Celeste sometimes refuses to answer to her name, claiming she’s Angelina Ballerina (and can get quite angry if we don’t call her that). So it’s taken me a ridiculously long time to make our little ballerina her first tutu. It’s one of those projects I don’t know why I put off. They are so easy to sew and look so cute!
There are a million no-sew tutu tutorials around, but I LIKE sewing! I also think a sewn tutu will last longer (and can’t be pulled apart by little fingers as easily!).
The technique I describe below makes them fast to sew and you can cram a lot of fabric on to make them really full – I think I could have even gone further, but you’ve got to stop somewhere!
Now that I’ve started, I’m addicted. After making the pink one for Celeste, I made the red and yellow ones (in the first photo) for my two nieces. I’ve also got another tutu craft project to show you soon.
I find tulle (even the soft wedding tulle) a bit scratchy, so mine are made with crystal organza for the first one (pink), glitter organza for the red and fairy organza for the yellow. The glitter organza one is my favourite – it’s got a little bit more stiffness than the others, which makes it hold it’s shape more.
Let’s get on with the tutorial for How to Sew a Full Tutu Skirt:
2m (2.2 yards) Organza (150cm (59”) wide)
50cm (20”) piece of elastic (20-25mm (3/4”–1”) wide)
1. Cut the organza into 5 strips of 40cm (or 2 x the length you want the tutu), cutting from selvedge to selvedge.
2. Since organza frays, it’s necessary to hem the cut edges. I did a rolled hem on my serger (with matching or contrasting threads). Alternatively, you could serge the edges, do a rolled hem on a normal sewing machine, or fold and stitch a narrow hem on a sewing machine.
I also chain-stitched my strips of organza together as I hemmed. I wasn’t sure how sewing the strips of organza together would look, so I did this instead. It hold the pieces together. The tutus are so full, you won’t see the gaps between the strips.
3. Tie a large knot in one end of your elastic.
4. Fold the fabric in half over the elastic, leaving the knot poking out the end.
5. Sew the two layers of fabric together close to (but not through) the elastic. I used my zipper foot to get nice and close and help guide the fabric.
6. Stop about an inch before the end of the elastic, with your needle down.
7. With your needle down, reach between the layers of fabric and pull the elastic towards you, gathering the fabric you’ve just sewn behind the sewing machine.
8. Fold the fabric in half again and continue sewing along the elastic, stopping and pulling the elastic through as you go. When you come to the end of one strip, just chain-stitch the next strip on and keep going!
Then you’ll be able to see your tutu form right there on your sewing machine!
9. When you’ve reached the end of your fabric, remeasure and trim your elastic, if necessary (it may have stretched and not fully recovered from all that pulling). Sew the two ends of the elastic together.
10. Pull the fabric over the joined ends of the elastic. And there you have a gorgeous full tutu, perfect for any little ballerina.
This took me about an hour to make. I don’t think I could have made a “no sew” tutu as full in the same amount of time. And the three little girls I’ve made them for so far LOVE them!
If you make a tutu using this tutorial, please let me know. I love seeing your creations!