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21 February 2013 @ 09:51 pm
A Tutu Tutorial. A Tututorial?  

I like to make little kid tutus, and thought I would share my method for making them. Ordinarily I wouldn't bother, because it's just a dumb tutu, right?  Well, no. It's a smart tutu. I looked around the web and found hundreds of tutu tutorials, but no one was making them like this, and I don't know why. My goal in creating this tutu method was to make them FAST. I sell these at holiday craft bazaars, and the price has to be reasonable for people to actually buy them. My previous tutus were very labor intensive and thus had to have a higher price tag… and no one wanted a tutu with a price tag that reflected the amount of work put in.  No one. People don’t care. So, I needed a way to make them so quickly that I could sell them cheap and still have a fair profit. I wasn’t willing to make cheapo little crappy tutus, they had to be nice. Really nice. I wanted a tutu that was able to survive years of careless handling. It had to be reversible, so inside out didn’t matter. It had to be fluffy and tidy looking, like a real ballet tutu—not a giant snarly ball of knotted strips. It had to have a nice trim waistband that wasn’t bulky and was easy for the kid to find, grasp and dress themselves. (If you have ever seen a kid all frustrated with a messy half inside out WTF type of tutu, you know why this is important.)

Although this tutu is fast and easy to make, it is not careless. You need to pay attention to what you are doing. REALLY pay attention, so turn off Judge Judy. Tulle can get away from you and ruin your project while you are taking in the luxury to blink. There are several simple steps here aimed at eliminating possible problems and making your construction time easier. Don’t skip these steps, thinking you’ll just be careful and it won’t happen to you. It will. Trust me, I know. Please take the time to steam and press and  tape and mark and sew very straight lines. It really makes a world of difference and eliminates loads of potential frustration. I promise. Don’t be a hero.

Making this tutu is mostly tulle taming, and very little actual sewing. You only have to sew 6 straight lines and that’s about it. Really. Less than 10 minutes using the actual machines, not kidding. The rest of the time you are forcing that tulle to behave so it will slide through the machines nice and smooth without any frustration at all. Tulle can be tamed, and it can be very pleasant to work with. If you have the right tools for the job, tutu making is a piece of cake. There are a lot of little steps, but they are quickly achieved. I can make one of these tutus in about 30 minutes when I'm on a roll.

Are you ready? Here we go!

The short version, for all you smartypants seamsters who already know what's what:

Sandwich a waistband with elastic between two layers of ruffled tulle. Done.

The long version, for those who'd like a step-by-step tutorial that is very loquacious and full of too many photos:

How I make a super cute, fast, cheap, and quality sewn tutu...Collapse )
Natalie AdamsZevasMaMa on October 18th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
What I have been searching for!!
Thank you so much for creating this tutorial and posting - I am a seamstress but sometimes (especially with a two year old in the house) I have a hard time picturing how to put a project together. I made the ruffles last night, and the tape is the greatest tip EVER :-) Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I am making this for her (my soon to be 2 year old) birthday on Sunday.

starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 19th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
Re: What I have been searching for!!
Thank you! And, you're welcome! I hope it turns out perfectly and your little darling loves it! Have fun!
lizzee26 on November 2nd, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for a fab tutorial - You made it sound nice and simple - I actually bought a digital pattern for an apron and the woman that wrote it might have been writing in double dutch - she made a simple pattern sound very difficult - Never mind glad I found yours - I want to make a big girl tutu - what did you mean measure them from the hips?
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 2nd, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Tutu
Hi Lizzee! Thank you so much for the compliments! I like stuff that is really really explained to make it simple, glad you found it useful!

Well, an adult tutu looks super stupid when it sits around the natural waist-- with little girls it's no biggee, but on big girls-- no. So, the tutu sits very low on the waist, high on the hips, that looks so much better! (It's where professional ballerina tutus sit-- maybe google a few photos to see what I mean?)

