How to Make an Easy Tutu

A tutu is an easy enough craft to make right alongside your children, just like I did. My teenager was completely involved with making hers, and loved it. The materials are inexpensive to buy, too. Consider this a fun, rainy day craft, or begin preparing now, as Christmas is coming!

Before you jump on in, there are a couple questions that need to be established before you make a tutu – do you want an elastic waist, a ribbon one, or both (wrapped elastic with ribbon)? Do you want to tie the tulle onto the waist, or do you want it sewn? (If you want it sewn, see the tutorial link at the end.)

The easiest way to do make a tutu, I think, is to use an elastic waist and tie it. Why, you ask? Because elastic is already stiff by nature, is easily propped up by a gallon of water, a big bucket, or hung on a hanger to tie the tulle onto. A ribbon, however, has to be tied and is obviously much more ‘limp’ to work with. But, this isn’t my tutu you’re going to make, this is yours, so first decide how you want to start.

You will need:

At least 3/8″ elastic
2-3 yards of tulle in each color (or more, for an even fuller tutu), cut into 6 inch strips (if you plan to cut it and not sew it)
straight pins
needle and thread or a stapler

Prepare the waist by measuring your child’s waist. If you’re using elastic, take off at least 2 inches, and join together the elastic by stapling it or stitching it closed. If you’re using ribbon, mark off the measured “ends” but add 12 inches (6 inches each side) to tie the ribbon off when you are finished.

You’ll want to prop the circle of elastic onto a water jug or bowl (I think it makes it easier to work with.)

After you’ve cut the tulle as instructed above, take each strip, one by one, and form a loop at the elastic (or ribbon) and pull the two ends through, so that they point outwards in a sun-formation. (Full picture tutorial here) Alternate your colors, scrunching the fabric together. If you do not wish to wrap your waist in elastic over the knots, then scrunch extra tight. If you do wish to wrap, scrunch tightly, but loose enough to maneuver between the knots.

Once you’ve tied all of your strips on, ensure your elastic or ribbon is covered if you aren’t wrapping your waist. Tie a bow with your remaining ribbon (if you used a ribbon waist) and add embellishments with a hot glue gun (gems, flowers, etc). If you have used an elastic waist, you can tie ribbon on to make a bow, or begin to wrap your waist now. Leave a six inch section on the starting end (to tie into the finishing bow later) and wrap in tightly in between each knot to cover the knots to make a uniform waist. Once you reach the end, cut it leaving six inches off the the end, tie into a bow, and add another bow. Straighten the tulle, shake it out a bit, and admire your creation, you’re done!

For variations on what I did, you can staple the elastic together, instead of sewing it. This tutorial uses ribbon for the waist instead of elastic. And here is a great list of variations you can do on the regular tutu.

I plan to make a sewn and filled tutu for my daughter for Christmas. I already have the tulle, I can’t wait to get started! And someday, when I’m much more comfortable with sewing, I plan to attack making a pettiskirt. Oy.

What do you think, do you think this is something you can make?

(Don’t forget my other tutorial, How to Make a Super Hero Costume).
More tutorials to come: How to Applique, How to Make a Crayon Tote, How to Make a Crayon Roll Up and more)

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