Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I searched online for ideas and tutorials on how to create a tutu, and the basic concept was the same but everyone puts their own spin on things, minor touches you can change here and there. So I came up with my own tutorial to show you all how I create my poofy little creations.
(this tutorial is for a basic hand tied tutu using tulle)

Step 1: Gather materials
(you can use any color or any number of colors) I usually use about 10 yards of cut tulle, or 2 rolls (50 yards). This is good for a 15" tutu. For this tutorial I used a 25 yard roll of ivory and a 25 yard roll of pink, but will include photos for anyone using regular by the yard tulle
Ribbon or elastic (I usually use 1" ribbon or 1/2" elastic ribbon)
Needle and thread
Rotary Cutter (if you have one they come in very handy)

Step 2: Measure your little one:
Waist: Simple enough, measure around where you would like the skirt to hit. Keep in mind when you are using Ribbon to triple the measurement (if she measures 15" cut your ribbon to 45"). IF you are using elastic make sure to cut the elastic roughly 2" shorter than her measurement (15" and you would cut at 13")
Length of skirt: There are sites that have averages but if you are making your own make it custom. If you want a foofy floor length tutu measure from her waist to the ground. If you want more ballerina then measure waist to knee. It's up to you. Typically When I do a 15" waistband I will cut the tulle so that it falls to 10" (I will discuss cutting the tulle later)

Step 3: If you are using elastic you need to sew the ends together to create a circle

Step 4: cut your tulle (this is where a rotary cutter comes in so handy). If you use the large yardage of tulle from the fabric store this part can be time consuming. You need to cut long strips to use. You can make your strips any width you want but I usually use 5" strips. The best way to do this is to lay the fabric out, cut it into smaller pieces (i measure off 30" pieces), roll the fabric up, and cut it in to 5" sections (refer to pictures)

If you are using the rolls of tulle they come in 6" which you can leave as is, this is very simple.

Step 5: Now you must cut the strips in to your desired length, it is important to remember that you must double the measurement you wanted (my skirt will be 10" so I will double it to give me 20"). Also it is recommended that you add a little extra to account for the ribbon or elastic (I usually cut mine to 22" to be safe)

You should end up with a hefty stack of tulle strips (6"x22" in this case)

Step 6: It's time to start tying the tulle to your ribbon or elastic. The best tipe I've found was to use your thigh to stretch the elastic to work with. You can also use something of a similar size, as it is 100 times easier to tie knots when the elastic isn't moving around on you.
I gather up two strips of tulle together (you can use one, two or three, up to you) and fold them in half keeping the looped end by my fingers.

Some people use shoelace knots, but I prefer the larks head (or macrame) knot (photos below). It is important to not tie your knots too tight, as this will cause the elastic to bunch and it won't stretch the way it should. I have found it very very very difficult to keep the ribbon un-bunched so I usually let it roll up under the knots.

You continue doing this until the entire waistband is covered in knots.
I like to tie mine very tight and pack in as many as I can, but you can leave them looser if you want a more flowy skirt, again play around to see what you think is best.

Step 7: Enjoy your creation!!

Side note: The tutu in the photo was created by putting two knots of each color together. You can create any pattern with your knots. Experiment with colors, and patterns and enjoy the variations that are possible!!!!


  1. oh my gosh, my tutu looks nothing like this! How'd you get the knots to be so nice?

  2. I can't wait to try this!!! :D Good thing I have patience and (mild) OCD hehe