How to Make a Tutu: A Tutorial

how to make a tutu without sewing

For her second birthday, I made Grace a tutu. It is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

You know we’re anti-princess around here, but I thought a tutu would be a perfect dress up piece. Tutus are all about imagination and whimsy. Tutus can work for ballerinas or fairies or special birthday girls.

How to make a tutu: a no sew tutuorial

It was the perfect project for a momma who was injured and lying on the couch. It’s very simple and most of it can be done while lying down.

Homemade Tutu

Materials

  • Tulle – I used about 10 yards of tulle, sold by the yard. You could get rolls of 4″ or 6″ tulle, but I couldn’t find any. I allowed Grace to choose her colors, and she picked purple and yellow. I bought 5 yards white, 3 yards purple, and 3 yards yellow, but if I was starting over, I’d just do half purple and half yellow. The white diluted my colors more than I would have liked.
  • A length of 1/2 inch elastic or ribbon
  • Spools of matching grosgrain ribbon (I omitted mine at the last minute because Grace hates her tutu, but if she decides to like it some day, I’ll add them.)

Measure Your Child

  1. Waist – If you’re going to use elastic, cut a length of 1/2″ elastic that is 2 inches shorter than your child’s waist. If you’re using ribbon, you will need to cut her waist measurement plus 2 feet or so, enough to tie the tutu onto her body.
  2. Waist to knee – This one is simple. How long do you want the skirt to be? I think Grace might have hated her tutu less if it was shorter. I’m thinking about cutting it off at the bottom.

Instructions

  1. Joe did this part for me. Cut the tulle into strips that are 4″ to 6″ inches wide and twice the finished skirt length. I made my tutu 18″ long, so my strips needed to be 4″ by 36″ wide. I had more strips than I thought I’d ever need. That’s just about the right number.
  2. If you’re using elastic, overlap the ends and sew. I couldn’t use my sewing machine, so I did it by hand. I would have preferred my machine. No matter.
    How to make a tutu: a no sew tutuorial How to make a tutu: a no sew tutuorial
  3. Grab 3 pieces of tulle and stack it nicely.
    How to make a tutu: a no sew tutuorial
  4. Fold it in half. Loop the center point under your waistband
    how to make a tutu without sewing
    then pull the ends down over the waistband and tuck them into the loop. Pull the ends so that the top makes a loose knot.
    how to make a tutu without sewing how to make a tutu without sewing
  5. If you pull the knot too tight, it will curl and stretch the elastic, be difficult to work with, and need to be loosened later. I’m just saying.
    tutu tutorial

    Good. Not too tight and not too loose.

    tutu tutorial

    Too tight. I had to pull these all out a bit.

  6. Repeat that process another thirty or thirty-five times. I started out with a pattern, but I abandoned it in favor of whatever looked nice. I ended up with 38 knots, and my tutu is sufficiently fluffy.
    tutu tutorial
  7. If you’re going to use ribbons, you can tie them over top of the tulle in the same way. Alternately, you can tie them in shoelace-type knots over top of the tulle. Either way would look nice and leave long tails hanging down in the tulle.
  8. That’s it. Your tutu is finished.
  9. I considered a waistband to finish off the top and make the whole thing less scratchy. I also considered gluing some little flowers or some glitter onto some of the pieces. I’m not doing either of these things since Grace hates her tutu, but I might some day.

Alternate uses for a homemade tutu

If your husband spends two hours cutting tulle, and then you spend four or five hours tying knots in tulle, and your child refuses to even put her feet in her tutu, you will find alternate uses.

  • Tulle makes nice scrubbies for the shower. I didn’t take it apart. I’m hoping that some day, she’ll change her mind.
  • All of those panels would work nicely for dusting knick-knacks.
  • You can play peek-a-boo with a tutu around your neck.
    tutu tutorial

Project Cost

  • I bought tulle at 99 cents a yard.
  • I bought two small rolls of ribbon, each for 99 cents.
  • I had elastic in my sewing stash already.
  • Total cost – Under $13
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© 2009 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. says

    Jen – Actually… Grace won’t touch it. She refuses. Joe put it in her closet today because I finally resigned myself to her tutu avoidance.

