If your little girl loves ballet — and what little girl doesn’t — she’ll beg to wear this easy tutu skirt. Using rolls of 6-inch wide tulle, it’s made without sewing and only a little cutting. You can make it in her favorite color or a rainbow blend of two, three or more colors. Spend an evening cutting and tying tulle strips while your little ballerina dreams of waltzing sugarplum fairies, and by morning she’ll have a pretty tutu to wear as she dances and twirls away.
Measure and Gather Supplies
What you’ll need:
- Tape measure
- 1-inch wide satin ribbon, 2 yds
- 6-inch wide tulle, 2-6 rolls
To get a perfectly-fitting tutu, you’ll need to measure your ballerina. Take her waist measurement with a tape, then measure the distance from her waist to wherever you want the tutu to stop. It could be below the hip for a short, fluffy tutu, to the knee for playskirt-style tutu or to mid-calf for a flowing romantic tutu. Write these numbers down so you don’t forget them.
You will need at least 2 yards of one-inch wide satin ribbon for the waistband and 2 to 6 rolls of 6-inch wide tulle for the skirt fabric. The rolls are usually 25 yards long, but check to make sure. The exact amount you’ll need depends on the size of your child and the length you want for the finished skirt. If in doubt, get some extra rolls. Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of uses for leftover tulle.
Make the Right Cuts
Cut the tulle into strips. Here’s the easy way: Cut a piece of cardboard that’s a little wider than the tulle, and make its length equal to the distance you measured from waist to end of the skirt, plus a half-inch. Wind the tulle onto the cardboard so that the tulle goes down its length. You’ll need about 50 wraps for a toddler’s one-color skirt. When you have it all wrapped up, use a pair of scissors to cut the tulle along one narrow edge of the cardboard.
Make a waistband for the tutu from the ribbon. Cut a piece of ribbon equal to the waist measurement plus 17 inches on each end to make a bow on the finished skirt. For example, if your child’s waist measures 20 inches, you’ll need a piece of ribbon that is 54 inches long. Mark the 17-inch points from each end, using a marker, paper clip or whatever is handy. In this example, you should have 20 inches along the middle of the ribbon length, between the markers.
Fit to Be Tied
Tie the tulle strips onto the waist section of the ribbon, using a simple knot. Fold a strip in half so the two cut ends come together. Hold the middle of the strip and slip it under and slightly above the ribbon, then pull the cut ends of the strip through the fold. Pull the long tails of the tulle strip to tighten. Tie a second strip adjacent to the first, pushing the two close together. Continue tying strips in this way until the entire waist section is filled.
When you’ve covered the waistband section with tied tulle, try it on your child to make sure it has enough tulle for fullness. Add more tulle strips if you want. Then tie a knot in the waistband ribbon at each end of the tulle section to keep the tulle in place. Fluff and scrunch the tulle with your fingers so it gets fluffy and puffy. Wrap the waistband around your ballerina, over her leotard, and tie it in a bow. Then get your camera ready and let the ballet begin.
Toting the Tutu
When a little ballerina wants to travel with her tutu, she needs a way to carry it. We like this handy Ballet Tote Bag that’s great for toting her tutu and other necessities to dance class, sleep-over parties or dress-up playdates with her friends. You can personalize her bag with her name, and your little dancer will feel like a grown-up prima ballerina.
Now It’s Your Turn
We’d love to hear about your adventures with this project. Tell us in the comments how you mixed colors or fluffed the tulle, and if you tried any variations — such as using an elastic waistband or adding a flower decoration. If you have questions or tips, please share those too, so we can all learn from each other.