continue the process of adding stips via hacking knot to the ribbon. Pull the tail ends tight to minimize the ‘knot’ around the ribbon and to make space for other pieces. Slide them together to keep the tutu organized and smoothed out.
Finish adding your strips. The ribbon needs 1 foot of length on either end to be used as ties for the skirt. When you have added enough tulle strips that the ribbon is completely covered except for these two tail ends, your tutu is finished.
Sport your new tulle tutu. Wear your tutu around town by wrapping the ribbon around your waist and tying it in a knot or bow at the small of your back. Gently fluff up the tulle strips to add volume to your skirt, making your tutu more fun and adding to the classic look.
Sewing a Tutu
Select your supplies. For a tutu that you sew, you will need to get plenty of fabric. For a small child’s tutu, get between 2-4 yards. A medium sized tutu can be made using 5-7 yards, and a large one with 8-10 yards. You will also need elastic for the waistband, matching thread, and a sewing machine. You can hand stitch your tutu, but it will take a very long time and a lot of effort.
For a short skirt, your tulle needs to be at least 54” thick. Find tulle that is wider than this for a longer tutu.
Fold your tulle. Fold your the entire piece of your tulle in half width-wise (making your 54” into 27”). Then, fold your skirt in half again in the same direction, thus creating four layers of tulle.
Cut your elastic. Wrap the elastic band around your waist where you want the tutu to sit. Pull the elastic taut so that there is no space between it and your skin. Cut the elastic to this length, with no overlap of the ends.
Sew the elastic casing. Sew directly across the length of the tulle using a straight stitch, about 2” (or slightly wider than your elastic) down from the top of the fold. You should be sewing along the the edge of the tulle that you have folded twice, through all four layers of tulle.
Add the elastic. Use a crochet hook or similarly long, sturdy device to scrunch up the tulle along the top by the casing. When it has been pushed together, slide the elastic through the casing. Make sure to keep both ends outside of the casing; a safety pin can be used to keep the elastic in place as you pull it through.
Sew the elastic band. Pull the two ends of the elastic together, and sew them together about ¼ an inch from the edge with a straight stitch. Then fold the loose ends back onto the elastic waistband and sew them flat with a zig-zag stitch.
Sew the skirt together. Your tutu is nearly finished, but needs to be sewn together along the back side where the two ends of the tulle meet. Pin the edges of the tulle together, and sew down about ¼ of an inch from the edge with a straight stitch. Make sure to sew through all four layers of fabric, and not just the top layer.
Finish your tutu. Separate all the layers of the tutu with your hands to fluff it up. You can add optional decorations to your tutu, including small rhinestones, fake flowers, and ribbons.
Tutus are meant to be full and fluffy, so it is better to use more layers of tulle than you think is necessary than too few.
How to Make a Tutu
How to Make a No Sew Ballet Tutu
How to Make a Straight Tutu
How to Make a Non Sew Tutu
How to Make a Tutu Dress
How to Make a Tutu Skirt
Sources and Citations
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