  2. says

    Jen – Actually… Grace won’t touch it. She refuses. Joe put it in her closet today because I finally resigned myself to her tutu avoidance.

  3. says

    I wonder if it was too scratchy for her overall?

    Or, if she never even put it on, maybe it was just scary to her?

    Or, maybe she just didn’t get it.

    I bought my g’toddler an apron when she was going on two and she wouldn’t put it on. She wanted everyone else to put it on. Finally realized since she couldn’t see it on her, she just didn’t “get it.” So, trotted her over to a mirror and held it up to here and bingo! Now she doesn’t cook until she puts on an apron (and washes her hands).

    And some kids just don’t enjoy play-acting or dress-ups. (Is she a Taurus by chance?)

  4. says

    I wonder if it was too scratchy for her overall?

    Or, if she never even put it on, maybe it was just scary to her?

    Or, maybe she just didn’t get it.

    I bought my g’toddler an apron when she was going on two and she wouldn’t put it on. She wanted everyone else to put it on. Finally realized since she couldn’t see it on her, she just didn’t “get it.” So, trotted her over to a mirror and held it up to here and bingo! Now she doesn’t cook until she puts on an apron (and washes her hands).

    And some kids just don’t enjoy play-acting or dress-ups. (Is she a Taurus by chance?)

  5. says

    Maybe if you borrow some classical ballet videos from the library and show Grace some of the scenes with the pretty ballerinas she might like to try it out for dancing?

    Isn’t is frustrating when your child dislikes something you’ve spent ages making just for them?

    Mum-me’s last blog post..Sun Sparkles

    • says

      Mum-me – That’s a great idea! I think I’ve even seen episodes of Sesame Street where Zoe wears a tutu, too. I’m going to look for both.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  6. says

    Maybe if you borrow some classical ballet videos from the library and show Grace some of the scenes with the pretty ballerinas she might like to try it out for dancing?

    Isn’t is frustrating when your child dislikes something you’ve spent ages making just for them?

    Mum-me’s last blog post..Sun Sparkles

    • says

      Mum-me – That’s a great idea! I think I’ve even seen episodes of Sesame Street where Zoe wears a tutu, too. I’m going to look for both.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  7. says

    Really enjoyed your tutu post–it was not only helpful to prospective tutu-making Moms, but hilarious–especially the alternative uses for a tutu. Would it be OK for us to use a couple of photos to let our readers know about it, with full credit and links to your blog? Thanks for getting back to me! Just adorable!!

  8. says

    Really enjoyed your tutu post–it was not only helpful to prospective tutu-making Moms, but hilarious–especially the alternative uses for a tutu. Would it be OK for us to use a couple of photos to let our readers know about it, with full credit and links to your blog? Thanks for getting back to me! Just adorable!!

  9. nicole says

    OH MY GOODNESS. You are a godsent for posting this. I am going to make my 3 yro daughter a tu-tu & a long sleeve leotard w/ my little pony on the front. This is exactly what I need to walk me through the process. I love how you put this together. Grace is so lovely.

    Thank You so much for the tutu tutorial & info. I hope I can do this. (my daughter will probably put it on & try to go out to play basketball.)

  10. nicole says

    OH MY GOODNESS. You are a godsent for posting this. I am going to make my 3 yro daughter a tu-tu & a long sleeve leotard w/ my little pony on the front. This is exactly what I need to walk me through the process. I love how you put this together. Grace is so lovely.

    Thank You so much for the tutu tutorial & info. I hope I can do this. (my daughter will probably put it on & try to go out to play basketball.)

  11. Christine says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I used your directions to make my 3-year-old a tutu for her new dance class. The tutu came out beautifully and she loves it!