Good luck and have fun!

Melissa Casebere on November 17th, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
waistband fabric
What did you use for waistband fabric?
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 17th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
Re: waistband fabric
Hi Melissa! I used satin or taffeta in what you see above, but any non-knit/non-stretchy fabric that matches should work fine. I preferred the taffeta, it was easy to work with and looked nice.
Candi MannCandi Mann on December 10th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
Ruffler Jamming
Thank you for this great tutorial! I am almost done making my tutu and it looks great! But,I had a problem with the tulle jamming in the ruffler. I tried covering the pointy feet with tape(per a suggestion on another website), but it didn't help. Have you ever had that problem? If so, what did you do to keep the tulle from jamming?

Thank you!

starlightmasquestarlightmasque on December 10th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Ruffler Jamming
Hi Candi! Thank you! And, you're welcome!

I wish I could help you, but I don't think I can. I don't recall anything jamming up... maybe you just need to go slowly? Gently tug from behind to keep the ruffled part from getting hooked on anything as it feeds through?

I don't know! I hope you figure it out, how frustrating!
Re: Ruffler Jamming - Candi Mann on December 11th, 2013 02:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Marne Harris FrenchMarne Harris French on January 12th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
Adult Conversion
Hi! I've been searching all over the internet for tutu tutorials and I learn best by photos. My mom and I are going to Disney to run the Princess Half Marathon and 10k in February. I totally think that I can do this! (or at least that's what I've convinced myself) A few questions for you. 1. How many sections do you think an adult tutu would need? 2. I don't have a serger....any suggestions? and 3. What kind of foot did you change to when sewing the satin? I won't say I'm a novice at sewing but lets just say I can manage some things, like this project, I think. Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

Marne French
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 12th, 2014 05:57 am (UTC)
Re: Adult Conversion
Mi Marne! How super fun to wear a tutu for a Princess Run!

For an adult tutu, I would think about 1 strips per inch would be about right? (Remember to measure upper hips, not actual natural waistline) So, if it is 30 inches, I would think 30 sections would look nice. The kid tutus above are about 18 inches, using 14 sections-- so a little less than 1 per inch, but they could always stand to be fluffier for a princess run! My answer would be .75 to 1 section per inch-- but it is very flexible!

Instead of a serger, you can make a slim little bias binding on the raw edge, after you clip it down to neaten it. Alternately, you can just leave the edges raw. It will be hidden inside, and if you are just going for a fun run and don't care if there are a few raw edges, I don't see how it would hurt anything. You could clip the edge neat and short and just let it be.

I just used a regular foot for the satin, nothing special!

I hope you have fun! Post a picture if you feel like it!

Re: Adult Conversion - Marne Harris French on January 12th, 2014 06:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on January 12th, 2014 06:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - jamiearruda on May 17th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on May 17th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on January 12th, 2014 07:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on January 12th, 2014 07:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - Marne Harris French on January 12th, 2014 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on January 12th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - jackson0912 on March 31st, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on March 31st, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Adult Conversion - starlightmasque on March 31st, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Natalie TotskaNatalie Totska on January 24th, 2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
Dear Angela,
thank you very much for your tutorial. It's awesome!!! I've just made one pink tutu and I'm so happy! Thank you again and again.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 24th, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC)
You are welcome! Glad to help!
Kim Hand on January 28th, 2014 07:21 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your tutorial. The following link is a picture of my granddaughter in her Halloween costume. My daughter was so happy with how it turned out that she ask me to make one for her first birthday. I've almost completed her a pale pink tutu. I'll send you a pic of that as well in a few days! I just love your easy to follow instructions and the method you use in constructing the tutu. It looks so professional and yet it's so simple. So sweet of you to share! ~Kim
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on February 19th, 2014 01:21 am (UTC)
Re: Tutu!
Goodness, that is the CUTEST EVER!!!! Thank you so much for sharing that darling picture!
Michelle Garcia OrenseMichelle Garcia Orense on February 18th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
thank's note
loving your tutorial.
a big big thanks.
salamat po
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on February 19th, 2014 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: thank's note
Walang anuman! I'm glad you liked it!
Jody E on March 14th, 2014 03:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for being the lone tutorial on the internet for a sewn tutu that makes sense.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 14th, 2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you so much!
You are welcome! Thanks for saying so! I scoured the internet for a good tutu tuorial, and came up with bupkiss. Had to make one myself!
Sandy Holder-TouchtonSandy Holder-Touchton on April 1st, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
Do you make adult sizes?
Your tutus look great! Do you make them for adults? I have a couple of running buddies and we were planning to purchase some from a lady who now has so many orders she can't take anymore. We have a run on April 13th - I really don't have the desire, time or sewing machine to make my own. If you are interested in making three ladies sizes please let me know...also what would charge for them? Thanks!!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on April 1st, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
Re: Do you make adult sizes?
Hi Sandy! Thank you so much! Unfortunately, I am not making tutus currently, I am knee-deep in 18th century commissions.

