Ever wondered how to make your own fluffy tutu? It’s a lot easier than you think, and you don’t even need to get your machine out if you don’t want to. I was asked by a friend to make a little tutu for a fancy-dress party, something I’ve never done before, but it’s pretty quick and very satisfying, and a lot cheaper than buying one.
I don’t have any step-by-step photos here, but I’ll do my best to describe the process. For a simple, fluffy tutu you’ll need the following:
Obviously, you’ll need some fabric for your tutu. For a basic tutu, I recommend tulle, it’s a soft, fine netting fabric, though depending on the quality it can be a little rough. Mesh tulle is firmer and will stick out more. Have a look at eBay for some bargains, if you’re not in a rush, order from China for a low-cost option, or if you want something more luxurious (if you’re planning on wearing it a few times), go for organza, which is cheaper but more translucent, so you’ll need a little more, it’ll also give you more of a drapey skirt. For my short, adult-sized tutu, I’ve opted for rolls of tulle at 6″ by 25yds, and I’ve used four of those for the tulle (one each for red and white, two for black). Darker colours will give more coverage, so if you’re making it from a light colour, add an extra roll so it’s not too see-through. If you’re doing it by the metre, you’ll probably need around 10 metres, depending on how draped or puffy you want it to be. I’d always recommend buying a little more than you need, and you can pick it up from around 99p a metre, so it’s pretty inexpensive either way.
First, measure your waist (or your little one’s). Take off around an inch, depending on how tight you’d like it to go. Put the ends together and sew over the join a couple of times, sewing down the spare ends too so that you have a flat piece of elastic.
Next, measure roughly how long you would like you tutu to be – add an inch or two, as you’re going to trim it later.
For an easy no-sew option, you can just take your tulle and knot it around the elastic, as shown in the picture:
This is great for a child’s tutu, but for an adult I’d really recommend sewing, as the knotting method can add a little too much bulk to the waistband, and tends to make the elastic twist and bunch. If you’re knotting it, make sure you knot it all to the same side for a neater look.
Wrap your elastic band around something to keep it flat, but not taught – I wrapped mine around a hard-backed book.
To add your fabric to the waistband (if using tulle from a roll), cut three lengths that are double the length of the finished tutu. Layer them on top of each other, and fold them over the waistband at the middle, so you’ve got six layers in total. Stitch a line of running stitches through the tulle slightly underneath the waistband, making sure you catch every layer, and paying attention to both ends. Secure these tightly. if you’re using metre fabric, which is wider, you only need to sew one layer at a time, as when it’s bunched up it will be a lot thicker.
Gently bunch your fabric up so that it creates a small gather. Repeat with the next few pieces of fabric, adding them all to the elastic and bunching them up as you go.
The fabric should lay pretty flat against the waistband, don’t worry if all your layers are slightly different lengths as you can always trim the tutu later. Tulle is also very easy to crease. Again, don’t worry – we’ll deal with this later.
In my tutu I’ve added an extra layer of white fabric over the red. To do this I’ve cut one more tulle, slightly shorter than the waist band and sewn it to the existing red fabric by hand, using one strip to cover one bunch of fabric. This would be a great way of adding of adding a glittery layer without having to buy a lot of glittery fabric!
I’ve also added some large black hearts, which are cut from a single sheet of felt fabric and stitched onto the white over-layers, making sure to spread these out fully first.
When you’ve finished adding the fabric to the waistband, gently spread it out so that it’s even all the way around.
Try your tutu on and make sure it’s the right thickness all the way around. If you’ve left a few inches spare, mark where you would like it to sit on one piece of tulle. Take it off, hang it up and trim the excess all the way around. Of course, you can vary the lengths if you want to make if more puffy!
To make the tutu neat, fire up your steam iron and use it on the steam setting to gently steam the crease out. This is great to do before you trim so that you get a better feel for how it will sit. The creases should just fall out as the steam touches them.
Your tutu is ready! You can also cover the waistband with ribbon if you like, to make it neater, or leave it as it is. You can also finish the top layers with ribbon for a super glam look!
It’s as simple as that. Great for fancy dress wear or underneath a skirt for a little bit of everyday froofiness! If you’re confident with a sewing machine, you can fold your fabric in long, wide strips and sew a small casing, then thread your elastic through, this’ll give you a more full skirt as the tulle will hang in wide lengths instead of small strips.
Making a tutu is simple, easy and fun, so give it a go!