Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Twirly Whirly Tutu-torial (A DIY No-Sew Tutu Tutorial)

This week I finally got around to making something I've been wanting to make for a long time... tutus!

Tutus are really easy to make, you don't even need to know how to sew.  The only skills you will need are cutting, tying knots, and being somewhat patient (is that a skill?).

Pretty, right? You NEED one... trust me!
Here's what you need:

- Elastic or satin ribbon: either will do, but this tutorial will be with elastic.

- Tulle: You'll need about 30 -35 yards of 6-inch width tulle ribbon. They sell this at Michaels in rolls of 10 or 20 yards, and they sell it at both Fabricland and Dressew as well, although they don't sell the roll, they only sell it by the metre there.  I'm not sure how much it costs at Fabricland but it's 49 cents a metre at Dressew which I think is really expensive. I've heard it costs more at Fabricland.  If anyone has any tips on where to get it for cheaper locally (Vancouver), please let me know and I'll update this entry.  Your best bet is to use a 40% off coupon at Michaels where the rolls cost $4.99 for a standard 20 yard roll.  It's more for glitter rolls; $6.99 for a 10 yard roll. It's possible to just buy tulle off a bolt and cut it yourself, but it will be a huge pain in the butt.

- Scissor: sharp!

- Measuring tape

- A hardcover book: Not required but will make your life a LOT easier

The blue is folded tulle from a bolt, then there are two rolls of the 6-inch tulle ribbon here as well.  The ribbons on the left are an example of what you could use in place of the elastic, and the ribbons on the right are for doing some final decorative touches at the end.  The elastic is pictured at the bottom.
 1. First decide how big you want your tutu to be.  Your best bet is to measure the waist of the person the tutu is for.  If you are making it as a gift, here are some rough average measurements:

0 - 3 months - 12 to 14 inches
3 - 6 months - 14 to 15 inches
6 - 9 months - 15 to 16 inches
9 - 12 months - 16 to 17 inches
12 to 24 months - 17 to 18 inches
2T - 18 inches
3T - 19 inches
4T - 20 inches
5T - 21 inches
Those are just rough based on some Googling and doing some averages.  Like I said, best to measure.  You don't really need to be exact anyhow; if it's too big you can just cut it and retie.

If you are using elastic, cut your elastic to the appropriate length and tie it to make a loop.  To make your life easier, pull this loop over a book that's about the same size.

Using a book as a workspace will make things a lot easier.

2.  Now you are going to want to measure and cut your tulle ribbon.  You can choose any length of ribbon you want, but remember whatever length you cut, your skirt will be half as long (if you cut your ribbon 12 inches, your skirt will be 6 inches long).  The book came in handy for me here too; I hate cutting and I'm not very precise about it, so I basically just wrapped the tulle around the book over and over and over again, and then when I felt like I had enough, I cut in 2 spots as pictured.  This was quick and easy which is exactly what I like cutting to be!

3.  Now that you have your elastic measured and cut, and your tulle measured and cut, you are ready to get down to business! All you need to do is tie the tulle around the elastic in rows. If you want the skirt to puff out (I love this style), use the knot I've used below.  If you want the skirt to be more "dangly" than "puffy," you can use a cow hitch knot.

4.  Keep going with this until you have made your way around your elastic completely, then you are done with your knot tying.  You aren't completely done making the tutu yet, though. You will likely get into the rhythm of tying the knot, scooting the tulle up, and then doing that over and over again.  While you are doing this, you will stretch the elastic.  When you are done, you may realize the tutu is way bigger than you thought it would be. Have no fear... move the knots around a bit to de-stretch the elastic and you'll find it's perfect. If it is still too big, no problem.  Just cut out the knot, and retie it to a better size.

This one seemed gigantic at first, and even fit me, until I adjusted it a bit.
5.  Once you've finished and you are satisfied with the amount of tulle, play around and groom the tulle a bit until it looks sufficiently fluffy.  You can add some pretty ribbon to it as well, if you want to doll it up a bit.

The completed green and white tutu I made in size 2T

I made this bright pink, light pink, and white tutu for a friend's newborn. 

The earlier stages of the one I posted at the top of this blog entry; purple, bright pink, and white
Playing around and deciding on which colours you want to make is almost torturous, lol!
Finally, a cute little model wearing the green and white one with some faery wings
Some Final Tips:

- The more tulle you use, and the shorter you cut it, the puffier your skirt will be.  The less tulle you use, and the longer you cut it, the more "skirt-like" your skirt will be

- You can tie ribbon between the tulle for additional glamour ;)

- You can use ribbon in place of the elastic, but if you do, remember it's not stretchy so you will want to skip the step of tying it in a knot and make it so the person wearing the tutu can just tie it around there waist to wear it and can untie it when they want to take it off

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