If you can sew a straight(ish) line you can make a tutu- who knew? So, I have officially been sewing on my sewing machine for a week. Gosh, has it only been that long? So far, I’ve made a dress out of pre-designed fabric, a bunch of burp cloths and working on my third tutu if I can ever bring myself to sew the last row of ribbon on I’d be done. First, sewing on a machine is easier than I though. Sewing straight…not so much. However, once I learned to thread my machine I didn’t need much help with the rest. I still don’t know how to read a pattern (I picked one out and put it back when I discovered that I couldn’t even figure out how much fabric I needed), but I did make some really easy tutu skirts that I “designed” myself. There are a few things I’m still working on but they turned out pretty well.
Here’s what you need:
7/8″ elastic- colored to match the skirt or white
7/8″ ribbon if you decide to leave the back open- unnecessary if you plan to sew the elastic closed
First, measure the child around the waist and quadrouple that number (for a fuller tutu you may even want to multiply by 5 or 6)- this will be the length of your tulle and ribbons. Then, measure from waist to knee- this will be the width of your tulle. You can make it as many layers as you want but for my sparkle tutu I simply folded it once to give two layers. This made a very very sheer tutu. I also made mine a little long. For the ribbon edged tutus I think a little shorter and fuller is better but it’s all about trial and error. For my three year old, I cut my tulle the full 3 yards of tulle and about 11-12 inches long. I cut the elastic about 18 inches long.
Next, aline your tulle and iron the fold so that the ends of the tulle are even. If you’re doing more than two layers I actually recommend folding your pice of tulle several times and sewing them together before you cut all the edges instead of trying to piece it together after cutting because it’s hard to line the tulle up exactly right once it’s in pieces. Press the fold with your iron so that it has a firm crease (this will eliminate the need for pinning). Line up the fold about an inch from your needle and sew a pocket for the elastic. Make sure you sew straight because this is the only part of the product that needs accuracy. You cannot rip seams out of tulle.
Now, cut your ribbon to the same length as you’ve made your tutu. Pin it to the edges of the tulle. If you have cut your tulle straight it is easiest to pin the ribbon even with the bottom of the skirt even though you will sew it onto the skirt at the top of the ribbon. Line the edge of the ribbon up with the presser foot. On my machine, I leave the sewing setting at 00 which puts the needle slightly to the left. This allows me to sew a line alone the very top of the ribbon. You could also sew it in the middle of the ribbon if you want. You can just edge the top layer or you can do every layer or every other layer depending on the look you’re going for.
Lastly, put the elastic on a safety pin and thread it through the pocket to gather the tulle together. Sew up the end of the elastic to create a circle or attach to your 7/8″ ribbon and tie. If you close the elastic, hand sew the ribbon on the back edges together so it will stay together. You could also sew a seam all the way up but it doesn’t seem necessary.
The next time I make one, I’m going to buy some satin fabric and sew a casing around the band to keep the itchy tulle from coming in contact with skin (if you do this you’d obviously need to do it before inserting the elastic and do it the entire length of your tutu). I also may thread a ribbon through on top of the elastic and put a bow on the front or back through an opening in the casing.
Hope that made sense and if not leave me a comment and I’ll try to explain. It really was a super easy project once I figured out the best way to do it.