Many little girls and boys want to be ballerinas when they grow up, and nothing says ‘ballerina’ more than a tutu.
While buying one in a store or online is, of course, very quick and easy, making your own is just as simple.
With the right materials and few quick tips and techniques, your child (or you, no shame!) will have a fluffy tutu in no time.
Materials For Sewing a Tutu
Start by making sure you have plenty of fabric. Tulle can be bought on a bolt or on a spool, and since you will need quite a lot, buying it by the bolt at your local fabric store may be your best bet.
You can also use tulle that is on a six-inch spool. The spooled tulle requires less cutting since it is already the correct width for making a tutu, meaning you will only need to cut the tulle once – to get the right length.
If you decide to use tulle that is on a bolt, then you will need about five yards for a child’s size tutu, 10 yards for small or medium adult size, and about 20 yards for a large or extra-large adult size.
If you use tulle that is on a spool, then the amount you will need will all depend on the size of the tutu you’re making.
Tulle on a spool (we know, the rhyming is ridiculous) usually contains about 25 yards of the fabric. Two or three spools of tulle might enough for a child’s size tutu.
You might need four or five spools of tulle for an adult’s small or medium tutu, and seven to eight spools for a large or extra-large. It all depends on the size of the person wearing the tutu.
Whether you buy your tulle on a bolt or on spools, buy more tulle than you think you will need so that you are sure to have enough. For a shorter skirt, your tulle should be at least 54 inches in width, and for a longer skirt, your tulle will need to be wider.
You will also need some elastic for the waistband (3/4 inch to 1inch in width), some thread (matching in color to your tulle most likely), and, of course, a sewing machine.
If you want to sew this by hand, more power to you, though you’ll be in for some rewarding work.
How To Sew a Tutu
Fold the entire piece of your tulle in half, width-wise. Then fold it in half again. This will create four layers of tulle. Pin the folded edge in place so when you go to the sewing machine, nothing will move around as you run your fabric through.
You will sew along the edge that has the two folds (not yet!). The other edge will have two edges and one fold.
Now it’s time to work with your elastic. Wrap the elastic band around your waist (or the waist of the person the skirt will be for) at the place you want the tutu to sit.
Pull the elastic tight so that there isn’t any space between the band and your skin. Cut the elastic to this length with no overlap of the ends.
Now we are going to create the casing that the elastic band will go into on the tutu. Bring your folded tulle over to your sewing machine and sew a straight line all the way across, about two inches down from the top of the fold.
Make sure you are sewing along the edge of the tulle that you have folded twice and through all four layers of tulle.
Now we have to get the elastic into the casing we just made. This can be difficult but with a little bit of time and patience (and the right tool), you will have your elastic in place.
Use a crochet hook or something just as long and sturdy to scrunch up your tulle along the top by the casing (Think about a pair of sweatpants when the waistband is all scrunched up).
When it’s all pushed together, slide your elastic through the casing, making sure to keep both sides of the elastic outside the casing. We don’t want either or both ends to get lost inside the tutu.
You can try using a safety pin to secure each end in place, so that when you are pulling one end through, the other one doesn’t follow it.
Now to secure the elastic together! Pull the two ends of the elastic band together and sew them about 1/4 inch from the edge where they overlap. Use a straight stitch to do this. And then fold the seam over one way onto the elastic band and secure again with a zigzag stitch (forward and back once).
This will secure those ends and allow the stitch to stretch with the rest of the elastic.
We’re almost done!
Pin the edges of your tutu together so the two ends of the tulle meet along the backside of your skirt.
Bring your nearly finished masterpiece back to your sewing machine and, using a straight stitch, sew the edges together (right sides facing each other) about ¼ of an inch from the edges. Make sure you are sewing through all four layers!
Now, time to fluff and decorate!
Separate all the layers of your tutu using your hands to fluff it up, making it look as full as you want. Add optional decorations, like rhinestones, bows, faux flowers, ribbons, or whatever your heart desires.
And that’s it!
Congratulations on creating a tutu whether it’s your first or your fiftieth!
Here’s a video explaining how to make a no sew tutu.
Whoever this tutu is for (you or someone else), they’re sure to enjoy it for years to come. Now go start practicing your pirouettes!
Now you know how to make a tutu! Do you have any tips on how to make a tutu without sewing?