Introduction: TuTu Crazy

a generic tulle skirt? pffftttt!
Fairy wood imp frippery? NOT for YOU!
oooh NO!
you seek the most groovalicious of ALL tutus.
One that shows the universe your ultimate love for firefighters, farm houses and pink pirates.
A tutu that's all about YOU!
Because what else is there, but YOU in a tutu?

here's an easy peasy method* to construct a custom theme tutu suitable for your over the top fashion moments.

HOOORAY!

make one for yourself, your better half, your mom.
heck make it a family affair and do one for your dog.
(that'ill really make me smile!)

this ible shows the creation of a tutu where I am rippin' up crazy fabrics, sewing with black light reactive ribbons and threads while rockin' out to Radio Sing-Sing.

make one or ten and then please please post picsof your tutu prance.

  • I work with fabrics everyday so I have lots of tools that the home sewer may not have. I actually used four different machines to construct this tutu. DON'T DESPAIR! Use your tools, fabrics and trims to the best of your ability. Remember the important aspect is the design...not the method.
Make it fun. Make it inventive. Make it yours.
By all means please remember it's just a tutu.
It's supposed to make you, and everyone around you, smile!

Enjoy!

Step 1: Deconstruct the TuTu

A tutu is a formal piece of attire for ballerinas. There are very precise rules on how to make one.
Google it, 'cause that's NOT what we are making.

We are actually making a very short crinoline or pouffy petticoat- but the name is not as groovalicious as a 'tutu'.
Seriously, who wants to wear a crinoline these days? You did click the crin link, yes? Pfft not wearin that!
Much more groovy to think about Desmond anyway.

Now that you know the rules.....lets break them and deconstruct the tutu.

As an example I am using my favorite BRC '08 tutu.

The parts:
Waistband
Tiers
Finishing

its all in the pics.

Step 2: Select Your Fabrics With Care

Whats your theme, school mascot, color or spirit animal?
Alexander Henry fabrics are a great source.
Or design your own with Spoonflower!
Let this choice guide the rest of your fabric selection.

When picking your main fabric look for prints that have a horizontal repetition from selvedge to selvedge, this will become the main 'ribbon' thru the tutu. Just like the image of the pink pirates.

All other fabric choices are derived from this theme fabric.

Select about 3- 5 colors/materials.

For todays' tutu:
waistband 4"x 60" (the width of the fabric) rip 1
Tier 1 - 3.5" x 60" rip 2
Tier 2 - 4" x 60" rip 4
Tier 3 - 3.5" x 45" rip 6
Tier 4 - 3" x 60" rip 8

(if you look at the Step 1 photo notes you'll see the measures for the Pink Pirate)

rip? - whats that about you ask.....
patience.....

Choose materials that are stiff - organzas, dupionis, tafatta.
these will help add volume to your tutu.
Frills Frills Frills!

Once you have selected your fabrics then make sure the edges are straight.
About 2" from the cut edge cut into your fabric (perpendicular to the selvedge) and carefully rip it to the other selvedge side.

Things to look for:
1. Is the fabric ripping straight? Some less expensive fabrics are woven 'funny' so that the tear will not follow the grain. If you insist on using this fabric you will have to cut it. gasp.

2. Is the fabric ripping straight, but the cut edge is crooked? This is fine, just get your fabric to the point where you can rip from one selvedge to the other. It just shows that whomever cut the fabric was cockeyed with their cutting tool.

3. Patterns like the pirate tutu - NEVER RIP! You have to cut the fabric as the print rarely follows the fabric grain.

<sigh> yes, I am lazy and rip all my fabrics especially the silks.

Step 3: Waistband

At the selvedge end measure double the width for your waistband.
Cut into your fabric about 3" perpendicular to the selvedge edge.
Then RIPPPPPPP your fabric.*
Check the selvedge ends for equal measure.
Fold it in half, with wrong sides together, and press.

*you read Step 2 yes?

Step 4: Tier 1 - PINK!

Did ya read Step 2?

I used 60" wide nylon fabric from the recreational section of my local fabric store.
Each strip is 3.5" wide and 60" long.
Cut 2

With right sides together sew the strips together to form a PINK! 'ribbon'.


Step 5: Tier 2 - Green Murkiness

I used 60" wide synthetic tafatta fabric from the bridal section of my local fabric store.
Each strip is 4" wide and 60" long.
Cut 3

With right sides together sew the strips together to form a 'ribbon'.

Step 6: Tier 3 - Pornj*

I used 45" wide cotton fabric from the quilting section of my local fabric store.
Each strip is 3.5" wide and 45" long.
Cut 4

With right sides together sew the strips together to form a pornj ribbon.

Step 7: Tier 4 - More Green Murkiness

I used 60" wide synthetic tafatta fabric from the bridal section of my local fabric store.
Each strip is 3" wide and 60" long.
Cut 8

With right sides together sew ALL the strips together to form a 'ribbon'.
Be sure to keep all the right sides together!
Moebius maybe goshdarn cute in a tutu, but a mobius strip in the sewing room is not.

Speed it up!
Make it Easy!
ProTips are in the photos.......

