How to make a tutu

My first attempt at making a tutu.  I must say it was great fun and I can already feel the need to make more.

I had googled a few tutu making instructions some were made with elastic, some with ribbon and some with crochet headbands.  After a little advise from facebook fans I decided to try with the 1.5″ crochet headband.

This is how I made a tutu with a crochet headband.

I cut a flap of cardboard box.  The size was 21cm x 42cm.  I decided that I wanted my tutu to be about 24cm long.  So I cut the cardboard to 21cm x 26cm and I kept the 21cm x 16cm for the crochet headband.

I placed the crochet headband on the 21x16cm cardboard and counted the holes.  This one had 30 holes.  If I am going to do two rows I will need 60 lengths of tulle.

Making a tutu with crochet headband

I have decide to make my tutu with 2 colours ivory and light pink.

I than took one of our ivory 6″ x 100 yd rolls of tulle placed the edge on the edge of the cardboard clipped it in place with a hair clip.  I marked the start edge with a dog clip so I would not forget which end I started at.  I than rapped it around the cardboard 45 times counting 1 each time I came back to the dog clip. Making a tutu with crochet headband

I than slid the tulle of the cardboard and cut along the edge that had the dog clip.

Making a tutu with crochet headband  I did the same with the light pink tulle only this time I only made 15 lengths.

Making a tutu with crochet headband I was a little worried about the tulle fitting in the holes, but it was not a problem.  I gathered the tulle up in the centre.Making a tutu with crochet headband Than folded it in half. Making a tutu with crochet headband  Feed the loop through the hole than pushed the tulle through the hole.Making a tutu with crochet headband I continued to feed the tulle through each hole working my way around the headband.Making a tutu with crochet headband  I than started on the second row.  This time I did one ivory and one light pink.

Making a tutu with crochet headbandI am very happy with how full it came.   My little model has on red undies, and it hide them pretty well.  I might try using two pieces of tulle at the same time for each hole and see how that looks.  You could also make the tutu much fuller by filling each hole with tulle.  How to make a tutu with a crochet headband.Here is the tutu laying on it’s side. Making a tutu with crochet headband If you would like to have a go you can find the tulle rolls and crochet headbands on our website.  We also stock crochet tops, flowers and ribbons to embellish your tutu’s.

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Buy tutu making supplies at think bowtique

Think Bowtique for your hair bow and headband making supplies

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 How to Make a Fabric Tutu Dress:

Materials needed for Tutu:

(Quantity not included because it will change based on size, however you can see my notes below on what I used in mine)

  • Fabric in 2-4 prints- I used 3 prints from the Little House on the Prairie Line provided to me by Andover Fabrics
  • 6″ Tulle
  • Ribbon
  • Elastic – 1/2 inch
  • Rotary Cutter, Cutting Mat, & Acrylic Ruler (You can use scissors, but a rotary cutting set will make your life WAY easier!)

Instructions for Tutu:

DIY No Sew Fabric Tutu Dress

  1. Gather your materials. For my 3 year old I used about 1.5 yards of fabric, 1/2 25 yard roll of 6″ tulle, 1 10 yard roll of burlap ribbon.No Sew Tutu Size Chart
  2. Cut everything to size.  The best way to do this is to measure the child you are making it for, but if you don’t have the ability to do that, the chart above should get you pretty close.  It is what I use. A couple of notes:
    • Tutu length x 2 + 2″= Total length for each fabric strip.  You will want to double the tutu length then add about 1-2″ (when using 1/2″ elastic) to account for where it will wrap around the elastic and knot, to get the total length you will need to cut each fabric strip.
    • I cut each fabric strip approx. 1″ wide using a rotary cutter.  I was able to make it quicker by layering the fabrics on top of each other and cutting them all at once.  It took me about 22 strips of each of my 3 fabrics to make my tutu, but this will vary based on size.
    • I used gold tulle and burlap ribbon in my tutu to compliment the fabric and give it more body and texture.  If you don’t want to use these it isn’t required, but you will need additional fabric.
    • Cut the tulle and ribbon to the same size as the fabric strips. Make it super quick and easy using this tulle cutting trick. 
    • Waist size + ~1″ = Total Length for elastic.  Cut the elastic to the waist size plus about an inch if you hand stitch it together or about 2″ if you tie it.DIY No Sew Fabric Tutu Dress
  3. Secure your elastic into a waistband.  I usually do this with a couple of hand stitches, but to make this truly a no sew, you could give it a tight double knot.  Each will work and be hidden by the fabric once finished.
    • I recommend using 1/2″ elastic, however after going to the store 3x I still had none, so I used the 1″ elastic I had on hand.  Most elastics will work, you just need to add on a little extra to the length of your fabric strips if using a thicker one.
    • Make sure to cut off any extra outside of the knot or stitching so that it doesn’t show through the fabric on the finished tutu.
  4. Place the waistband around a piece of cardboard (or cardboard box) that just fits it.  You do not want it to be stretched, just held taut as you construct your tutu.DIY No Sew Fabric Tutu Dress
  5. Assemble your tutu
    1. Place 3 layers of material together.  It can be any combination of the materials you are using.  I alternated between using all three layers of fabric, and 2 layers of fabric and one of tulle or ribbon.
      • You don’t have to use 3 layers but this will create more fullness in the body of the tutu and keep the patterns well mixed so it is my preference to do it this way.
    2. Once you have the materials together fold them in half and slide the loop under your elastic.
    3. Place the tails of the material over the elastic and through the loop to form a knot as shown in the picture above.
    4. Pull the knot taut, but do not pull so tight that you “squeeze” the elastic.  If you pull it too tight on the elastic it will cause it to stretch and then there will no stretch left in the elastic once you are done, and it will likely be too big.
    5. Repeat until you have the fabric knots all the way around the tutu.DIY No Sew Fabric Tutu Dress
  6. Fluff your tutu by separating each layer in each knot and gently pulling it outward.
  7. Enjoy!  Slide your tutu off the cardboard and put it on your little girl!
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The tutu is really simple to put together and once you do the first couple of knots you will have it down and be able to finish it pretty quickly.  It is simple to make and the end result is stunning! If you make one, please snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @thepinningmama!  I would love to see it!

tulle tutuTypes of Tulle

Melissa suggests using polyester tulle for the bounciest and fluffiest tutus, while nylon tulle makes a better choice for a less voluminous skirt. To determine the quality of your tulle, scrunch it and then press it flat with your hands. Good tulle will release the wrinkles fairly easily. If it stays wrinkled, the tulle is likely cheap and will not hold up well to the wear and tear that your costume may be subject to.

How Much Tulle to Use

In general, Melissa says, you’ll use between 100 and 600 yards of tulle depending on the waist size and desired length. Keep in mind that exact measurements are best when possible, but below are Melissa’s suggestions for sizing:

Elastic Waistband Measurements:

Size Waistband Measurement
0-3 months 14”
3-6 months 15”
6-12 months 16”
12-18 months 17”
2T 18”
3T 18.5”
4T 19”
5T 19.5”

Note: For larger sizes, use an exact measurement and subtract 3 inches to allow for stretching.

Tulle Lengths

Cut your tulle twice as long as the desired length of your tutu, referring to the size chart below. 12” tutus work for ages 10 and up, but use exact measurements if you’d like a longer tutu.

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Size Tutu Length Tulle Length
0-3 months 5” 10”
3-6 months 6” 12”
6-12 months 7” 14”
12-18 months 7.5” 15”
2T 8” 19”
3T 10” 20”
4T 11” 22”
5T 12” 24”

Tutus are fantastically fun and add flair to any outfit, but they’re also great for special occasions. If you’re participating in a 5K run or walk in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make a DIY tulle tutu in pink to show your support. For more craft ideas, read about the other ways we’re using ribbons, tulle, and embellishments to raise awareness for breast cancer — and take 10% off select pink products from October 7–13!

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