  12. Christine says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I used your directions to make my 3-year-old a tutu for her new dance class. The tutu came out beautifully and she loves it!

  13. says

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Made making the tutus so easy. I tackled my first one last night and my dd loves it. She just happened to pick the same colors are you daughter. Now, I have 7 more to make. They are going to be party favors. The girls are going to love them.
    Thanks!
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..DSC_0058 – Copy =-.

    • says

      I’m so happy to hear it! They are so easy, and they’re not expensive at all. You’ll have to take pictures of all of them together.

  14. says

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Made making the tutus so easy. I tackled my first one last night and my dd loves it. She just happened to pick the same colors are you daughter. Now, I have 7 more to make. They are going to be party favors. The girls are going to love them.
    Thanks!
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..DSC_0058 – Copy =-.

    • says

      I’m so happy to hear it! They are so easy, and they’re not expensive at all. You’ll have to take pictures of all of them together.

  15. DeAnna says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m actually going to use this technique for myself for a Halloween costume at work (I’m going as the Tooth Fairy)! This is so easy and so cost effective. Thanks again!!!

  16. DeAnna says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m actually going to use this technique for myself for a Halloween costume at work (I’m going as the Tooth Fairy)! This is so easy and so cost effective. Thanks again!!!

  17. Leigh Ann says

    ahhh!!! I’m so excited!!! I wanted to make my daughter one so bad but was NOT sure where to even begin! This is absolutely adorable and looks fairly simple!!! She’ll be so excited! The ‘toothfairy’ made her a fairy wand with a tulle tutu…that was a little different than a child size tutu though. So she hasnt quite gotten that yet…she’s waiting to lose that first tooth but it’s the only thing she wanted from her!! I thought it reasonable considering it’s the first one! :) So yes!!! Thank you sooo much for posting this! You’re amazing!!! Absolutely fabulous!!!

  18. Leigh Ann says

    ahhh!!! I’m so excited!!! I wanted to make my daughter one so bad but was NOT sure where to even begin! This is absolutely adorable and looks fairly simple!!! She’ll be so excited! The ‘toothfairy’ made her a fairy wand with a tulle tutu…that was a little different than a child size tutu though. So she hasnt quite gotten that yet…she’s waiting to lose that first tooth but it’s the only thing she wanted from her!! I thought it reasonable considering it’s the first one! :) So yes!!! Thank you sooo much for posting this! You’re amazing!!! Absolutely fabulous!!!

  19. Tom McComb says

    Wow! You just saved us!!! 6 grown men, going out for halloween together. None of us sew, and you just saved our lives. Our tutus will be fabulous with our tights!!!

    Happy Halloween!

  20. Tom McComb says

    Wow! You just saved us!!! 6 grown men, going out for halloween together. None of us sew, and you just saved our lives. Our tutus will be fabulous with our tights!!!

    Happy Halloween!

  21. Jessica says

    These steps are so simple..and your pictures are great! I may not be 3 years old….but me and my best friend are 21 and are making tu-tus as part of our Halloween costumes! Thanks so much for the help!

  22. Jessica says

    These steps are so simple..and your pictures are great! I may not be 3 years old….but me and my best friend are 21 and are making tu-tus as part of our Halloween costumes! Thanks so much for the help!

  23. Marcella says

    Is the tulle secure or do you to need to keep tightening it. I am trying to find a no sew tutu with secure attachments on elastic. I don’t want to have to keep going back and putting fallen off peaces and/or tightening the tulle. Thanks for your help!

    • says

      Marcella – I haven’t had to tighten any of Grace’s tutu. I tied them pretty tight to start, so that might be part of the success.

  24. Marcella says

    Is the tulle secure or do you to need to keep tightening it. I am trying to find a no sew tutu with secure attachments on elastic. I don’t want to have to keep going back and putting fallen off peaces and/or tightening the tulle. Thanks for your help!

  25. Marcella says

    Thank you so much for your insight Tara. I am making tutus for an orphanage foundation my mom is in charge of and have all proceeds go to “children to children” to help. So looks like I know what I am doing tonight. THANKS!

