A Tutu How-To

My three-year-old girl wears her play tutu about three days a week: sometimes under the dress (loves dresses, too), sometimes over; sometimes to the library; sometimes with a helmet and sword (think girly girl with brothers). But I recently discovered that these garments, which add a magic touch to pretty much any girl outfit, don’t mean someone has to shell out $13-$30 for one! Now I’m thinking they’ll make great baby gifts and birthday gifts. Bonus: So fun to make with friends! I made these pictured with my sister. Older girls may like helping you make their own—and a great memory. And the total cost (drumroll, please)? Less than $10. Now that’s sweet.

My ingredients:

Elastic. One inch width is nice, but narrower elastic can work fine. The length will depend on your sweet girl’s waist, but keep in mind that it will stretch as you make the tutu and when she puts it on. Tulle. Hobby Lobby sells fairly narrow (8” or so) spools of tulle in various colors, and on sale, you can get them up to half off. You will need one spool per tutu, or you can use more than one color. I used two shades of pink for the how-to photos, and leftover tulle from a family wedding (trimmed with dark and pale purple ribbon) for the white baby tutu shown later. Ribbon. Optional, but a fun ingredient! We purchased two $.99, 6’ spools of 1/2” ribbon — printed with matching cupcakes! Also optional: Ribbon to make a bow on the outside, and/or silk flowers (like a silk Gerber daisy). Needle, thread, scissors, and ruler. Don’t get scared — the sewing is very, very minimal. And now…it’s tutu easy.

  1. Overlap the ends of your waistband-length elastic about 1”, and stitch them together securely. (That’s it — no more sewing from here on out. I promise.) You can tell that it’s a good thing my sewing skills don’t make or break the project.

2. Beginning at one end of the ruler, wrap the tulle around the ruler several times.

  • For a normal-sized play tutu, cut through all layers of tulle at the end of the ruler on which you began wrapping, as shown. This will make 24” strips of tulle. If using ribbon, cut 18” strips of ribbon.
  • For a baby’s tutu (great for crawlers and sitting babies), cut through all layers of tulle at both ends. This will make 12” strips of tulle. If using ribbon, cut 12” strips of ribbon.

3. Place the elastic waistband around your leg. Gather two strips of tulle (if using ribbon, include a strip of ribbon; if using two colors of tulle, use one of each color). Make sure the waistband is in the middle of the tulle, and tie a knot with the tulle (and ribbon, if using), around the waistband, keeping the elastic flat and unbunched. For a better-looking tutu, try to keep the knots on the same edge of the elastic, and evenly distribute the ribbon around the tutu. 4. Spread the pieces of knotted tulle surrounding the elastic, so that it hides more of the elastic band (you’ll use less tulle this way). Cut and tie more tulle as needed to the fullness you (or she!) desire. 5. If you’re using a bow and/or flower as an extra ornament, form this separately. Securely sew and/or hot glue the ornament to the outside of the waistband. Tips:

  • Presentation makes a gift like this even better! Mine’s gonna be a surprise for our girls-only fancy lunch.
  • I’ve been taking chances like this to talk to my daughter about real beauty, like concepts from 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:30, and 1 Peter 3:3-4. I want to celebrate femininity and the pretty and fabulous ways God’s made her, and still leave no doubt — at any age — where beauty lies and what it looks like. (And I’m realizing she absorbs a lot of her beauty concepts from the ways I talk about myself, how I care for myself, and what I consider important. Talk about humbling.)

Can’t wait to make my girl feel even more special.

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