Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tutu Tutorial (Part 1): No Sew Tulle Tutu

I ordered too much tulle for decorating Baby Bunny#1's birthday - and as she and her sister just love to play dress up and dance I decided on embarking on making some tutu's. I couldn't find any tutorials for a sewn tutu - lots of other tutorials for no sew tutu's. My next four (possibly five) posts will be all about different ways to make tutu's - I hope not to bore you or reinvent the wheel! And I really hope my notes on tutu making will help you make your own.

Knotted Tulle Tutu
Here are some great tutorials that will give you a tutu with similar results:
Paige and Brooke Tutu Tutorial
Treasures for Tots Tutu Tutorial - a piece of ribbon is used instead of elastic
Ribbon Treat Tutu Tutorial - this lady uses a different knot to encourage tulle to go in more directions and therefore give you extra fluff

You will need:
- Elastic
- Strips of 6" tulle

1) Cut and secure your waist band. 
I used a 1" no fold elastic - which is quite sturdy stuff so I sewed the two ends together (does that mean I cheated on this no-sew tutu?). If you chose a thinner elastic or a ribbon you could just knot it. If you are using elastic you will want to make your waist band about 8% smaller than the persons waist. Here is a chart to help you.

Waist (inches) Elastic (inches)
Waist (inches) Elastic (inches)
15 13 3/4
23 21 1/4
16 14 3/4
24 22   
17 15 3/4
25 23   
18 16 1/2
26 24   
19 17 1/2
27 24 3/4
20 18 1/2
28 25 3/4
21 19 1/4
29 26 3/4
22 20 1/4
30 27 1/2

2) Cut your strips of Tulle
I chose to buy bolts of tulle and I cut them into 6 inch strips with my rotary cutter. This was much cheaper than using tulle ribbon on spools  and it was very quick to cut it this way.

I used 3 strips of 6 inch tulle for one knot - this gave the tutu's great volume. You need to cut your strips twice as long as you want your tutu to be (e.g. 22" strips will yield a 11" long tutu). I used 36+ knots for this tutu. (Which means I used 66 yards of 6" tulle strips for this tutu.) I wrapped the same cutting board I used to make my tulle pom poms to make strips for the tutu. 

I cut the strips at an angle at the bottom of the board only. The angles at the end of the tulle give the tutu a lighter more flouncy feel. Don't worry about the strips being slightly different lengths. The different lengths will also help to give the tutu more volume.

3) Tie your knots

I used the first knotting technique shown above to knot my strips of tulle around the elastic. The second knotting technique is used in Ribbon Treat's Tutu Tutorial. Continue knotting until you think you have no more room.

Once you think you have no room left - wiggle and tighten the knots a little - try and squeeze in some more strips. You really want to pack them in as tight as possible.

4) Fuss, Fiddle & Enjoy
The more you separate the strips and tulle and fuss with the tulle - the fluffier your tutu will be.

You can tie ribbon/bows, stick on pom poms, sew on flowers etc - the options are endless.

Stay tuned for my next posts:
- Recycled Plastic Bag Tutu
- Tulle Tutu (using Crochet Elastic)
- Tutu using Fabric scraps
- Basic Sewn Tutu


Anonymous said...

I love your site and all your ideas, but can i ask...do you find that the knots using the slip knot method come loose over time? Also how do you stop your tulle snagging/fraying at the bottom when you cut it or with wear and tear? Thanks

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for visiting. I have not found that the knots have come undone - they do loosen a little - but they don't come undone.

Anonymous said...

stunning... I must have looked at a dozen tutu-tutorials till I found this one, -now all that stunning pink tulle I have bought for my husband to be the Xmas Fairy at the Santa Parade next weekend won't be wasted!

Unknown said...

Thank you ;-) I would love to see that photo!!

Emily Lacey said...

We just made a little one for my 1 year old for Christmas. It turned out so cute. Thanks for the great tutorial!