  26. Marcella says

    Thank you so much for your insight Tara. I am making tutus for an orphanage foundation my mom is in charge of and have all proceeds go to “children to children” to help. So looks like I know what I am doing tonight. THANKS!

  27. Heather says

    I used your instructions and I just wanted to THANK YOU! My daughter ADORES her Tutu which she refers to as her “skirt” lol Here is a picture of her wearing it. [IMG]http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o37/ZenMama83/DSC01583.jpg[/IMG]

  28. Loliimi says

    What happens if it's too tight?

    And it says that it was never worn again.. Does that mean that it can't be worn again, or your daughter just not wear it?

    I love the idea! ;D

    What other types of cloth could you use along with it?

    Thanks!~
    Felicia

  29. says

    If it's too tight, I would take it apart and add another couple of inches of elastic at the seam.

    Grace didn't wear it again because she was afraid of it. She's recently become interested in it again, and she wears it several days each week.

    I think you could do it with any type of cloth, as long as you can tie the knot. You would have to cut it into strips and tie it on. I'd love to see pictures of whatever you come up with!

  30. Katie says

    My daughter and a classmate are sugar plum fairies in the upcoming school program. I am so glad I came across this blog. THANK YOU…the tutu's were super simple and absolutley fabulous!

  31. Jessica says

    I love your tutu. I am looking for one for my daughter's first pic's and I was about to spend about $75. Now, I can have Grandma make it with love!! You just made my day:) P.S. My first child is Grace, too!!

  32. Melissa says

    Wow, thank you! I am trying to make a tutu right now and your picture for the slip knot was just what I needed! Thanks!
    And your tutu is really pretty :D

  33. Yasmeen says

    Thanks so much! I hope this will be easy for my friends and I, for Spirit Day this coming up Friday!
    The theme is “Color Wars in Purple”, do you think you have any ideas ?

  34. says

    I would get a couple different shades of purple. You can get dark purple, lavender, and probably even a medium purple. Try a local fabric store or a craft store. You should be able to find lots of different tulle, maybe even some with glitter or sparkles. :)

    Good luck! I'd love to see them when you're done.

  35. hterice says

    I love your instructions. My friend showed me how to do the one I made my little girl. I am going to make tutus for all the girls at my Effys 1st B-day. I have already made wands and fairy tiaras. It is a fairy party.
    http://hterice.blogspot.com/

  36. Kayla Glenn says

    I am also making my daughter a tutu for her 2nd birthday and i am making her 2 for two diffrent parties. Your instructions are very good thank you.

  37. says

    Funny! I made my daughter a tutu to wear at her 2nd birthday party and she was scared of it too. Now that she's two and a half and very much into “looking pretty” I'd like to try it on her again, but I got rid of it already because it was just getting in the way.

  38. says

    We buried Grace's in the bottom of her toy box. We were cleaning her room just this week (she's a little past 3), and she found it. She wore it almost all day yesterday and all morning today. It seems for us, 3 is much more into the tutu than 2 was.
    They're so inexpensive that you could make another one pretty easily. :) Good luck!

  39. sarah says

    this is so cute – i am going to make one for my daughter for halloween (and playtime) this year. but i was wondering, would you call this a tututorial? ;)

  40. Kara Brooke says

    Thank you for this tutorial! I almost paid $30 for one, when I came across this. Now I’ll only have $10 in the project, and I will be proud to say I made it myself! It’s going to be perfect for my 22 year old Fancy Nancy costume :) Thank you again!

  41. says

    The tulle I got was about 45 inches wide, so we cut 11 strips across the width of the fabric. That’s about 110 yards of strips. I had a lot left over, though. You could probably go with 3 or 4 rolls per tutu and have plenty.

    • mom22girls says

      Thanks! That’ll work out great since I was planning on doing 3 colors per tutu (and of course, they don’t like the same colors;).

