Friday, December 19, 2008

The Extremely Detailed Tutu Tutorial

Don't be put off because you can't sew or think you aren't creative-this doesn't take sewing skills or creativity!! :) And won't it be great to have something underneath the Christmas tree this year made by YOU!?! This is an easy, everyone can do it project. I realize there are other tutu tutorials out there-this is just one woman's way of doing it.

**This tutorial is for personal use only-please do not sell tutus you make from these instructions.

Since teaching my tutu class I've had quite a few questions from friends who were unable to attend, so I put together this little photo tutu tutorial just in time for Christmas. I've tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me and I'll do my best to answer them. Bear with me as this is my first tutorial ever-hopefully not the last though!!
Supplies for tutu making:

  1. a pair of scissors
  2. (if you have one-if you end up using rolls of tulle you will not need this) a rotary cutter.
  3. A cutting mat (like for quilting-also if you have one and you won't need one if using tulle rolls)
Materials you will need for infant to toddler size tutu:
-6 yards of tulle-if you want it to be two toned (like the picture above), then you'll need three yards each of two different colors.

If you want a mix of three colors than get three yards each of the two colors that you want to be predominant and one yard of the accent color. For example, one really pretty three color combination is light pink (3 yards) bright purple (3 yards) and bright turquoise (1 yard).

-package of 1/2 inch elastic. You won't use the whole package, but I'm just generalizing. I'll get to more on elastic in a second.

For a tutu 3T/4T and up
-4 yards of each color tulle, unless you want a third accent color and then it would be 4, 4 and 1 of the accent-see above explanation and again if that doesn't make sense, just write me and ask any questions!!

-1 package of 1/2 inch elastic

A word on elastic-
There are quite a few different kinds of elastic-from ultra stretchy underwear elastic to the stiffer knit elastic. Honestly, I think I've tried every kind and, with the exception of underwear elastic which will make your tutu HUGE, I don't see much of a difference. The key is to get elastic no wider than 1/2 inch-otherwise it will roll when you pull the tulle knots tight.

Where to buy this stuff?

  • Joanns-Joann's tulle will be on sale (50% off) AFTER Christmas, but that doesn't help those of you looking to make a tutu as a gift. Check your Sunday newspaper for a Joann's ad and cut the coupon out or print one off here. With coupons, a yard of matte tulle will run you about .75.
  • Hobby Lobby-look for tulle in their fabric section. Most of the matte tulle is only 99 cents a yard and the colors that aren't are comparable prices to Joann's. Hobby Lobby also sells rolls of tulle. In the fabric section there are rolls of 25 yards for about $2 (when on sale). Keep in mind though that one of those rolls equals just over one yard of regular off the bolt tulle. So in terms of cost effective, it's really not. If you're all about quick and easy, this may be the way that you want to go. If you decide to go with the rolls, you'll need at least 3 of each color. So if you are making a tutu with two colors, get three rolls of each color (for infant/toddler size). If you are making a three color tutu, 3 rolls of each predominant color and 1 roll of the accent. And here's a coupon for Hobby Lobby as well.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a Hobby Lobby in your area, you have one more option. In the wedding section of the store, there are rolls of 100 yards of tulle. When "ribbon on a roll" is 50%, so are the wedding tulle rolls. 100 yards of tulle for $5? Good deal. Only problem is that the colors are extremely limited. My favorite is the fuschia-buy one roll and make a solid colored tutu-fabulous!!
  • So you can decide which place you would like to purchase supplies-both will sell elastic, although if you want the best deal on that, go to the sewing department at Walmart!!
I realize that was a lot of instruction just for buying supplies, but anyone who knows me well, is not surprised-I just don't want you people to pay too much!!

