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How to Make a Tutu Dress

Rutuja Jathar
A tutu is used in ballet recitals. It is often worn with a pair of leotards and a skin fit top. Making one at home is very easy, provided you follow the instructions given here properly.
There are different kinds of tutu dresses that were made popular by various famous ballerinas. Some of these popular types include, bell tutu, cupcake tutu, romantic tutu, platter tutu and powder puff tutu, which is also known by several other names like Karinska tutu and Balanchine tutu.
If your little one is interested in taking ballet dancing lessons then you need to get this important dance costume for her. You can either purchase a cute one from a dance costume store, order it from online stores, or make one at home.

Making a Tutu Halter Dress

  • 25 yards of tulle for tutu top
  • 50 yards of tulle for skirt
  • Measuring tape
  • A pair of scissors
  • 2 inches of ribbon
  • 1 ½ inches elastic
  • You can bring 75 yards tulle of same color or choose different colors for making top and tutu skirt. Before cutting the tulle, you need the take measurements of the girl you are making the tutu for.
  • First of all, measure the length from underneath the armpits to where you want the tutu to end on the legs. Double this measurement and add 1 ½ inches in it and jot down the final figure on a paper.
  • Now, cut strips of tulle in the measured length. If you want the tutu to be full, then you can increase the number of strips.
  • Then, you need to take measurements for the top of the dress. For that, measure length from under the armpits to shoulders. Double the figure, add 2 inches to it and cut strips off the other roll of tulle.
  • If you want the top to be tight, then you need to reduce the number of strips. Then, take measurements for the chest and reduce 1 inch from it. Then, cut the elastic in the same length and hand stitch both the end together. This elastic band will hold both the top and bottom strips of tulle together.
  • Place a circular object and joined elastic band around it. This is tricky as you need to tie all the strips of tulle around the elastic in such a way that their knots come exactly in the center of the elastic band.
  • Make sure that you are not tying the strips tightly as it can change the original shape of the elastic band and make it uncomfortable to wear.
  • If you are using two colors, then you can alternate the stripe colors to get a different color pattern. Once you are done with tying all the strips, pull all the knots as close to one another as possible.
  • Turn all the shorter ends of the strips upwards and all the longer ends downwards. (upper and lower edges of the elastic). Take measurements for the neck of the halter top and cut the 2 inch ribbon in that length. 
  • Make a loop of the ribbon and join both its ends together with hand stitches. Sew the joined ends of the ribbon in the center of the band.

Making a Tutu Skirt

  • 6 yards of tulle
  • 1 inch wide elastic
  • A ruler
  • A stapler
  • A pair of scissors
  • Cut the tulle into 6 inches wide stripes using scissors. You can also use a rotary blade, if you know how to use it properly.
  • Measure the waist of the child by wrapping the elastic around it. Overlap one side of the elastic 1 inch on the other side, and then staple both the sides together. Staples should be running up and down and not sideways.
  • Now, tie each strip around the elastic band, at the length you want to maintain for the skirt. Repeat the same procedure with all the tulle strips.
  • Once all the tulle strips are tied snugly around elastic band, spread them evenly around it and your tulle skirt is ready.
If you want to learn how to sew a tutu dress, then you can always use a sewing machine to first join ends of the elastic and then the tulle strips to the elastic. Once you learn the basic techniques of making tutus, then you can try using stiff fabrics and make platter tutus and such other stiff types.
Now about choosing colors, if you are making a ballet costume for a stage performance, then stick to the basic light pink color. But, if you are making a tutu for costume parties and Halloween, experiment with a number of colors. The easiest way is to take a good patterned top, and attach the mentioned skirt to it, with help of a sewing machine.