Little girls as young as 2 years old are not too young to enjoy wearing a homemade tutu and pretending to be a ballerina. Making a simple no-sew tutu for a little ballerina out of tulle and elastic is a quick project that can be finished in less than an hour. There is only one small step that involves taking a few stitches, and the rest of the project involves simple tying. The tutu you create will delight your dancer and amaze you.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Rotary cutter
- Cutting mat
- Straight-edge ruler
- 1/2-inch-wide elastic
- For toddler sizes: 6 yards of tulle (bicolour tutu: 3 yards of two colours)
- For preschool sizes and up: 8 yards of tulle (bicolour tutu: 4 yards of two colours)
- Varying lengths of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon (optional)
Measure around the biggest point of the child's waist and subtract 2 inches from this measurement. Cut the elastic this length. This will be the waistband of the tutu.
Cut all of the tulle into 20-inch by 6-inch sections. This will make the tulle easier to work with. Smooth one piece of tulle at a time onto the cutting mat and use the straightedge ruler and the rotary cutter to cut the tulle into smaller sections measuring 4 to 6 inches each. Cutting the tulle into 6-inch sections will take longer, but this will produce a fuller tutu. Cut each smaller section of tulle in half width-wise to make them shorter.
Begin to construct the tutu. If you are making a bicolour tutu, layer three strips of tulle in alternating colours (if you're doing a single colour, just layer three strips). Fold the group in half, making a loop. Place this folded group of strips in front of the elastic with the loop at the top just slightly higher than the elastic. Grab the ends of the strips, wrapping around the elastic and take the ends through the original loop. This creates a knot around the elastic. Tighten this knot, but do not tighten so much that it becomes impossible to move or adjust the position of the knot along the elastic.
Make another group of three strips of tulle, but this time alternate the colours in the order opposite of the last group if you are making a bicolour tutu. Continue alternating back and forth with colours for each group of strips. For a single-colour tutu, just continue to make more three-strip groups.
Sew the two ends of elastic together either by hand or machine once the elastic is full of tied groups of strips. Conceal the sewn ends by adjusting one or two tied strips over the ends. If adding ribbon embellishments, tie them on in the same way as the strips of tulle. Position these ribbon knots evenly around the elastic.
Tips and warnings
- To finish the tutu, there are two options:
- The first option is a ballerina look. For this option, trim all the groups of tulle to an even measurement. For a toddler tutu, trim to 8 inches and for a larger tutu, cut to a slightly longer measurement.
- The second option is a "fairy look." For this option, simply fluff the groups of tulle out and allow them to look messy.