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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 )
Liz CharlesworthLiz Charlesworth on October 9th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for restoring the photographs, it's greatly appreciated.

Off to tutu making, wish me luck!

Liz ♥
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 9th, 2014 04:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Photographs!
Good luck and have fun! I hope my tutorial works out for you!
luis mamani on October 14th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
Hello I have a little big problem and I'm confused ... I'm inches of Argentina and in my country the feet are used ! amble to write such serious measures in feet of each cut tulle ? and also how tall the strip to the waist ? thank you
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 14th, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
Re: tutus
Hi! As far as I know, Argentina uses the metric system-- so any good conversion webpage should help! Google should be able to find a good Spanish language one for you. Good luck!
Tammy Gordon on October 17th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tutorial
I am making a Halloween tutu for escorting my son trick or treating. Not only did it help clarify how to make it. The directions sound so simple that a few lucky nieces and younger cousins might receive one for a present.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 18th, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the tutorial
You're welcome! It's super fun to dress up to take the kids around the neighborhood! Hope the tutus turn out well, and have loads of fun!
Liz CharlesworthLiz Charlesworth on November 10th, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
I have just completed my first tutu and I can't tell you how impressed I'm feeling about myself! lol! It looks wonderful! Thanks so much for such a great tutorial.

My only question now is..... how do I figure out how to make different sizes? Length I can work with but would I need the same volume (number of strips)of tulle for a smaller waist tutu, say for 1yr or 2yr old?

Thanks again, you clever, clever lady!


Edited at 2014-11-10 09:20 am (UTC)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 10th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Ta-Da!!
Hurray, Liz! So glad I was able to help. (Post a pic if you can! I love to see what people make.)

I think you are good for anything smaller-- just make the elastic shorter and ruche in the waistband a little more. Making it bigger is when you'll have to work a little extra, adding more panels and a longer waistband to keep the fullness.

You are so welcome! Have a great day!
Rebecca BridgesRebecca Bridges on January 15th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC)
I want to make some of these for my daughter's birthday party and i was wondering how many yards does it take for one tutu. This will be for ages 2-5.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 15th, 2015 06:22 am (UTC)
Hi Rebecca! For the tutus you see in the photos (which are perfect for ages 2-5) I used about 5 yards of 54" tulle for each one.

Good luck! I hope they turn out cute!

Edited at 2015-01-15 06:22 am (UTC)
Helen Stamps on October 16th, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
Even if I never get to make a tulle skirt for my daughters (don't own a ruffle foot) I LOVED your humour while reading this post. It's one of the best tutorials I have read off pinterest. Clear pictures, clear and detailed explanations and great humour .......even if I don't own a cat.....Thank you for making me chuckle and snort while learning how to tame an angry caterpillar with fire
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 16th, 2015 11:25 pm (UTC)
Ha! Ha! Thanks! I love these little tutus, they make kids so happy!

(and you don't *really* need a ruffler, it just makes the work super quick. It can be hand pleated, or pleated using a bbq fork (or any other straight tined fork) or it can just be gathered on a thick thread. The basic premise is the same!)

(here's what I meant by fork pleating: http://starlightmasque.livejournal.com/9975.html )
Avita Sandoval-Beatty on October 19th, 2015 02:22 pm (UTC)
I need to make 2 long tutus in Navy blue for flower girls, do you think the 2 layers will be thick enough so they aren't see through or should I add another layer?

also I am making them for a 4 year old and a small waisted 7 year old...do you have a method for figuring out the waistband/tulle measurement?
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 19th, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC)
Hi! I think for a wedding you should jam as much tulle into the skirts as possible! The fuller the better! Of course it will make the project a lot more challenging, but will look amazing. I don't have a formula, I would either put as many layers on top of each other as possible, or really gather the panels very tightly and put as much in as the waistband will hold. If you are a good seamstress, you might want to make a kind of yoke first, so not so much fabric is jammed into the waistband, and then jam all the fullness into the edge of the yoke. (1950's fluffy crinolines are built this way.) Good luck!
sunshinenjeff on November 3rd, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
Straight lines
How do you sew straight lines on tulle? Is there some secret? 😣
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on February 19th, 2016 12:17 am (UTC)
Re: Straight lines
I am so sorry for my late reply! Your comment was filed in the "suspicious comment" area and I never noticed.

She looks super amazing! What fabulous make up! You did a wonderful job on the tutu, and if anything is crooked, it sure doesn't look like it! Tulle sucks to work with no matter what-- maybe press flat where you want to sew? use an awl to hold it down as it runs through? use a strip of tear-away stabilizer on top of the tulle and under the presser foot? A strip of light masking tape? A walking foot? A teflon foot? I don't know!

