Monday, October 11, 2010

Easy Tutu Tutorial

This week, I am making tutu's for Halloween. The first is a Lady Bug tutu for my 3 year old niece to wear, and the second is a lime green Tinkerbell tutu dress for my 8 year old, Gillian. There are lots of costume ideas at the bottom of this post for using Tutu's for Halloween.

In addition, these make great birthday & holiday gifts for girls who love dressing up and just having fun.

These are only the 2nd & 3rd Tutu's I've made, and I just finished the Lady Bug one this morning. The first one I made was for my oldest daughter to wear to school on Spirit day. For that one, I took elastic, sewed it to the right size, then looped the tulle over it.

I found, though, that the stretchy, crochet style headbands work great as waistbands, and make it so that your tulle is evenly spaced.

Easy Tutu - You'll Need:

1 Pre-made Crochet Headband (You can find them online for as little as $.50 each, or at places like Hobby Lobby for $.99 each, or by the yard in the fabric department).  This will stretch to fit anywhere from about 12 months to around a size 8 in girls.

1-3 rolls of 25 yard, 6" tulle- the more you use, the fluffier and more full the tutu is. It took me 25 yards to make a knee length tutu for a 3 year old. It's not as full as I would like, but it isn't bad.


A hard cover book to stretch the headband over. It should stretch it, without it being stretched to it's limits- it should be able to move easily.

Total Cost Estimate: The cost will depend on the length, amount of tulle used, and the cost of the supplies you purchase. I was able to make my niece's Lady Bug tutu for just over $2.00. If I had had more red on hand, I would have made it more full, though.

Time Spent: It took me maybe 45 minutes to cut and put together the lady bug tutu. The longer the tulle, the longer it takes, because you spend more time keeping the tulle already added out of the way.

  1. First, you want to decide on the length of the tutu. I find it's easiest to hold the tulle up to the child, from either the waist or the chest, and measure down from there. You'll need to fold it in half before cutting it, to double the length. Cut your tulle to that length until you have a good stash. For dresses, or anything longer than about 8-10" in length, you will require at least two rolls of tulle. The longer the tulle, the more you will need.
  2. Stretch your head band over the book and adjust it so it's stretched evenly.
  3. Fold a length of tulle in half, and pinch the folded side. From there, push it through one of the holes from behind so the loop is poking out the top, visible side of the headband. Using your fingers, spread the loop open so there is a hole. Take the ends of the tulle length, and push them through the loop. Once they are through, carefully tug the length until it 'ties' into a tight knot on the headband. Smooth it down, and move on to the next loop. Continue until you have filled that row of holes.
  4. Once it's filled out, lay it on a flat surface so that it forms a circle with all the tulle spread out nice and straight. You will want to give it a 'hair cut' to even the strands out, and this is the easiest way to do that.
  5. Add a bow to the front if you would like!


  • When looping the tulle through the checkerboard style holes on the headband, I opted to use the second row of holes from the edge, not the first row. The tulle cinches tightly, and I thought this gave it a bit more material to grab onto.
  • For a more full tutu, fill every hole on two rows. You can use the same hole for two different ties on different layers. 
  • Cut the top later just a bit shorter than the layer under it, so it stands outward more.
  • Experiment with looping ribbon lengths through the holes as well, or strands of sequins.
  • To make your tutu frugally, order your tulle, or buy it on sale. I have never worked with full width tulle bought by the yard from a bolt, but it typically is cheaper than the rolls. It goes on sale for $.77/yard from Hobby Lobby from time to time. You'll want to cut it into strips to use it.
  • Use small dabs of hot glue to affix gems to the tulle for sparkle. Make sure it's pressed firmly to just the strand you want it on, and lift it away from the tutu while it dries. The glue will stick to everything if it's still warm.
  • To keep your tutu fluffy, when storing it, hang it inside out. The tulle will settle as it hangs, and when you flip it back over, it will fluff right back up.
I found my Tulle online at Gifts International. The cost is $1.25 for a 25 yard roll of 6" wide tulle. At Hobby Lobby, it runs $2.99 for a 6", 25 yard roll, so the savings a pretty good. They also have rolls of 3", 12", and 18" tulle, and have 34 colors in stock.

