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How-To: Make a TuTu

One of my best friends emailed with a request last week to see if I could make a baby tutu for her 7 month old. She had found a couple that she really liked but they all were over $50. She wanted one in a girly color and one in Virginia Tech colors for the baby girl to look good for Saturday football.

I said of course immediately and then did a lot of research on tutu making. There seems to be (at least according to the very reliable source of You Tube) many different methods of making a tutu. You can make a longer, flowier tutu or more of a classic poufy tutu. There were sew and non-sew versions but after hours of intense research I liked the results of this tutorial. I went and bought my tulle, messed up a couple of times and then took pics of the second time since I had figured it out.

Without further ado- the tutu tutorial (all for under $10)


Sewing machine
Ribbon (I used 2 inch)
Rotary Cutter (or scissors)


1) Cut the tulle into pieces. The bigger the pieces, the farther the tulle will stick out on the tutu. I cut the tulle into squares so I could quickly put it together without deciding which way was up. The pink tutu had 6 inch squares and the maroon and orange tutu used 5 inch squares.

If you can, find rolls of tulle in the color you want. They make cutting the tulle move a little more quickly. Usually you can find the rolls of tulle in the wedding sections of craft stores. With the roll of tulle just roll out a section and cut your squares like this-
If you want to make your tutu in non-pastel colors you will need to buy it by the yard and then cut it into strips. Here the fastest method I found for this- first cut it in long strips.
Then line up the cut strips and cut multiple squares (I did three at a time so I could use my short ruler)

After you are finished cutting you get this-

How much tulle do you need? I way overestimated and bought too much. I made the tutus about 20 inches long in order to fit Baby J's waist. The pink tutu used about 3/4 a roll of tulle. For the orange one I cut a yard and a half each of orange and of maroon but I had tons left over. I probably could have cut just a yard of each color.

2. Start knotting! You could use anything string like for this step. The thicker the string the less pouffy your end tutu will be. I decided to use thin elastic in order to give it a little bit of stretch for an active baby.

Take the elastic, fold it in half and tie a knot in the end.

Attach the elastic to something stable, like a chair leg, a table or a cabinet handle. I worked on the tutu while I was lounging in front of the TV on the couch, so I attached mine to the zipper of Derek's laptop bag.
Make the first part of a square knot with the elastic.

Stick a square of tulle in between the first knot and the loose first half of the square knot.
Pull the two pieces of elastic tight to capture the tulle. Have about 1/2-1/4 inch sticking up at the top. Then make the second half of the square knot and tighten it (basically the same thing over again but without sticking in another piece of tulle).
Continue this process adding more and more tulle. For this tutu I did two pieces of maroon and then two pieces of orange.

After you get going this is how it will start to look-

This is this the part I royally screwed up the first time. I obviously forgot all my knot knowledge that I learned as a girl scout and made the wrong type....which was incredibly frustrating because it took forever and it looked funny. So be smarter than I was and if you don't know how to make a square it and save yourself some heartache.

3. Start sewing! Pin the ribbon to the top of one side of the tutu.

Sew on the ribbon. I used a stretch stitch. When you are sewing be careful that pieces of tulle are not getting brought into the foot. This is what the "nice" side looked like-
And the unfinished side-
4. Fold the ribbon over and re-pin to cover all the tulle loose ends.
Sew another stretch stitch to secure the folded ribbon.

That's it! Now you have a classic pouffy tutu for under 10 bucks. I can't wait to see it on Baby J!

6 comments on "How-To: Make a TuTu"
  1. I appreciate how you painstakingly post each step in great detail (especially for someone like me who needs extra direction!). I loved your craft table idea and can't wait for my husband to make one for me too :)

  2. Excellent and useful article! Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  3. Thanks for the brilliant tutorial. I love this method, the tutu is super fluffy! My only question is how do you fasten it? Leave a length of ribbon on each end and tie it?

    1. Yep! It makes a really pretty bow and can be used as they grow.

  4. So glad to see a sewn tutu tutorial! I can do the no-sews, but so can everyone else! I can't wait to try it!

  5. I am still a little confused. Looks like you sewed over the elastic did this make it not stretch? Just curious as to how much stretch you got with this.