Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tiny TuTu Tutorial

Had a great time last week assembling the fluffiest tutu EVER for our sweet Miss S! Based on a few other tutorials in the blogosphere, I went with the largest yardage suggested and then did some calculating to make it plum perfect. This tutorial results in a tutu that is approximately 7" long. For children ages 3-10, I found that the average length of Etsy tutu's was 9". (See the end of this post for additional measurements.)

  • 8 yards of 54" wide tulle on a bolt. (I purchased 3 yds of 3 different colors and had some yardage left over for cute flowers for a bow to match. The best price I found on 54" wide is at Hobby Lobby when the tulle goes on sale for 77 cents/yd! The cost would roughly be $6.16 plus tax for basic/not shiny tulle.) OR 72 yards of the 6" wide tulle ribbon. (Hobby Lobby has a decent price on these in the Wedding Section: 40 yards for $2 when half off (total cost roughly $4 plus tax). The ribbon tulle in the Fabric Section is 25 yards for $3 when half off....Apparently, the store is banking on you not looking in the Wedding Section when making a tutu!)
  • 25" of elastic. (Measure the child's waist and add 2" is the typical formula when using standard elastic. I used hair bow elastic because it is wider and I was able to attach more tulle without compromising on the size of the waist. The hair bow elastic did stretch some, so in the future, I would measure the child's waist and subtract 1/2".)
  • Scissors.
  • Fabric measuring board. (If using bolt tulle, it will make the cutting of 6" wide strips go very quickly.)
  • Needle & thread. (To sew elastic waistband closed.)
  • One romantic comedy. (To distract you from the mundane task of making knots. It shouldn't take the entire 2 hours to cut the fabric and assemble, but just in case it does, you have something to laugh about.)
Preparing the Tulle:
  • Fold your 54" wide tulle in half and then in half again so you have 4 pieces roughly 13.5" wide.
  • Cut along the folds.
  • Lay the 4 layers out on the fabric board and cut every 6".
  • Stack your 6" wide by 13.5" long strips into piles by color. (You should have about 192 pieces total.)
  • OR, Unroll your tulle ribbon and make cuts every 13.5".
  • Stack your 6" wide by 13.5" long strips into piles by color. (You should still end up with 192 peices.)
Assembling the Adorable:
  • Measure and cut elastic.
  • Sew elastic together to make waist band.
  • If using hair bow elastic, loop 3 pieces of tulle in each "hole" on the bottom row. Then loop 2 pieces of tulle in the next row up that alternates hole spacing. (In the picture to the right, I've only looped one piece through the first row hole and my finger is sticking through a second row hole. The three loops on the first row will get pretty tight and the same goes for the second.)
  • If using standard elastic, loop until you use up all that lovely tulle...or until you can't fit any more loops. Make sure you pull tight so that it makes the smallest knot possible.
  • Fluff, fluff, fluff.
Things to Remember:
  • If one of your strips is shorter than another, it won't be noticeable in the finished product.
  • You also won't be able to see if the tulle has ripped. Yes, sadly, when you pull the tulle isn't always strong enough. Leave those ripped pieces on there, unless you just can't take it.
  • Use any color pattern you want! Be creative!
  • If you want to make a 9" tutu, follow the same steps as above, but make the following changes: You will need 10 and 2/3 yds of 54" wide tulle OR 96 yds of tulle ribbon. For the bolt tulle, fold into thirds instead of fourths to make 3 layers that you will still cut into 6" wide strips. For the tulle ribbon, cut the ribbon every 18". You will still end up with 192 pieces.
  • Tutu too big? Cut the recipe in half! Here's a photo of Sophia (above right) with only half of the pieces assembled!

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