Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tutu Tutorial (Part 5): Basic Sewn Tutu

This is by far my favored method of making tutu's. The resulting tutu is clean, neat, crisp, fluffy and provides a blank canvas for such a wide variety of options and decorations.



You will need:
- 10 yards of 54” tulle - you can use a different width of tulle too - it will just result in a shorter tutu.
- cotton for sewing – the same color as your tulle.
- elastic (I used 1” non roll elastic – but any sort would work)
- a long blunt instrument for threading your elastic – I used a large crochet hook

1)  Prepare your tulle
Fold your tulle together once and then again so you have four layers of tulle. Pin the folded edges. You will sew along the edge that has the two folds. The other edge will have two edges and one fold. Because of the yardage of tulle folding the fabric can be a bit fiddly. I hang the tulle over the banister while I fold and pin.


It is important that your tulle layers lie flatly on top of each other and the folds are tight.


2) Sew your tulle layers together.
Sew a little over 1” down from the folds. Sew one straight line securing all four layers together down the entire 10 yards of tulle. I used a walking foot which helped prevent the tulle layers from slipping

OPTIONAL: Adorn your tulle.
Now is a the time to sew on ribbon, stick on gems or stuff your tulle with pom poms/petals etc Do these kinds of decorations BEFORE you insert the elastic. Once the elastic is inserted the tutu becomes so full it becomes tricky to work with.   

(I stuck gems to the tulle with a glue gun - practice first - those glue guns can make a mess!)

(I sewed ribbon to the entire length of one layer of tulle before inserting the elastic)
 
3)  Insert your elastic
Cut your elastic to your desired waist size (this chart might help you.) A blunt, easy to handle instrument is easiest to help you thread your elastic into the waist band. I impaled (literally) my elastic on a large crochet hook – and used that to thread the elastic through the gap on your waist band.


There is a lot of tulle here. Take your time threading the elastic in – you do not want to rip the tulle or loose the elastic half way through.


Sew the elastic firmly together. When I sew elastic together I like to sew the two ends together with a straight stitch first (forward & back once).


And then fold the seam over one way and secure again with a zigzag stitch (forward and back once).


I used the same color thread as the elastic (I used black thread on white elastic here for demonstration purposes only.)

5) Sew the back seam
Ensure all your tulle layers are flat when you sew the back seam together.


Once you have sewn all the layers together - trim neatly


OPTIONAL: Decorate your finished tutu



Add a bow to your waist band, sew on flowers or butterflies ...



... the final touches are endless.

UPDATE: I love seeing anything that my blog inspired you to make. Here is a tutu that Michele at MicMac' Bows made using this tutorial. This tutu was made for a 12mth old. So we adjusted the measurements.
For a shorter tutu for younger girls. 
- Purchase 5 yards of 54" tulle.
- Cut the 5 yards to 2 strips of 27" x 5 yards.
- Sewed the two lengths together into 1 strip of 27" x 10 yards.
- Then follow the tutorial to make a tutu that is approx 6.75" long & super cute.


Previous Tutu Tutorials: 

39 comments:

dottycookie said...

I love the white ones - butterflies and sparkles, what moe could a little girl want?

Mel said...

okay... question. when you say to stitch the back seam? what exactly do you mean? are we stitching the BOTTOM of the tutu? where the two open layers and one fold are?

want to make sure i'm understanding this before i muck up my tulle... LOL

Rachael Rabbit said...

Hi Mel,

No - I don't sew the bottom of the tutu at all - tulle doesn't really fray so much - but I do sew the ends of the length of tulle together - to join the tutu together - like the back seam of a simple elasticated skirt. The 54" edges not the 10 yard side. So there is no gap in the tutu when the little ones are bouncing around. I really hope I am making sense.

Thank you so much for your comment - and visiting Rachael Rabbit - I'm really glad to know that the tutorial is being used. Let me know if I am not being clear.

Sue Ryan said...

It seems the bottom edge of the tutu has two edges and a folded edge...you don't cut the folded edge... leaving four single layers? Not sure if I've missed something?

Rachael Rabbit said...