Waist Size-these are very general
  • Preemie (under 7 pounds)-14 inches
  • 0-3 months: 17/18 inches
  • 6-12 months: 18/19inches
  • 1-2 years: 20 inches
  • 2-3: 21 inches
  • 3-4: 22 inches
  • 4-5: 23 inches
-Cut your elastic 2 inches smaller than the waist size. This will be the waistband for your tutu.
Preparing the Tulle
  • Tulle Rolls If you are using the rolls of tulle, cut the whole roll into 20 inch pieces. Each piece will be 6 inches wide (the width of the roll) and 20 inches long. Do that with all of the colors that you will be using in your tutu

  • Full yards Lay your tulle on your cutting mat and using a straight edge (a cheap ruler will do as a straight edge) and a rotary cutter, cut AWAY from yourself every 4-6 inches (I like 4 inches, but there are less cuts when using 6 inches). Again cut all of your tulle colors into 4-6 inch strips. They will be super long----go back and cut each one in half (there should be a faint fold there anyway from being on the bolt at the store)
Get Started
  1. If using two colors: layer 3 strips in every other color. For example, if I'm using pink and white, layer 1 white, 1 pink, 1 white.
  2. With three strips layered, fold in half and put loop in front of elastic
  3. Take the ends of the strips and go under the elastic and through the loop that you created
  4. Pull this knot semi tight (now when I said "tight" at the class-some people took me EXTREMELY literally and pulled it so tight that the knot was impossible to move or undo)
  5. Voila! You are finished with your first tutu knot!

  6. If you are working with two colors, you will now layer opposite colors than last time-so in my purple/pink example, it would be 1 pink, 1 purple, 1 pink. Now repeat steps 2-4 again. Continue doing this until you get close to the end of your elastic. **Read below if you are using three colors
  7. ***Three colors-if you have three different colors, you will pattern them like this: color 1, color 2, color 1----next knot: color 2, color 1, color 2---next knot: color 1, color 2, color 3--next knot: color 1, color 2, color 1 and so forth. Obviously, you can mix this up however you want-the trick is to keep some sort of pattern
  8. Sew the two ends of elastic together using a sewing machine or needle and thread. Cover the sewn ends with a couple more tulle knots.
  9. Now it's time to even your tutu out-you can totally leave it messy if you want to skip this step. It gives it more of a fairy look rather than a ballerina look. If you want a cleaner "ballet" look, even out all of the ends by cutting them at about 8 inches long (for infant and toddler tutu).
  10. YOU ARE DONE! If you want to add more froof, the addition of silk flowers, ribbon or sequins can really dress up the tutu. My friend Jen added wings, ribbon and an antennae headband to her plain tutu and transformed her daughter into a bumble bee!
    The possibilities are endless!

    Like I said before, feel free to write and ask me any questions--bethanycr (AT) gmail (DOT) com. And I'd love to see any fabulous creations that you put together from these instructions! Happy tutu making and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!


Mandi said...

Thanks for the detailed tutorial, Bethany! I LOVE my boy, but I sure do hope God brings me a baby girl one day so I can do fun projects like this! Something tells me Baby D won't appreciate a fru-fru tu-tu! (:

The Ibarra's said...

I am excited to know how to make a tutu I might have to make one for my niece and for Gavin's little girlfriends for their birthdays. Very good instructions by the way.

Maylene said...

Thank you for posting that. I really wanted to make these for my girls this year but I just haven't had time :) Actually I might do it for Valentines and suprise them with some new dress-up items. I know my girls would LOVE THANK YOU for posting this up.

Seth and Peggy said...

Thanks so much for the help! I will have to show this to my sisters and put a link on my blog, if you don't mind. But after Christmas though, since I made 8 tutus this year for presents and they can't see them beforehand!

Seth and Peggy said...

It is a very forgiving dress...And it hasn't fit every year, that is for sure!

Amy said...

Thanks Beth!! My nieces will LOVE them :)

North Family Arizona said...

Have I ever told you how much I HATE Tool!

From a grumpy man with two little girls perspective I just don't get it. Other then it does look girly. which may be my big issue. "I'm making the Tim Allen man sounds now... which I don't know how to spell..."

Actually I need to put one of these on Alana and video tape her dancing. OH OO... Let's make a commercial! we could totally make some big bucks on that!

MaryAnne said...

This looks great, just what I need!

Thanks for visiting my blog :) said...

Great instructions. One question: Do I cover the top of the tutu with more tulle or do I just leave it as it is. I fear that you can see the knots too much. Any advice? Thanks!!

edith said...

Bethany, I finished the tutu and it's great! I only used 65 yards of tulle on a roll (at Walmart $5.95) and the tutu was nice and full. My daughter is only 1 year old so it's not so big. If you like, I can send you a picture of her wearing it. Thanks again!