They also have shimmer tulle, which has just a bit of a glimmer to it- it is NOT glitter tulle. The Shimmer tulle is $1.50 for a 6" 25 yard roll. At hobby lobby, this type of tulle is $4.99 a roll. There are fewer color choices in Shimmer, but they do still have 14 colors available.


If you need plain white, and don't want to wait to order, or pay shipping, Dollar Tree does carry white & ivory. They are only 8 yard rolls, though, so they are still more expensive than getting it from anywhere else, including Hobby Lobby. It would cost $3 to get 24 yards, as opposed to $2.99 for 25 yards at HobLob.

Costume ideas for Tutu's at Halloween-

Tinkerbell- Lime Green (or Citrus Green) and Kelly Green

Witch- Black, or Black with Purple, Citrus Green, Orange, and Shocking Pink

Lady Bug- Red with black puff ball spots

Rock Star- Any bright colors mixed with black, and worn with leggings, a cute shirt, and a jean jacket

Princess- Pink, Purple, White, or a Mix- you can make a dress out of it, or a skirt.

Bumble Bee- Yellow & Black- create vivid stripes by doing 2-3 of black, followed by 2-3 of yellow. Alternating every other one will create a less vivid striped pattern.

Zebra- White & Black striped the same as the Bumble Bee.

Tiger- Orange & Black striped the same as the bumble bee.

Pirate Princess - Red & Black striped the same as the bumble bee- add a striped shirt, striped tights, and a bandana.

Pumpkin- Orange & Green- make a dress, and use the green to create a short, spikey fringe of tulle for the top layer. Use felt to add a mouth, nose, and eyes to the middle of the dress.

Peacock- Aqua, Green, and Royal Blue Tulle- add a pair of wings, and embellish with peacock feathers.

Ballerina- Pink Tulle, paired with a leotard, decorated with gems. Add ballet flats for shoes.

Angel- White Tulle paired with a white leotard. You can add white marabou trim to the tutu and wings to make them more Angel like.

Flower Fairy- Bright Colors of Tulle with a green or brown leotard or shirt under. Add fake flowers for embellishment, and a wand & wings


Anonymous said...

I love this! I am going to have to make it now! Thanx for sharing!

Expressions by Heather said...

You're welcome, Alayna! And good luck :)

Johnna said...

I love this tutorial! Thanks so much!

EllensCreativePassage said...

Great idea to use a headband for the waistband! Looks beautiful!

Rebecca said...

I really like the idea of using a headband! I was just getting ready to make a tutu for my daughter and was planing to just use elastic but I may make a Hobby Lobby run now to get a headband. It makes it look so cute!

Anonymous said...

What can I use as the waist band for a big girl...say 25 years old;)

Expressions by Heather said...

You can use regular elastic (I would go 1" thick, then just wrap it around your waist to get a fit that is snug, but not too tight), or you can actually now purchase the mesh material used on the headbands by the yard or by the spool at Hobby Lobby. :)

Unknown said...

THANK YOU! I just made my daughter's tutu for her halloween costume (batgirl). This is the fulliest and prettiest tutu i have made.

THANK YOU!!!!!! I can't say it enough!!

Unknown said...

THANK YOU!! I made my daughter's batgirl halloween costume using this method. BEST TUTU EVER! It turned out so full and I didn't have to use as much tulle as I have in the past.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

FS said...

I love it. I made the ladybug thanks to you. My daughter will be beautiful in the school play.

Anonymous said...

What size headbands did you use? 1.5 or 3"?

Anonymous said...

I made something similar to this for my daughters Halloween costume. But when I finished, the tulle would stick together causing tangles and clumps. Any solutions for that?

Unknown said...

Gifts International has the 6" 25yd rolls for .88 cents RIGHT NOW OMG!!!!

Wholesale Tulle said...

Thanks for the Great Tutorial. Its quick and easy. Tutu looks really great.

Blessed Mommy said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I made two tutus today for a friend's wedding. Great blog!

Mommyof1 said...

I want to make a tigger tutu for my daughters first bday party. The main two colors will be orange and black. But I want a splash of hot pink as an accent. How should i do this?

Unknown said...

I use 2 headbands cut them in half then sew the 2 headbands together. Do it just like she said in instructions. I have made several for myself and friends.

Calvin | Tulle Fabric said...

Thanks for the tutorial, its really easy! Thanks for the post with easy guide!