Sue - you could cut the folded edge - but I don't - I would worry about being able to cut it in a super neat fashion. I have the folded edge on the bottom and the two edges on the top. If I add ribbon I add it to the top edge. I really hope this helps. Thanks you so much for visiting Rachael Rabbit and please do not hesitate to contact me @ rachael@rachaelrabbit.com if you have any further questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel - On the top, do you thread the elastic through just one layer of the tulle or do you make two seams at the top to make more of a pocket? I wasn't sure from the instructions above. Thanks for these instructions! I have the tulle and can't wait to make my tutu.

Rachael Rabbit said...

Hi there - Once you have folded your fabric make a seam about 1" down from the top folds. This will create a pocket (two layers of tulle on either side). Thread the elastic through the middle of this pocket so that there are even layers of tulle on either side. I really hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I really appreciate you visiting Rachael Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

Hi There - Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this tutorial and to all who asked questions, as provided great explanations! I'm planning to make the one with the ribbon at the hem for my daughter's birthday :D My question is: Can you share any tips on how keep the ribbon in place when sewing it?

Thanks in advance!

Rachael Rabbit said...

I always use my walking foot when I'm using any sort of material that might slip while I'm sewing and go slowly (and calmly) adjusting gently/checking the position on the way. I use my walking foot a lot - probably for more than its intended purpose - but it does really help stop the slipping problem. You could pin a little too - take them out as you go though. I really hope this helps. Thank you so much visiting Rachael Rabbit.

pillowsalamode said...

I used your tutorial . . . thanks a million! :) http://pillowsalamode.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/superheroes-in-tutus/

Rachael Dorr said...

They look amazing!!!! Such a wonderful way of using the tutu's. Thank you so much for letting me know.

Anonymous said...

If making a size 18month tutu should I still use 10 yards of tulle?

Rachael Dorr said...

My eldest is very slim and has about a 19" waist. Which is I think strangely about a standard 18mth waist size in say a store like Janie & Jack. However I would make it shorter. So you could use 4 layers of 6" tulle ribbon - that would make a super cute tutu for a baby. Or 5 yards of 54" tulle. Cut it in half lengthwise and your tutu would be approx 6.5" long (54 divided by 8). The tutu shown above is about 13" long (54 divided by 4). I really hope that that helps. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

melissa Andresen said...

I don't get the whole process...Does any1 know a tutorial video for a SEW tutu?

Rachael Dorr said...

Melissa - I had a look on YouTube and I could not find anything I found to be so comprehensive. Please let me know what you find confusing. The process is incredibly easy & quick - I'm so sorry if my explanation was not so clear. You can contact me at rachael_dorr@yahoo.com for further help if you would like.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, EXACTLY what I was looking for. THANK YOU!

Rachael Dorr said...

Thank you - I am so glad people are finding it helpful.

Michele said...

This looks like something I could actually do!!!! :) To clarify (sorry - I am making sure I understand this....) - the 54" part is the part we fold for the length? And the 10 yards is what goes around the little one's body? Is that correct, or am I completely backwards?

Also - how much would you recommend for a 12 month old?
Thanks so much!!!

Rachael Dorr said...

Michele - you are totally right. For a 12mth I might opt to purchase 5 yards of 54" tulle. I would cut the 5 yards to 2 strips of 27" x 5 yards. Sew those two lengths together into 1 strip of 27' x 10 yards. Then follow the process to make a tutu that would be approx 6.75" long & super cute. I hope that helps please contact me at rachael_dorr@yahoo.com if you need any help. Yours truly.

Michele said...

Thank you, Rachel!!! I just got back from JoAnn's and am off to sew!!! Wish me luck!!! :)

Michele said...

Oh my goodness!!! I actually did it!!!! I am so excited!! Thank you for making this tutorial so easy to understand!!! :)

Rachael Dorr said...

Dear Michele - I am SO pleased this helped you ;-) Send me a picture!!

Michele said...

Pictures sent!! :)

Naomi said...

Hi rachel, thanks for the tutorial im going to try this :) if you wanted to get two or three tulle colours in in layers how would I do that?

Rachael Dorr said...