But I do know you did a great job and I'm so happy you shared!
Daleen Jacobs: pic#125597290Daleen Jacobs on November 17th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
My first, but not last tutu

Love the tutorial. I left out step 13. Big mistake.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on February 19th, 2016 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: My first, but not last tutu
I am so sorry for my late reply! Your comment was filed in the "suspicious comment" area and I never noticed.

May I say WOW!!!! That looks amazing!! It's so pretty in the silver sparkle! What a lucky girl you have. Thanks so much for sharing! I love it!
Re: My first, but not last tutu - starlightmasque on February 19th, 2016 12:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Gail KonradyGail Konrady on December 7th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
love your tutorial i grinned a ton over it, really good thanks
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on December 24th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
Re: love your tutorial i grinned a ton over it, really good thanks
Thank you so much!
Sky Mahoney on February 18th, 2016 11:34 pm (UTC)
Making these to sell?
First of all, thank you so much for a brilliant tutorial!! My daughter and niece love their tutus! My daughters dance teacher does too and would like me to make some to sell at her studio. Your techniques for having them reversible and easily adjustable are amazing--do I have permission to use this tutorial (especially those techniques) when making tutus for sale?
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on February 18th, 2016 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Making these to sell?
Of course! There is nothing proprietary about this design, and you are the exact right person I was hoping to reach with this tutorial. I know what it's like to make tutus for kids, and all those knotted ones are complete horse#$@&. This is a great way to make them, and so easy to play with! I'm so glad you are getting a commission to make some!

May I suggest buying the tulle at Gifts International? Their tulle is dirt cheap and soft and pretty-- it's what I used in the photos above.


I mean, $6.00 for 40 yards! Come on!

Also, their double faced satin ribbon is soft, thick, and pretty, too. (It's also what I used for the tutorial.)

Good luck! Sell lots and lots!
Re: Making these to sell? - Sky Mahoney on February 19th, 2016 12:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
Cherie N Chip LembckeCherie N Chip Lembcke on April 26th, 2016 02:33 am (UTC)
OMG, I LOVE your humor in this GREAT tutorial! Thank you! :)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on April 26th, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! And, you're welcome! :)
Donna Blanchard on July 22nd, 2016 03:03 am (UTC)
no serger
LOVE your tutu's AND your tutorial! do you have any suggestions if no serger is available?

starlightmasquestarlightmasque on July 24th, 2016 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: no serger
Thank you so much! If you don't have a serger, I recommend stitching (several times over) to condense and hold together the area meant to be serged. Then trim and enclose with matching bias tape, made from the waistband material.

Good luck!
Yvonne Haselhoef on September 30th, 2016 09:12 am (UTC)
Birthday tutus
Hi from the Netherlands !
I like your tutorial very much .
Want to make sewing tutus for a birthday party .
I need your help 😊
For a 25 ich waist and 17 inch lenght how many material do I need ? I'm a little bit confused because I will work with 100yards /6 inch rolls .
I hope to hear from you soon.

starlightmasquestarlightmasque on September 30th, 2016 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Birthday tutus
Hi Yvonne! Thank you!

I'm sorry to say you cannot make a 17 inch length tutu with this method using 6 inch rolls of tulle. If you can find 18 inch rolls of tulle you can do it.

If you already own the 6 inch rolls, then my only suggestion would be to cut (and cut and cut and cut and cut a thousand times) 18 inch lengths from all those thin 6 inch rolls. Then overlap them into a loooooong panel, and THEN use the tutu method above to create the 17 inch tutu.

It would be far easier to cut the tulle from a full sized bolt, or find a wider roll closer to the length you want.

Good luck!
Christine McKennaChristine McKenna on October 29th, 2016 10:50 am (UTC)
Loving your tutuorial, permission to use please ?
Hi Starlightmasque, I've been using this tutorial for a while now myself to make Special Request tutus for the Charity I volunteer with, Angel Gowns Australia, Tutu Program. We make tutu skirts for sick children and children with special needs to brighten their day using donated wedding dress skirts and veils. I'd love to share your tutuorial with our Tutu Makers as an alternative to the strip tutus so we can use the lovely edged skirts and veils and coloured satin waistbands. Can I please have permission, I will credit you with the original tutorial happily. Would appreciate an email at christine@angelgownsaustralia.org.au please, thanks so much XX
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on October 29th, 2016 02:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Loving your tutuorial, permission to use please ?
Thank you, Christine! I'd be honored!