How to Make a Tutu Pageant Dress

Written by river lin
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How to Make a Tutu Pageant Dress
A pageant tutu dress should be longer than a typical tutu. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

To make a really dynamic, bold impression at your next pageant, try making your own tutu pageant dress. The tutu dress is typically short, but for a pageant, it can be longer, such as tea length or even floor length. Design your own using an elegant sequinned camisole for the body and two complementary colours of tulle for a two-layer tutu skirt. With your own homemade pageant dress, you can tailor the colours and decorations to be a true expression of your unique style, talent and characteristics. You can also add ribbons or various trims to accent the dress in your own way.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tulle -- 15 yards one colour; 15 yards another colour
  • Satin ribbon -- at least 2 yards
  • Camisole top
  • Dress zipper 12-22 inches long
  • Scissors
  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Straight sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Hand sewing needle

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  1. 1

    Measure from the waist to the length you want the pageant tutu to be. Traditionally, tutus are short skirts, but for a pageant dress, it can be any length you want.

  2. 2

    Cut the width of one colour of tulle to the measurement in step one.

  3. 3

    Cut the second colour of tulle 2 inches shorter. The shorter tulle will be the top layer of the tutu skirt and the longer one will be the under layer.

  4. 4

    Machine baste two rows of stitches close to one long edge on both strips of tulle. This will become the skirt waist line. You need to use a wide basting stitch in order to secure the fabric to make even gathers in the next step.

  5. 5

    Pull the bottom thread of the basting stitches on each piece to gather the tulle. Gather to the size of your waist. Make sure the gathers are evenly spread out. Pin the gathers in place.

  6. 6

    Fit the shorter tulle over the longer tulle, making sure the edges of the gathers are even and that the ends of both pieces match up evenly.

  7. 7

    Pin the two skirts together along the gathered lines. Machine stitch over your gathers approximately 1/2 an inch from the edge of the tulle.

  8. 8

    Pin the two ends together of all four layers and sew them together, beginning 4 inches down from the gathered waistline. Hand baste the top 4 inches of the skirt layers together.

  9. 9

    Try the camisole on and mark where your waistline is with a pin at each side and one the centre front and one at the center back.

  10. 10

    Pin the waistline of the skirt to the waistline of the camisole, right sides together. Match the centre front of the skirt with the pin in the front of the camisole. Make sure the back opening of the skirt meets at the center back pin on the camisole. Evenly space the skirt sides between the centre front and center back on each side on the camisole.

  11. 11

    Machine stitch the camisole and skirt together, follow along the stitch that secured the gathers at the skirt waistline from step 7.

  12. 12

    Pin your dress zipper to the top of the outside of the centre of the camisole back and on down to the skirt, including the top 4 inches of the skirt. Sew the zipper in place beginning at the top of the zipper and the camisole. Note that this zipper will be on the outside of your tutu pageant dress, not tucked inside like many dresses, following a current fashion trend. If you want the zipper on the inside, see the tips section below.

  13. 13

    Cut the back of the camisole along the back of the zipper.

  14. 14

    Remove the basting stitches at the top back of the tutu skirt.

  15. 15

    Fold the satin ribbon in half and place the centre of the ribbon over the front centre of the seam that connects the tutu skirt with the camisole. Pin in place. Continue pinning the satin ribbon in place all around the skirt. Hand sew the ribbon in place.

Tips and warnings

  • After you have completed the above steps, you can sew strips of ribbon or trims from the waistline and let them hang down over the skirt to add individual style.
  • If you want the zipper to be on the inside of the dress, buy a camisole that is one size larger. Cut the camisole down the center back before you place the zipper. To place the zipper, fold under the edges of the camisole and the back of the skirt opening and pin the folded edges onto the front of the zipper, close to the zipper teeth. Stitch close to the folds.

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