Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DIY Wednesday: Tutus (Illustrated with lots and LOTS of pictures!)

            Do you know a little girl who enjoys playing dress up? Maybe you’re looking for a simple, affordable DIY costume for Halloween? Or perhaps you’re looking for a cute idea for a photo prop? If any of the above applies to you, then I’ve got a fun, easy DIY project for you!
            My newest crafty obsession is making tutus. While this may seem like a no-brainer since I have a little girl myself, I am far, FAR from being a “fufu” type person myself, so I was really surprised that I enjoyed making these so much. However, I’m all for saving a buck so when I decided to dress Myka up as a fairy for Halloween this year (Have I mentioned that I’m a Halloween FANATIC?) my hubby suggested making her tutu skirt instead of buying one. (Although there are some REALLY cute ones on Etsy!) So without further ado, here is my tutorial on how to make your own tutu for your little fairy princess. ;)

What you’ll need:
-elastic band (you could also use ribbon if you would rather tie the skirt on)
-tulle, mesh, nylon blend, etc. (Tulle is commonly interchanged with mesh and certain types of nylon blends, in case you’re wondering. REAL tulle is the finer, more closely weaved, and softer stuff like you see used in wedding and prom dresses. It’s also a helluva lot more expensive!)
-needle and thread or sewing machine

Note on how much fabric you’ll need: Depending on the size and how many different colors you would like to use, you will likely need anywhere between 3-5 yards of fabric. On Myka’s I used one yard of each of the 3 colors. Although it looks like I ran out, the band actually stretched out more than I meant. (Don’t ask.) On the Halloween one I used a yard of each color again (size is larger than Myka’s) and I ended up having extra.

Myka's Halloween tutu

1)     Decide (or measure if you’re anal) how long you want your strips. Double the fabric over and cut to length.

2)     Unfold and roll from the one side to the other. (It doesn’t really matter how big or small the roll is, although I would recommend doing it on the smaller side so you can cut it in one fell swoop on the next step.)

3)     Being sure to keep it rolled up, cut strips along the roll. You can make them different sizes or all the same. It’s up to you. For the Halloween one I cut them at angles to give the strips a more jagged, raggedy look.

4)     Repeat steps 1-3 for each color.
5)     You don’t have to, but I like to unroll all of the strips at this point. Either way, if you want to go random, mix all of your strips up at this point. If you’d rather do a specific pattern, don’t.

6)     Measure how long you will need your elastic. Overlap the ends some and sew it up tight! My husband stitched ours several times with a zigzag and cross-hatched type stitch. Just remember: You’re not going to see it when you’re done so it doesn’t have to look pretty. ;)

7)     It is easiest to stretch your elastic over the back of something, like a chair that has slats. However, beware of stretching. A little stretching is likely bound to happen, but I suggest taking your elastic off every now and then so it doesn’t stretch TOO much.

8)     Now to start on the actual fun part! Fold a strip in half.

9)     Where it’s folded in half, make an opening.
Not that you probably would have noticed had I not said anything, but those are lots and lots of mosquito bites on my ankle. I don't have some gross skin condition. lol

10) Place your strip behind the elastic.

11) Keeping your loop open, pull each end towards you and pull the bottom tails UP through the loop.

12) Pull/yank on this until it is tight enough against the elastic that it will not come undone easily.

13) Repeat this until your elastic is completely covered. That’s it! It may seem like a lot of steps, but it’s really not.

Myka helped too. :)
-You can cut your strips as wide or narrow as you want, but I suggest not cutting them too thin. Less risk of ripping.
-Wider strips are going to give you a fuller, fluffier skirt. Thinner strips are going to be easier to get to “lay down”. (From my experience, anyways.)
-There is a lot of room for “error” in this project. Don’t worry if your strips aren’t all the same width or same length.
-If you want to save a little time, you can complete steps 1-3 all at the same time by laying all of your tulle on top of each other.
-If you have some leftover tulle after you’ve cut everything to the length you want, you could make a little decoration to stick on a headband like my husband did for Myka’s or at the top of the tutu etc.
-Having a helper on steps 1-3 can really help!

Also, be sure to click that lovely little Tutorial Tuesday button on the side to be directed to more fun, creative, and easy tutorials and DIY projects. New ones every week!


  1. Awesome tutu-orial (see what I did there? haha). Seriously though, I've been wanting to make one of these for my new little girl but it looked so complicated. You broke it down beautifully, thanks!

    1. ha! That made me lol! It didn't even cross my mind to MAKE one until my hubby mentioned it and explained how easy it would be. I'm so glad that he did because it saved a lot of money too! He even talked me into making the wings for her costume and those were WAY easier than I had expected as well.
      Anyways, I'm glad you liked it and I would love to see a picture if/when you finish yours!

  2. This is the way I make my tutus as well!
    You can buy ribbon tulle as well, and then only need to cut to length :)

    1. Good point! Can't believe I forgot to mention that. We've been buying it buy the yard at Hancock Fabrics since it has been on sale. lol Just got some of the ribbon last night at Michael's, though. ;)