DIY Tutu

Wayne loves the Redskins. No, like, he LOVES them. I don’t know anything about football, and frankly don’t really care about it either, but to increase the likely hood that I would get something sparkly and made of diamonds for Christmas, I decided that for our holiday family portraits, we would all wear Redskins gear. I didn’t want to just wear jerseys or whatever, so we ordered brand new shirts for all of us, and I decided that I wanted to make fancy Redskins team color tutus and hairbows for the girls. I mean after all, these were still going to be our family portraits, so I wanted them to be a little bit fancy.

For two tutus, I would say it was a total of about 3 hours time, but I did it over two days and just worked on them for a little bit at a time. I chose to use mostly tule and a bit of organza, but you could really use anything that you like. I have even see this same style done with old t-shirts that looks pretty cool. I had the idea to use burgundy and a golden yellow for the main colors, and then piece in a little bit of gold glittery tule…. that was the biggest mistake of my life! Glittery tule is awful! The glitter is not even attached to the tule, its just kind of thrown on there… so when you start to use it, this is what you get:

That is just the top of my desk that is just trashed with glitter…. imagine that all over my legs, the carpet, the hardwood… and by the time I sat down to make these things, it was too late for me to buy anything else, so I had to use it! The girls couldn’t even wear the skirts until we got to the studio, and I feel horrible for the cleanup crew that night.

I have used glitter tule before and no matter what, you will always have some glitter on the floor. But this brand, by far, was the worst that I had ever seen. I bought this at Michael’s Craft supply in the wedding section- I would NOT recommend buying this brand!

The Tutu!

*Ribbon of chosen width and color

*Tule, organza or other material in chosen color(s)

Like I said, I made two skirts- one was for a 5 year old and one for a 10 year old. I decided not to use elastic for the waste, but rather just ribbon so it would essentially be adjustable (and frankly just easier). You could use any kind of ribbon, but I used 1 inch ribbon. For Alexis, her waist was 20 inches, so I cut the ribbon to be 60 inches. I know that is long, but I wanted to tie a nice big bow with long flowing tails, so its really up to you.

Each skirt took about 30 to 45 yards of tule. That sounds like a lot, but the rolls of tule that you can buy at Jo Anne Fabrics (usually in the bargain bins) are typically 15 yards each, so its only a few rolls. This again will also depend how long or short you want your skirt,  how big or small the waist is, and how full you want it. For example, I used two rolls or burgundy, and about half roll each of the gold and the glitter, thus making about 45 yards.

The process is very simple, as you are essentially just tying slip knots. I find that adding the first line of tule is the hardest because you don’t have much to weigh your ribbon down with, but once you get going it goes pretty fast.

First, you are going to want to cut your tule to the desired length. I chose to have this skirt be 10 inches long from the waste down, so, each piece of tule would actually be 20 inches long, because of how we tie it. The easiest way to do this is find a piece of cardboard that is your desired length (so 10 inches), and wrap your tule around the cardboard-

My piece of cardboard was actually just a folder- worked just fine!

After you have your tule wrapped around your cardboard, you are going to make just one cut, like this-

I like this method of only having to make one cut for a single roll of tule- it beats measuring out every single piece! After you make your cut, remove the tule from the cardboard and you should have a pile similar to this-

Kind of looks like a scarf, right? So now this is where all of the measurements will hopefully start to make sense. If I took one of those cut pieces of tule and laid it out completely flat, it should measure 20 inches. But, folded in half would be the length of my skirt, or 10 inches.

How I start is to lay the ribbon out flat and mark with clothespins the center 20 inches (or whatever your waist size may be)- remember that I left 20 inches on each side so that I could have a nice big bow. You wouldn’t want to start making the tutu at the end of the ribbon because then you wouldn’t be able to tie it. You can see in the picture about my two clothespins and the first few rows of tule.

You will now just make a really long row of slip knots with whatever your chosen colors are. You could do a single color, a pattern of two or three colors, or even an entire rainbow. Its whatever you want really!

Here is the best way to describe the slip knot-

Take a single piece of tule and fold it in half. Slide it underneath your ribbon. Then, pull the the free “tails” around the ribbon and through the loop. Pull tight to secure.

Now you would just continue to do this until your skirt is complete. You can put them as close together or as far apart as you want, it really just depends how full you want your skirt to be. When you are all finished, it should look something like this-

At this point I added a few smal strands of ribbon in the same way I did the tule. I also added the dreaded glitter tule at this point. At last,  this is what the completed skirt looks like-

11 thoughts on “DIY Tutu

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  3. Did the tutus stay on securely, with using the ribbon instead of elastic? I’m thinking of making these for my flower girls :)

  4. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions… I’m excited to get started. Wish me luck! Great family photo by the way! :-)

  5. Thank you so much! I am trying to learn so I can make one for my daughter’s 1st birthday. We are MAJOR Redskins fans too!!! I may end up making one for her to wear watching football with Daddy! :-)

  6. I happened upon this thru PInterest. I was wanting to make one for me for my fist 5k that I am running in a week. Your directions are WONDERFUL and easy to understand. I cannot wait to get started. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you! Some might say I’m over detailed in explaining stuff, but I think of it as trying to get all the details that otherwise get forgotten and can make projects frustrating!

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