We just keep swimming!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to Make a Tutu

So, I've been wanting to post about the crafting things I like to do for a while, but that was, yet again, forgotten and continually pushed aside. A friend of a friend mentioned making some bows and tutus for her daughter, so I offered to show her how I make Kayla's stuff. So I figured, why not just finally make it official and post it here?

So here it goes. This is how I make Kayla's tutus. Note: there is no sewing involved! You will need a whole bunch of tulle, some ribbon, and some patience!

First, I don't measure anything exactly. This is a simple enough project where I can just estimate and it matters very little if I'm off by a few of anything here or there. The great thing about this project is that even after you've finished, you can still trim the edges to make them shorter or more even if you want. It's very hard to mess this up!

You will need-
Tulle- You can buy this by the yard any any craft/fabric store. Often times you can find it for about $1-2/yard, and you will need anywhere from 6-10 yards, depending on how long and fluffy you want the tutu. For the tutu I made in these pictures, I used about 10 yards. It was a long tutu and very fluffy!

Ribbon- I prefer using ribbon, although you can also use elastic bands you can find in the sewing section of craft stores. I think that using a nice, shiny ribbon looks nicer when finished, though.


That's it!

Getting started:
1.) First decide how long you want your tutu to be. Once you decide on a length, double it, and add about an inch extra (this is for room for tying the knots). Unfold your tulle-

Since the tulle comes doubled, I cut the tulle at the edge so that it becomes two separate sheets. -

You will be cutting strips of the tulle in this length that are approximately 5 inches wide. There is no need to be exact when cutting, but make them around that width and it will look fine. -

For example, lets say that you want a 15 inch long tutu. You will need to cut strips of tulle that are 31 inches long.

If you don't need an exact length, you can simply wing it. For this tutu in these pictures, I just cut the tulle in strips the length of the table. I knew that folding this length in half would be a nice, long tutu for our two year old niece.

How many you cut will depend on how fluffy you want the tutu, and how wide the waist of the wearer is. For a really fluffy tutu, you will be using three strips of tulle/knot. For a toddler, I would start by cutting about 90 strips. For an infant, I'd start with about 70. This should be the very minimum you will need, but be open to cutting some more if needed. For a less fluffy tutu, two strips/knot will be perfect. For a toddler, start by cutting 75. For an infant, start with about 50.

2.) Cut the ribbon. The easiest way to do this is just wrap a piece of your ribbon around the baby, making it long enough to tie when finished. So if your child's waist is 15 inches around, leaving about 7 inches on each side for tying, your ribbon should be at LEAST 29 inches long. Personally, I add a little bit more so that while I am making the tutu, I can tie the ribbon to chairs so it is taut and easier to work with.

3.) Tie the ribbon to chairs (or other stable objects) so that it is taut. This makes tying the tulle on easier. This isn't necessary, but it helps a lot!

The Tying Steps

Once you've gotten this far, you're mostly done! The only thing that's left is tying the tulle onto the ribbon until you've finished.

1.) Take your two or three strips of tulle (depending on how fluffy you want your tutu) and fold them in half. One hand should stay at the halfway point, making sure to keep it open for tying.

2.) Hold the tulle, now folded in half, in front of your ribbon. Make sure that you are starting about 7 or 8 inches from the edge of your ribbon, so that you can tie the tutu when you're all done.

3.) Take the bottom of the tulle, and pull back and up behind the ribbon.

4.) Pull the bottom of the tulle over the TOP of the RIBBON, but UNDER the top of the tulle (where it was folded in half). This should allow you to knot the tulle around the ribbon.

5.) Gently pull the bottom of the tulle downward, and continue to do so until the knot is very tight. You might need to practice tightening the knot, but just keep working it downward until the knot looks nice and small. That's it!

Now you've done the first of many knots.

(NOTE- in these pictures, you will notice shorter blue tulle around the top of the tutu. Ignore these for now! I'll explain that after the basic tutu steps!)

6.) Repeat, but as you tie your next knot, slide it as close to the first one as possible.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Continue this until you have made knots long enough to fit around the waist of your baby, or in the length you measured your baby's waist to be. Make sure to leave some ribbon at the end to tie the tutu together onto the wearer.

You can do one solid color, alternate colors if you want, or do a rainbow of all different colors at once! Play around with the colors and see what kinds of tutus you can create!

You can also tie your ribbon in a knot right at the edge of the tulle if you like, but I never have needed to do this. If you make the knots tight enough, they won't be going anywhere!

Trim the edge of your ribbon, and you're all done!


As you can see in the pictures above, I sometimes do shorter tulle borders around the top of the waistline. All you need to do this, instead of just a regular tutu, is:

1.) Cut pieces of tulle in the same way you cut the long pieces. However long you want the 'border' of tulle, double the length, and add an inch or so. If you want these short pieces to be 3 inches, then you will need tulle in 7 inch lengths.

2.) When tying your tutu, alternate between a long piece and a short piece. When tying your short pieces, one normal knot around the ribbon works best (it stays best since the tulle is so short). Angle the know upward. Be sure to slide the pieces together!

The finished product!

And keep in mind, you can ALWAYS shorten your tutu if needed. If you're unsure of length, then estimate up. Once you're all done, you can still trim however much off the ends as you want. You can also cut off scraggly edges that might occur from a quick cut here or there.

To make the pompoms-

There are several ways to make these. I found the easiest for me was just to cut pieces, about 3 inches wide, to the length that I wanted the diameter of the pom pom to be.

Using bendable metal beading wire, I cinched the middle as tight as I possibly could and made sure to wrap the wire around itself so it was secure.

Once securely cinched, keep separating and pulling the pieces of tulle apart. Eventually it becomes spherical, and looks like a pompom!

These, I just glued (and you can use any strong crafting glue, i.e. hot glue gun, E-6000, etc) to metal alligator clips for Abby Cadabby's pigtails. I also made one puff for her wand.

Here's the outfit, all together (sans wings, but they're coming!!) on Emma!

She loves her Abby costume!

No comments:

Post a Comment