Wednesday, October 7, 2009

DIY: The Perfect Tutu

Lately I've been on the search for a perfect tutu. I tried finding one at last weekend's Hippodrome Costume Sale, but had no luck. Finally, I decided to take things into my own hands. I tried to keep it green by using post-consumer materials. I went to a local thrift store and bought a bunch of tulle that someone had just thrown away, and I also bought a little .50 baggie full of old elastic and sewing materials. I was so happy that I got everything that I needed for my tutu for less than $3, all while reducing waste. Here is your guide for creating a beautiful tutu:

What You'll Need:

  1. A cutting mat and rotary wheel, or measuring tape and scissors if you choose to do this by hand. Trust me, it was soo much easier with a smooth cutting surface and cutting wheel.
  2. 1/2"-1" elastic
  3. A sewing machine or needle and thread
  4. A hand weights or small a paperweight to hold down your tulle, I used my unicorn paperweight and a light handweight. Soup cans will do the trick though.
  5. Lots and lots of tulle. I suppose the amount you buy (or thrift) depends on how voluminous you'd like your tutu to be. I'd say that I used about 3 yards.
Step 1:
In order to make your waistband, take your elastic and wrap it around yourself exactly where you want your tutu to hit. I wanted mine to be high-waisted, so I wrapped it right around the center of my belly, above my belly button. Make a mark. Next, you want to take 2 inches off of your waist measurement. So, if you measured your waistband to be 27" long, cut it to 25", that way it will have some stretch and will simultaneously add volume to the skirt.

Now to sew. This is the only sewing required for this project, phew! Take your band, overlap the ends by about 1", and using either your sewing machine or needle and thread, secure the waistband shut. Since I don't trust my hand sewing skills, I used my machine in order to ensure a heavy duty stitch.

Step 2:
This can get a little tedious, but it is so worth it. Use your measuring tape and measure how long you want the skirt to be. I wanted mine to fall about 16" below the waistband. Now, take your desired measurement and DOUBLE it(extremely important!). This is how long your are going to cut your strips of tulle. So, I cut mine to be 32" long. You want to make your rectangular panels 6" wide x your desired length. This is where the cutting mat and rotary wheel come in handy. Cut away until you have a nice big pile of tulle strips. Use your weights to hold down the tulle as you cut. This will keep the fabric from shifting and thus your fabric panels will be as close to identical as possible. You wan't your tutu to look neat!

Step 3:
Actually putting the skirt together is the simple part! I found it easiest to pull the elastic band over my thighs in order to keep it stretched out and in place. Next, take your first strip of tulle, pull it under the elastic and fold it in half. Make the ends meet, and then tie a double-knot around the elastic. Thats it! Just keep on adding strips of tulle next to each other and secure them with double knots. Check out these photos for a better idea:

See, each little bunch is a double-knot. Just knot each strip one at a time and bunch them up next to each other until you fill the elastic band.


Voila! You've made your very own beautiful tutu! Here are a few pics of how mine turned out:




Trust me, you'll find yourself wearing your tutu while studying and doing simple chores around the house. This piece is so fun and effortlessly beautiful, perfect for a whimsical day-look or a cute Halloween costume. I think that I am going to add a slip to mine, since it is a bit transparent. I hope that this tutorial is helpful to you! It is my first real tutorial, so let me know if you have any questions or if you need anything to be clarified. You will love your tutu, I just know it. Let me know what you think of this project, it will inspire me to do more tutorials!

Love,
Flavia

20 comments:

Lauren said...

That looks a lot easier than I thought it would. I'm so excited to make my tutu!

Flavia said...

Lauren,
Go for it! The product is really lovely. Tutus are always so expensive in stores, but making your own is so simple and totally worth it. Just pop in a good dvd while you cut the fabric strips, because that part requires a little bit of patience. Send us a picture of your finished project! I'm so glad that this tutorial inspired you <3
Love,
Flavia

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