Thanks for asking, I appreciate you thinking of me! I hope you are able to find a tutu maker, and I hope your run is awesome!
Jill Reading on May 1st, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
gathering foot
Do you know if I'll get a different result using a gathering foot? I've been roped into making the tutus for my daughters ballet recital. Thanks!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on May 1st, 2014 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: gathering foot
I don't know! My gathering foot is supremely finnicky, and will only gather what it feels like gathering, which isn't much. Maybe you will have better luck! I know professional stage tutus are pleated (like with a ruffling foot, which is actually just making small pleats.) If it works, let me know!

If it does manage to gather the tulle, the end result of the tutu will look the same, I'm sure. You can even just use a long stitch, two rows, and pull the bobbin threads to gather it up as well. I hope it works out for you!

Edited at 2014-05-01 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: gathering foot - Jill Reading on May 8th, 2014 03:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: gathering foot - starlightmasque on May 8th, 2014 06:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sou LiSou Li on May 29th, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
I've been scouring the net for a tutorial like this-- a proper sewn tutu that is simple yet beautiful. Great job! :)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on May 30th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I couldn't find one either, so I made one!
Jennifer Toone on July 26th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you thank you! This is exactly what I've been searching for! So many tutu tutorials and none of them that recreate the nice ones you can buy at the store. My sis-in-law made my daughter one of those no sew tutus and we both hate it! It's a tangled mess all the time and she refused to wear it. And I hate trying to straighten the darn thing out! So glad to find this! I can't wait to make her a REAL tutu!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on July 26th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jennifer! I know, right? I've made a few of those stripped knotted messes, and they were AWFUL!! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought so. I'm glad you found my tutorial useful!
lyncat on October 6th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
Finally, the tutu instructions I've been searching for!
Thank you so much for the perfect tututorial! My granddaughters just love what I made for them. I'd post pictures but I don't know if that's possible. Anyway, you rock!!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 6th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC)
Re: Finally, the tutu instructions I've been searching for!
Yay! I am so happy your granddaughters love them! If you can link to a photo, I'd be delighted to see!

Thank you so much!
Liz CharlesworthLiz Charlesworth on October 7th, 2014 05:09 am (UTC)
No Pictures!
Hi again.... I revisited your page to make the tutu and Photobucket isn't showing the pictures! Arghhhh! :)

Is there anyway to fix this so I can follow your amazing tutorial?


starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 7th, 2014 02:09 pm (UTC)
Re: No Pictures!
Oh no! That is so annoying! I had no idea they did that. Shame on me for not paying better attention!

Yes, I will work on transferring over the photos to a private hosting so this doesn't happen again. I will have time to do it later this afternoon. I am so sorry!
Re: No Pictures! - starlightmasque on October 8th, 2014 02:23 am (UTC) (Expand)