Hi Naomi - I think that I would just sew & fold lots of colors together. I would make the waist band at the top as usual. I don't think with tutu's/tulle you can ever have enough layers - in fact the more tulle, the more volume - the better. x

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial! How long or how would you go about folding/adding layers for an adult tutu. It would be for a run so shorts would be worn under it. Believe it or not it's for a man too :)
-Kristy

Rachael Dorr said...

Kristy - I think for a man sized tutu (say he is 6ft or so with a 34" waist) I would take a bolt of 108" tulle http://www.tulleshop.com/108-Inch-Tulle-Fabric-Bolt-s/72.htm and fold it 3 times so you would have 6 layers too the tutu & it would be approx 18" long. I might cut the bottom folds for 6 layers of tulle - but you don't have to - it will still work. I really hope that helps. Contact me at rachael_dorr@yahoo.com if you have any further questions.

Michele Urbach said...

I love your tutorial! I just finished a tutu for my daughter's 2nd birthday. Thank you for the inspiration!!

Michele Urbach said...

Thank you very much for the tutorial. I just finished a tutu for my daughter's 2nd birthday. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

Jill Dunavant said...

I just made 3 of these four my daughter's birthday party (and now I'm hooked and will be making them for all of the little girls who are coming) and it only took 20 minutes each once I got the hang of it. At first I had trouble wrangling the tulle to fold right but then it occurred to me to use a long wooden dowel to pull the fold into place to pin it. I also used safety pins because I imagined straight pins snagging all over the place and getting pulled out. Then, when I feed the elastic through I pinned it at the starting edge so I couldn't pull it through. When I finished I pulled the layers apart all the way up to the elastic and stuffed my arm all the way through the loop of the folded layers to pull them apart and it made the fullest tutu I've seen! I'll try to figure out how to post a picture. This is the simplest and most logical tutu method I've ever seen. Thank you!!!

Rachael Dorr said...

Jill - I wish I had your e-mail - I would LOVE to see photos and I really appreciate your comment & I am so glad my tutorial was of help to you. Yours truly, Rachael

Linda Walker said...

I love and plan to make the light pink one with the satin ribbon for my Grand daughters 1st birthday. Ordered my materials this morning. Thanks so much for your wonderful tutorial.

Karlene said...

Hello Rachel,
Do you use wired ribbon for the edge on the bottom, or regular?
Thanks!

Rachael Dorr said...

Karlene - I used normal ribbon but I think wired ribbon could be pretty cool too - just make sure your needle stays away from the wire while you sew it to the tulle.

Katie said...

Because I noticed lots of people asking to scale the tutu for different sizes, I'm offering a basic formula: my 4yo daughter has about a 20" waist, so it looks like about 1/2 yd for each inch of waist. Give or take of course, depending on how full you want it.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that this is a very nice tutorial. I think it is quite easy to follow AND you are incredibly helpful for every question that was asked here. What an amazing thing to find in a stranger. THANKS for the tute. I draft my own patterns & wing it mostly, but if I can find an easy tute that also gives me actual yardage requirements I am thrilled. Math was never my strong suit & I do a lot of overbuying or running back to get more. You either saved me money, a trip or two and for sure some sanity. So thanks!!!1

Leslie basinger said...

For an adult sized tutu what yardage of tulle do you recommend? Can I use two or three colors? I am making one for a friend who loves bees.

Rachael Dorr said...

Leslie - yes - I think you could use lots of different colors. Do you want the tutu to be stripey? If so you might want to make a no sew tutu (http://rachaelrabbit.blogspot.com/2013/01/tutu-tutorial-part-1-no-sew-tulle-tutu.html) As for the yardage - I would put as much as you can possibly force yourself to afford. For an adult you could probably easily double the yardage (if not more!) The more tulle you use the fuller & more buoyant the tutu will be.

ShakespearesSunshyne said...

This is officially my favorite method for making a tutu! Lots of tutus have passed though our house for my daughter and nieces, but this is the tutu they all favor. (Three out of Four girls say this tutu is less "itchy!" lol) It has also stood up to wear far better than the tied tutus have. This Halloween will have 4 fairies running around in this tutu! Thank you so much for the tutorial on this method!

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