Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Make a Fabric Tutu

I came across this idea for a fabric "scrap" tutu on Pinterest and thought of a few special little girls in my life who just needed to have one. It was so easy to make and turned out super cute! Read on for directions and pictures of one very happy fairy princess.

Before you get started, you'll need:
Scraps of fabric
Elastic for waistband, 1/2 inch to 1 inch in width (or you can use a wide ribbon)
Pinking shears (or regular scissors if you like the frayed look)

Gather your scrap fabric and tulle. Use pinking shears (or scissors) to cut the fabric and tulle into strips that are about 1-inch wide and about 20 inches long. Varying the length and width of the strips looks better than having all your scraps exactly the same. Measure your princess' waist to figure out what size your elastic needs to be. Run the ends through a sewing machine (or sew by hand) to make your waistband. Keep in mind it will stretch a bit when worn since it is after all, elastic. If you're using a ribbon, leave enough space on the ends so you can tie it in a pretty bow.

Once you have your fabric strips cut, secure your elastic (or ribbon) to something, leaving a little slack so you have room to tie. Starting in the middle of the elastic, double knot your first scrap so that the tails of the scrap hang almost evenly over each side, but not too tight, you don't want to pinch the elastic. This allows you room to move the scraps and adjust the fullness of the tutu as you work. Double layering your fabrics, especially with the tulle underneath will give you a fuller tutu. Alternatively, you can tie slip knots for a different, less full look.

When you are done tying all your scraps, stretch the elastic out a bit and squish your scraps in closer to the middle, filling in any gaps, then you'll likely need to tie more onto your ends. You can also tie more scraps over the knots already there to make the tutu appear fuller (as you can tell, I am a fan of this look). When you're done, you can clean up the bottoms of the scraps by cutting some at an angle, giving others a triangular end and also shortening any of the tulle that might be too long.

As a final touch you can add a special bow or handmade flower to the waistband, like in the example above. You can also use this idea to make different styles of tutus, you can vary the length, or do an all-tulle one, or use fabric with specific themes or colors (e.g., red and green for Christmas). It looks great worn alone, over leggings or tights, or even over jeans.

The best part is that the scrap tutu is inexpensive to make, and as you can tell from our beautiful model Maren below, it's a big hit. Check out more adorable pictures from Maren's Mom Sarah on The Salad Days blog, and while you're there, wish Sarah a very happy birthday ;).

If you're interested in learning more about arts and crafts for toddlers, or life in England, follow Sarah, her photography is also stunning (those are her images below).

A very special thank you to my sister and her master artist husband for helping me tie all those knots! You guys are the best.

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  1. love this tutu post - it really is such a big hit. maren isn't even a girlie girl (more into trains than princesses) but even she can't keep her hands off this tutu. it's fabulous! love you for thinking of her - and for your kind words about the blog! xoxo

    1. Everyone is really loving the photos you took of her - they are quite precious. XOXO.

  2. We had a great time helping you! They turned out fantastic and I can't wait to buy supplies this weekend to make a few myself! (not for myself, but you know what i mean) :)