  42. Ejdtholmes says

    I love the tutu…I started making hairbows for my daughter and she won’t keep them in(she is 17 months) so I started making them for my niece and friends. I decided to add more projects and wanted to try a tutu for my little girl. I just finished it. It is adorable. I didn’t use as much tulle as I probably should have, but next time will. Didnt want to lug 4 kids back to the fabric store:) Thanks for making this so easy!! YOU ROCK

  43. Crystal says

    I sat down and made two of them tonight for my husband and I for an upcoming race.  I need to make one more, since they will both be destroyed shortly after the race starts, and I refuse to spend the rest of the day in a dirty tutu.

  44. Reeves says

    This is really cute. I just made a couple of red tutus for a class I used to teach her in Thailand and the little girls loved them. It only took me a couple of hours, yet they will be the best dressed girls in the school show, LOL.  Thanks for the nice photos too!

  45. says

    Thanks for the great instructions!! I’m going to make one for my 16 month old grand daughter.

    DeeDee

    ps: fabric.com and joanns.com have the tulle in the 6 inch width size. fabric.com has it for 2.99 a 25 yard spool. :-)

  46. Becca says

    I made one of these for my 3 yr old. She loves it! I bought smaller spools of tulle that were 6″ wide. I think they were thicker than regular tulle, so I ended up just knotting each individual strand. The only drawback was the sparkle purple tulle I used was a bit scratchy. Otherwise, a success. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

    • says

      I’ve never tried. I think it would be okay on my washing machine’s hand wash cycle, but it would depend on your machine. It might get tangled or fall apart. If you don’t have a hand wash cycle on your machine, you might be better off to do it by hand. Let me know how it comes out?

  47. Ash says

    Are the pieces of tulle just cut into little rectangles or did you have to do anything to the ends that show to make them look good?

    • says

      I got mine at Walmart, I think. Fabric stores always carry tulle, too. I think there are also online retailers where you can buy it. That might be the easiest because you could get a roll that’s already cut to the right width.

  48. Charlotte says

    How would I go about putting a band around the waist? I would like to use satin ribbon. Would it need to be something stretchy? or should I stretch out the elestic then sew the ribbon around the top?
    Thanks!

  49. says

    I just found your blog because i was looking for how to make a tutu. Great tutorial!! Very funny too! I’m going to be your new follower, haha!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  50. Charlotte W. says

    How did you get the tulle so gathered in step 4?? No matter what I do, it doesn’t even come close to looking the same. When I pull them tight the “knot” at the top is HUGE! :/

      • Charlotte W. says

        I can’t. But, if I pull the ends tighter the elastic curls? If you take 3 pieces of 6″ wide tulle and fold it in half, the loop I get does not look that together and when pulled into the ‘knot’ it’s big and puffy.

        • says

          Yes, the elastic will curl if you pull it too tight. It sounds like you’re not getting the tulle pinched tightly enough to start with. It has to be stacked together for the knot to pull down nicely. You may just have to adjust the layers of tulle so that the knot looks better.

          • Charlotte W. says

            I’m going mess around with and see what I come up with. Lol. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Thank you so much for replying to me. :) It’s refreshing to comment on someone’s blog/page and get a response. Have a wonderful night, I’ve got tulle to tame. ;)

    • says

      Two things. Put fewer layers of tulle on the stack before you knot it. Put fewer stacks of tulle on the elastic. I’d first try to put fewer layers of tulle on each stack because putting fewer stacks (and hence, fewer knots) might make it sparse-looking.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the sun on Etsy. The yellow pettiskirt pictured above is from here, and the pink tutu from here. Here’s a tutorial for easy no sew [...]

  2. [...] can’t take complete credit for this tutu.  Thanks goes to the mom at the Feels Like Home blog who gave great instructions along with helpful step-by-step [...]

  3. [...] inspiration, skirt tutorial – I bought the tulle and elastic at Jo-Ann Fabric for about $20. The finished product, [...]

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