Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to Make an Easy Tutu without Sewing Part 1

A good friend of mine is getting married next month, and we decided to throw her a bachellorette party.  In celebration of her love and life, and with an excuse to single her out in a foofy fairy princess costume, I made her a tutu and matching veil.  Here's how I made the tutu.

Step 1: Buy a boatload of tulle and organza ribbon and fabric in a variety of blues, aquas, and white.   I got two cuts of fabric from the bolt: 1 yard and 1.5 yards of brighter blues to add color.  I also included 5/8" grosgrain ribbon for the waistband.  Grosgrain is stronger than other types of ribbon and will hold up better to repeated tying and untying. Lastly, I also bought a fabric covered hairband for the headpiece/veil.  I spent $29.90 on everything.  I went a little nuts. I could have bought about a third less to make this work, but I wanted the large combination of colors.
Step 2: Cut a piece of grosgrain long enough to fit around you waist (or lower) plus enough extra for a generous bow.  I used 8 feed 3 inches.
Step 3: Cut fabric into strips.  My fabric pieces were 1 yard and 1.5 yard cuts, but I never measured the bolt width.  To cut the fabric, I held up each large rectangle to determine which side was shorter, and cut them like I show in this Doceri drawing. 
My strips measured about 2.5 feet by 0.5 feet, but I didn't worry about them all being exactly the same size as I cut the fabric.  I used light blue organza and dark blue tulle.  I cut the strips a few at a time as I added them to the waistband, and I decided to save some for the headpiece and maybe other projects later.

Step 4: With strips in hand, I was ready to tie knots.  First, fold a strip in half to make a loop.  Slip the loop under the grosgrain waistband from the top side.  Always push the loop under from the top or the knot will be upside down.
Pull ends through loop.
I pulled tighter, but not too tight.
I decided to tighten later when I knew what I was doing, but I eventually learned that you could tighten the knots pretty tight at this point.  They will still slide easily along the grosgrain, which is mostly what I was worried about.

After tying a few knots, I decided that small tidy knots would be a good thing so as not to have too much puffiness around the waist.  So, I improved my technique for making smaller knots by twisting the organza a bit before folding it in half for the loop.  Just a few twists right where the knot will be makes for a smaller knot.  See how the left knot is smaller than the puffy one on the right.
 I added more than a dozen strips of organza around the grosgrain.  The "scarf" is my leftovers.
I learned that the puff was only a problem with the organza fabric.  The tulle didn't really require the extra twist to make small, tidy knots. In the photo below, you can see the darker tulle knot between the organza knots.  Notice the second layer is a bit shorter than the first.
Also notice how poorly the shirt matches the tutu.  Egads.  Click ahead for part 2: the exciting conclusion of "How to Make an Easy Tutu without Sewing."  Not only do I show you how cute the finished tutu and headpiece looked on the beautiful bachellorette, I will find a better shirt to go on the dress form.

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