How to Make a Classic Tulle Tutu
This pretty DIY skirt looks adorable as a flower girl dress, a Halloween costume, for ballerinas-in-training or just for the fun of it. Almost no sewing is involved to create this classic tulle tutu, making it a great project for beginner-level crafters.
- basic sewing essentials
- sewing machine (optional)
- (3-8) rolls of 6" tulle (3-4 rolls will yield a short tutu while 7-8 rolls will yield an ankle-length tutu)
- 1/2" elastic (length will depend on size)
- satin ribbon for trim (optional)
Make the Elastic Waistband
Cut the elastic to your child’s measurement. Fold the elastic so that the ends meet and overlap. Pin in place. Use a needle and thread or a sewing machine to secure the elastic loop. To determine the length of the elastic, measure your child’s waist. Subtract 4 inches then cut to that size. (For example, my child's waist is 21 inches, minus 4 equals a 17-inch piece of elastic.) The elastic will stretch as you are putting the fabric scraps around it.
Pro Tip: For the best fit, always measure the child. But just in case you do not have that option, here is a list of the average waist size for a child’s age:
- 12 to 18 months = 15 1/2”
- 2T = 16”
- 3T = 16 1/2”
- 4T = 17”
- 5T = 17 1/2”
- 6T = 18”
- 7 yrs. = 18 1/2”
- 8 yrs. = 19”
- Add one inch to the elastic for each additional year up until the teen years.
Cut the Tulle
Cut strips of tulle double the size of your desired length. For length, follow this rule of thumb:
For short tutus, cut three or four rolls of 6-inch-wide tulle into 22-inch strips (more tulle = fuller skirt).
For long tutus, cut seven or eight rolls of 6-inch-wide tulle into the following length strips (Note: These sizes are not meant to go all the way to the floor, but rather to the ankles.):
- 12 to 18 months = 24”
- 2T = 30”
- 3T = 35”
- 4T = 38”
- 5T = 42”
- 6T = 46”
- 7 yrs. = 50”
- 8 yrs. = 54”
Pro Tip: Long tutus are not recommended for children under the age of one, as they can be difficult to crawl in.
Attach Tulle to Elastic Band
Once you have cut all of your tulle into strips, take the first strip and fold in half so that it creates a loop (Image 1). Bring the loop of your tulle up and over the inside of the elastic (Image 2). The bottom of your tulle will be beneath the elastic waistband and the top of the loop will be above. With the loop still above the elastic, grab both of the bottom ends of the tulle strip. Pull the bottom ends of the tulle through your upper fabric loop (Image 3). Pull tight to create a knot around the top (Image 4). Repeat with the remaining tulle strips.
Continue Adding Tulle
As you are adding the tulle strips, occasionally push the top knots together. This will stretch the elastic a bit to give you more room to add more strips for a really full tutu. Repeat until you make it around the entire waistband and can no longer see the elastic.
Add a Second Layer (Optional)
If you want a two-tier tutu, cut two to three rolls of 6-inch-wide tulle into strips that are 8 to 10 inches shorter than your initial tulle strips. Repeat the process of tying the tulle onto the waistband in between the tulle knots that are already tied on. Repeat until you have made it all around the waistband and your entire first tier tulle color is covered up. You can also add a satin ribbon to the front as embellishment.
Play Dress Up
You now have a fabulous classic tutu that your kids will adore. This pretty skirt is so easy to make, you'll want to craft one for every occasion, from Halloween parties to dance recitals.
Brian Patrick Flynn