for girls · tutorials and guides

Adventures in Tutu Making (cont.) tutorials… free Tututorials!

I was going to name this post “Why Tutus Will Probably Never Be Sold Here or here, or “Why You Should Just Splurge and Buy Your Tutu here or “Why $12 Tutus from Target Are Awesome”, but I thought that it might be much more fun to watch you writhe and wriggle trying to make your own before you ultimately come to the above conclusions anyway.

The following tutorials will explain at great length why all of the above titles are very appropriate.  Since I first decided that my daughter M-U-S-T have a pettiskirt tutu 3 years ago, (this was conveniently, just before every department store in the world decided to sell them dirt cheap), I’ve read dozens of tutorial websites and narrowed the best FREE tutu tutorials down to the following 2.

Link #1… for math lovers…

The above link includes a tutorial that involves an insane amount of math.  In fact, before I waste any more of your time here are the first two steps…

1. Measure
Waist: ___________________
Length of desired skirt: ________________
All the bounce makes the finished skirt appear shorter; consider adding extra length.

2. Work out how much fabric you’ll need.

Divide length by three______________ ___ = (a)
This is the width of the yoke and tiers.  Are you adding extra seam allowance?  Add it now.
2 rectangles of satin, (a) wide and (waist + 4 inches) long.______________ ____
1st Tier
Strip of chiffon/tulle, (a) wide and (waist x 6) long.______________ _______
2nd Tier
Strip of chiffon/tulle, (a) wide and (waist x 18) long.______________ _______
Hem Ruffle
Strip of chiffon/tulle, 5 cms/2 inches wide and (waist x 36) long.  ___________________ __

Total amount of chiffon/tulle to buy

Answer: A LOT.

Chiffon or tulle will come in widths of anywhere from 91.5cm [36 inches] to 162cm [70 inches].  How much you need will depend on that width.
E.g.    I am making a SINGLE layer, little girl’s tulle pettiskirt for a 51cm [20inch] waist. 
Adding up the length of the tiers, I need a strip of tulle 12.5cm [5 inches] wide and 1219.2cm, or 12.20 metres [480 inches] long!  The ruffle is going to be 5cm [2 inches] wide and 1828.8cm – or, 18.29 metres [720 inches] long.  That’s INSANE!
The store has 132cm [52inch] wide tulle.  How much do I need to purchase?
132cm [52 inches] divided by the largest width I need – 12.5cm [5inches]
= 10.56 (or 10.4 if you’re using inches)
That means I’ll get 10 and a bit strips out of any length of that tulle.
Take the total length of tulle needed– the tiers and the ruffle.  For me, that’s 3048cm [1200 inches].  Divide that by the number of strips I’ll get out of the fabric – 10.56.  Answer?  288.63. Round it up.
I need to purchase 289cm [2.89m, 113 inches] of 132cm [52inch] wide tulle!
If I were making a DOUBLE layer pettiskirt I’d obviously double that.

Got all that?  Go you!
Now have a little lie down.  Treat yourself to a hot chocolate and a Tim Tam or six.

I’m not sure what a “Tim Tam” is, but after I did all of the math, I’m thinking that it must be equivalent to Valium.

Link #2… Mystery Sized Tutu from Martha Stewart…

The above link is fabulous and it includes a video tutorial (albeit short; just a small segment from the taping of the Martha Stewart Show).  There is no math involved.  Though that may seem to be a bonus, the length of the tutu is a mystery until the skirt is finished.  I was making mine for my 5 year old and thanked God, after all of that work, that I have a two year old as well because it ended up being pretty short.  The layers and layers of shirring leaves you constantly guessing on the final length.

A quick summary from someone who has made a handful of tutus:

Tutus aren’t that cheap to make.  The average cheap chiffon is around $2-3 a yard (plus shipping).  In general you will need about 6 yards of chiffon, 1/2 a yard of satin, a ton of thread, a couple of spools of elastic thread, and 1/2 yard elastic for the waist, etc…  You’re looking at an average cost of at least $20 a tutu for a 2 year old, $30 for a 4 year old, $40 for a 5 year old, and so on….

Tutus are an extreme pain in the butt to make.  You can buy the chiffon pre-cut and there is a reason why someone is actually making money selling it pre-cut… because it is a GIANT pain in the *ss.  However, pre-cut chiffon is about triple the cost of the equivalent uncut yardage.  There is A LOT of fabric to cut, piece together, shirr, and piece together again.  I found myself many a time, tangled in a long line of chiffon wishing that I wasn’t such a stubborn “Do-It-Yourself”er and just shell out the darn $65 for someone on Etsy to make it for me!  Like this Etsy store for example…

(I swear that I am in no way affiliated with the above Etsy store.  I just think that their products are not only adorable, but reasonably priced and feel comfortable recommending them!)


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