The Saunders Family said...

Thought I would link to the post showing off the tutu I made for my daguhter using yrou tutorial...thanks, it was SO easy!

The Huffman's said...

These instructions are wonderful! Thank you! I'm making my daughter a red, white, and blue one for 4th of July and plan to make her a pink and chocolate one for her first birthday.

Isis Avent said...

Interesting to say the least, thanks for posting it, keep posts like this coming, I am just subscribing to your posts!


Elizabeth said...

Great tutorial! I hope to be able to make my baby girl a cute tutu just like you showed in the pics! Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday said...

thanks. halloween is totally taken care of now :D

Tina said...

i love this cant wait to have a go its lovely tina

Richardson's Randoms said...

Thank you for the tutorial. This is the basic idea I had in mind and it just cemented it for me. You did an awesome job!

Care said...

found this on skiptomylou just in time for two one-year-old nieces' birthday presents!!

thank you!

Best Craft Blog said...

These are so cute...I am going to make one that is black and orange for my little girls halloween witch costume. I am so excited! thanks a bunch


Sarah said...

I know you did this tutorial a while ago, but I just found it today and am going to make one as soon as I can. Great instructions and SO stinkin' cute! When it's done I'll link back to your blog on mine! Thanks so much! :)

Sarah said...

LOVE this! I linked back to your directions on my blog. I posted a few pictures on it, too! Thanks again!

Alex Franke said...

Thanks! The tutorial was so good, even a guy could do it. :) Here's the proof:

Anonymous said...
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KKW said...

Thanks for this tutorial, and for the wonderful pictures that go along with it!(I'm a visual learner) I've made two ridiculously cute tutus with your instructions. Love them!

Jessica said...

Hi! I used your tutorial to make a tutu for my daughter, and blogged about it. Linked back here and to your post on Cut Out and Keep.

Terri said...

I've been sort of half-using your tutorial to make tutu's and I made a really cute one today!

Linked to this post in my post!

- Terri

CandCFamily said...

Great tutorial. Thanks so much for posting. I pinned it to my pinterest.

R0X@NN3'S MOM said...

Amazing. Love this tutorial. Seriously best I've found. What measurement should I use for a 10 year or would I have need to measure her waist? I want to make it as a surprise but I also want it to fit. What would you recommend??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tutorial. Soooo easy! I used ribbon instead of the elastic for the waist since I'm making it for a newborn due in a couple of months. The ribbon will allow for growth as well, so she can keep using it for a couple of years.
I cut 4x19 inch strips and used 5 strips per bunch when I tied them on. I also hot glued some random flowers on once it was finished for embelishment.

Ashley said...

Thanks for the fantastic tutorial! I saw the link on Pinterest. Your instructions were so easy and they worked perfectly. There's about to be one very happy 2 year old thanks to you!!!

The Finn Family Moomintroll said...

I've just made a black and pink one for my daughter's 4th birthday and she absolutely loves it! Thank you very much for such a clear and fabulous tutorial :)

Melodee Wilcox said...

If you have a "smartphone" JoAnns has an app that you can get coupons from so you should ALWAYS have a coupon. Also I found it easier to make a loop with the elastic and put it around a book before adding the tulle.

Rhonda Morgan said...
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Anonymous said...

Really impressed! Your tutorial is very detailed. thanks for sharing. looking forward to more!

chelsea dominowski said...

Thank you so much for this! My niece is 3 and once she realized i could make a tutu i would say she has probably around 50 of them and wears them everywhere. I wasnt aware that one roll was such a drastic difference in length than buying it off the bolt! I guess i never thought about it and am kicking myself now for not paying attention. You definitely helped my little princess get alot more tutus! And probably saved me a boat load of money in the long run! And your details are great!

Ben Benj said...
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Ben Benj said...

Powerful Tutorial. Thank You For Posting. tutus for girls are always awesome

Harry Bronson said...

Amazing Tutorial!! I will use this tutorial for make tutus with premium quality tulle fabrics

Carl Brown said...

Lovely and beautiful color tutu made from tulle roll.

Zia Joaquin said...

I love this skirt! I almost bought one a few weeks ago, but now I think I will try to make one.

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