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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 )
Kristina VilimaiteKristina Vilimaite on April 19th, 2017 08:21 am (UTC)
Why panels are necessary?
I enjoyed reading your tutorial, I loved the clarity and style of your writing. I am planning to make a tutu for my 7y old this week. I wonder - why there is a need to cut tulle to panels? What would be different if I ruffled two long pieces of fabric without cutting them first?
Oh, and one more question - should I use soft or stiff tulle for making the skirt?
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on April 19th, 2017 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Why panels are necessary?
Thank you!

It's just easier to handle the 54" length when working with tulle from a bolt. There is nothing stopping you from cutting one long strip the opposite way! Also, rolls of tulle are sold if you can find one the right width, makes it very easy.

You can use either style tulle, but the soft is much nicer to play with and looks floaty and sweet. Good luck!
Anne Oberinfrayah on October 17th, 2017 12:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this great tutorial.

I am now game to have a go!

Your clear explanations are so helpful and I just love your sense of humour.

I loved laughing as I learnt!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 12th, 2017 03:05 am (UTC)
You are most welcome! I hope your tutus turned out tutu-rrifically!
Crafty GR on November 12th, 2017 02:25 am (UTC)
question: elastic length?
Thanks so much for posting this tutorial! The Internet is clogged with no sew versions so it's great to see a sewn version. I'm hoping to make a few for my twins, their cousin and their friends as Christmas presents (without a serger though).

One simple question (as I've read and reread your post and looked through the comments, but still didn't see it anywhere): What length did you cut the elastic?

Thank you.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 12th, 2017 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: question: elastic length?
Thank you so much! I agree that the no-sew tutus are pretty terrible and labor intensive.

You don't really need a serger, you can use a little bias binding instead, or just trim nice and tight if your fabric doesn't fray.

The elastic needs to be the measurement of the girls' little waists, maybe an extra inch for the overlap.

Good luck! I hope they love them!
Adriana Pérez on May 18th, 2018 06:09 pm (UTC)
Hice para mi poequeña nieta por su cumpleaños número 4 el tutú de su tutorial.
No me llevó 30 minutos pero si una sola mañana !!
Quedó espectacular !!!!
Veré si puedo agregar foto sino puedes verla en Pinterest.

Oh!!! Qué pena. No me deja publicar fotos aquí.
Puedes verla en Pinterest si lo deseas en el apartado " Probaste este Pin"

Amy StatlerAmy Statler on October 7th, 2018 07:29 pm (UTC)
I need to make 2 of these for Halloween costumes- one for me and one for my daughter- I am so excited to find a method USING SEWING (I hate those no-sew ones) that will produce a tutu for my daughter to play with for dress up after the holiday. I do have a serger, but I will have to experiment with a ruffler foot (IDK if I have one!) before I get into the "good" tulle. Can I hand-ruffle the tulle? Use a running stitch?
Lynne Herrmann on January 18th, 2019 07:48 pm (UTC)
Ruffler foot doesn't work
Hi - I love this tutorial so I bought a ruffler foot; however, it doesn't work correctly. I spent several hours on the phone with the mfg and bottom line is my machine's needle is ever so slightly off center so it keeps clipping the attachment. Anyway - you mentioned you made them with the string, zig-zag method - suggestions on how best to do this (I already bought the tulle). Also, it is sparkly tulle, so I am concerned the duct tape will pull the glitter right out of it. Again, suggestions please. Thank you so much!
Doris Glover-PencilleDoris Glover-Pencille on January 31st, 2019 01:23 am (UTC)
Gathering tulle
I read on another site that you can ruffle tulle by setting your machine tension as high as it will go