Little girls love to play dress-up and a recurring favorite is the tutu. Tutus are dainty and different; they inspire dreams of dancing and glamorous ballerinas. Tutus also look spectacular in any photo shoot, especially on newborn babies. You can find tutu’s in all sizes, from baby to adult, and all costs. Fancier versions may have satin or lace, varying layers and colors. But when you get right down to it, most tutus are simply pieces of tulle tied around a waist band. This makes tutu-creating a fun DIY that little girls, ages 5 and up, can help with. I guarantee that you can copycat any design you or your little girl desires within a frugal budget and a couple of hours with this simple, no-sew tulle tutu tutorial.
You will need the following supplies to get started:
- Measuring Tape
- Yards of Tulle
- No-roll elastic waistband or satin ribbon
Step 1: take measurements. Measure the tutu-wearer’s waist and the distance from the waist to the hemline (the point on the leg between waist and knee) for the tutu length. For this tutorial, I made a newborn baby tutu to use in my daughter’s upcoming photo shoot. Here is a size chart for some general measurements for children’s sizes.
0-3 months: Waist 14″ Length 6″
3-6 months: Waist 15″ Length 6″
6-12 months: Waist 16″ Length 7″
12-18 months: Waist 17″ Length 7″
18-24 months: Waist 18″ Length 8″
3 years: Waist 19″ Length 8″
4 years: Waist 20″ Length 9″
5 years: Waist 21″ Length 9″
6 years: Waist 22″ Length 10″
Step 2: make the waistband. The satin ribbon will form the waistband or “belt” for the tutu. Add 12″ to the waist measurement to allow for a 6″ length of ribbon at either end to tie a bow. Cut a length of satin ribbon to those measurements. From each end of ribbon, measure in 6″ and tie a knot. You should now have a two knots, each 6″ from the ends of the ribbon. When you add your tulle in a later step, start at one knot and end on the other.
Step 3: cut the tulle. You will need several yards of tulle depending on the tutu size and length (roughly 3-15 yards in most cases). Double the measurement from the waistband to the hemline from step 1 and add 1″. Cut the tulle to those measurements; the additional 1″ allows for “lost” fabric in the knot.
TIP: For a tutu that flares out, cut more tulle in thinner strips (1-2” wide); for a tutu that lies more flatly, cut less tulle in thicker strips (3-4” wide).
Step 4: make the skirt. Fold a strip of tulle in half. Lay the satin ribbon waistband over the “loop” end of the tulle, leaving about 1” of the tulle loop above the waistband. Pull the two loose ends of the tulle strip over the waistband and through the tulle loop. Pull tightly to form a knot in the tulle around the waistband. Repeat until you are satisfied with the layers and thickness of the tutu. Knot each piece of tulle around the waistband, sliding each piece tightly against the previous piece of tulle until the waistband is filled from one knotted end to the other.
Create the skirt in all one color of tulle or alternate tulle colors for a fun pattern. Add embellishments like ribbon and lace, bells or pom-poms.