Making a basic tutu can be fun and easy! Even your child can help, which is also a great rainy day or activity for a birthday party! What's even better is that making a non-sew tutu is fairly inexpensive. Minimal sewing is involved using a needle and thread for waistband construction. For a 100% non-sew tutu, use a stretchy headband for the waistband. No sewing involved in the actual skirt portion of the tutu.
What you need
Tulle From The Bolt (fabric stores sell tulle by the yard from a bolt, which is usually 54″ wide) or 6″ by 25 yard roll of tulle
If using tulle from the bolt, you will need to purchase at least 5-6 yard of tulle for a baby/toddler size. Ages 4 and up will need at least 8-10 yards of tulle.
If using tulle from the roll, purchase 6″ by 25-yard rolls of tulle. You will need 2-3 rolls for a baby/toddler size and 3-4 rolls for ages 4 and up. I personally love using tulle ribbon from a roll/spool. It’s normally used for wedding decorations and gift-wrap. It’s easier to work with and quicker to cut.
1/2″-3/4″ Width Roll of Non Roll Elastic (Amount determined by waist size) or elastic headband for waist
Needle and Thread
When I first started making tutus, there were one or two free tutorials on the Internet with no photos to help in the process. I learned by trial and error and now I want to pass my tutorial to you. Avoid the mistakes I made when first attempting to make a tutu… Follow the steps below for a quick introduction into making non sew tutus.
BASIC TUTORIAL ON MAKING A NON-SEW TUTU:
Measure child’s waist and cut elastic 2″ smaller than measurement to allow for a snug fit. Sew both ends of elastic together by hand or with a sewing machine.
For a non-sew waistband, purchase inexpensive stretchy headbands from your local drugstore. Most stretchy headbands come in one size so this option may not work for all waist sizes.
If using tulle from a bolt, you will need to cut it down into 6″ strips. A quick and easy way to do that is to roll the tulle into a tube… it should look like a tube of gift-wrap paper.
One end of the tulle will have a folded edge (that’s how it comes from the fabric store). Starting on that edge, measure 3″ and make your first cut with a great pair of fabric scissors. Then measure 6″ over and cut again. Repeat every 5-6” until you have cut the entire length. You may have to adjust the strip width to make the strip width as even as possible.
If using 6″ by 25-yard rolls of tulle, you won’t need to cut 6″ strips, since the roll already comes in a 6″ width. You do have to cut each strip to your desired length.
Let’s say you want the tutu to be 14″ long. Double that length to 28″ and cut each strip to 28″ long. You determine length.
Some strips might not come out completely even, but it really is okay once all strips are tied on. Any mistakes can be hidden.
Making the Skirt:
Step One: Fold your strip in half and bring it behind the elastic waistband to form a loop.
Step Two: Bring the ends of the tulle strip through the loop. Pull down the end to tighten. Make sure not to pull it too tight.
Step Three: Continue tying slipknots or regular knots around the entire waistband. You will probably use between 40-60 strips of tulle for a baby/toddler tutu.
A good rule of thumb is to squeeze in at least 3 knots per inch of your waistband measurement.
And there you have your finished tutu!
Mariana Patrick loves teaching others her secrets on making tutus. She has written three e-books on making several variations of non-sew and easy-sew tutus and fun hair bow styles. She is also in the works of adding more projects to her library.