Step 8: Check It Out.....

Look at all your tiers, pattern choices and colors.

Is this what you desire?

I said NOOOOO!
Dull.
Boring.
Not groovy.
Not happy at all.

Step 9: Embellish!

If I had chosen fabrics with more zing I could skip this step.
But.
I didn't.
Consider it a bonus round....but then again I am known to make my own fabrics*.

Embellishment is all about personal choice.
What supports your design theme?
What random supplies happen to be on the ready?
How can I help this bland fabric sparkle?

Try to embellish before you gather as shown in the next step, it sooooo much easier.
But, sometimes ya have to pinch hit.

Step 10: Mark and Gather

Divide each tier in 4 equal sections.
I place a pin on the bottom edge of each tier at the quarter points.
This will help keep the gathers evenly balances as the tiers are connected.

Gather the top edge of each tier.
I use a differential feed on my serger.
You might use a basting stitch, zig-zag over a string or perhaps just push-feed-gather as you sew.
What ever works.
Just get'r done!

Gather the top edge of every Tier.

Step 11: Check It Out!

Look at the tiers and decided if this is the look you seek.

Yes, my eyes hurt so I know I'm on the path to G3*.

  • glowy groovalicious goodness

Step 12: Start at the Bottom of the Tutu

Now that the tiers are gathered and marked in quarters we are all ready to go go-go!
Lets start at the bottom and work our way up up up!
Submit to the lowest level.
It's easier this way.

Actually, go a tad lower.....
The hem.
I use a serger to bind the raw edge with neon orange thread.
You might use pinking shears, zig-zag, trim or leave it raw?
What ever you wish.

Its sooooo exciting!!!

Step 13: Sew Teir 4 to Tier 3

Working it up the tutu.

Pin bottom of Tier 3 to the gathered top of Tier 4 with right sides together matching quarter points and sew!
Sew with the gathered side facing up. This allows you more control over the gathers.

Oh no!
Whats Happened!
Ack!

Its okay,
just
cut
it.

What to do with the excess?
Go see Michelle!

Step 14: Sew Tier 3 to Tier 2

Pin bottom of Tier 2 to the gathered top of Tier 3 with right sides together matching quarter points and sew!
Sew with the gathered side up for the most control.

Scheeze not again?
Okay, cut it.

Step 15: Sew Tier 2 to Tier 1

Pin bottom of Tier 1 to the gathered top of Tier 2 with right sides together matching quarter points and sew!
Sew with the gathered side up for the most control.

Knock it off already, just cut it.

Step 16: Sew Tier 1 to Waistband

Pin folded bottom of the waistband to gathered top of Tier 1 with right sides together matching quarter points and sew!

Let's get it right this time okay?
After all that practice you should be a pro!

Pretty Pretty Pretty says the Great Tyrant.

Step 17: Its Time for Mr. Stretchy!

The easiest method to put elastic in a waistband ever ever!
I am so excited to share it with you!

Measure the elastic to fit your waist snug yet comfortable.
Mark it with a pen.
Slip the elastic into the open side of the waistband.
Pin and sew at one end. Make sure its secure.
Using a zipper foot and straight stitch sew the waist band shut.
Finish the raw edge of the waistband.
Pull the elastic thru till you see your marking.
Pin the elastic.
Cut!

Step 18: Sew Side Seam

Match the tiers and sew the side seam.

the anticipation is killing me.........

Step 19: Strip Down! Put It On! Prance Around!

and the world will prance with you!
yeeeeah!
Send photos!

oh no...now you need special panties!!!!
check out Clare Bare's tut on Threadbangers.

Comments

author
janamorrisova (author)2009-06-03

So I have just finished my crazy tutu and it is GREAT! Can't stop dancing in it around the house. Here it is:

IMG_4602.JPGIMG_4607.JPG
author
frenzy (author)janamorrisova2010-06-16


I have great news!

This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

Thanks for using instructables!

https://www.instructables.com/community/June-is-I-Made-It-Challenge-Month-Win-a-Pro-Mem/

author

FABULOUS!!!!

I love it!!!!!
Keep on dancing.

author
Simone latex (author)2016-04-18

What are qualifications for adult costumes on the istructables site

author
PuzzleJenn (author)2014-04-21

I'm laughing SO hard. I saw the opening pictures, and all I could think of was "I would LOVE to make one of these for Burning Man."

Then I keep reading and get to "BRC 08" and now I can't stop laughing.

Great minds think alike. ;)

See you on the playa!

author
thesidra24 (author)2013-02-10

nice tut ..will try it ..
i wonder if you could make tutorial on any or all of these:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NPgV0gF2iYs/TzDSVnx4viI/AAAAAAAAADA/Ow_p4UJAaK8/s1600/Topshop%20Lace%20Tutu%20Ballerina%20Dress%20by%20Rare%20Opulance%20in%20Coral.jpg

http://www.happybirthdayboutique.com/images/Hot-Pink-Polka-Dot-Birthday-Mouse-Tutu-Outfit1.1.jpg

author
HeavenBlueRose (author)2012-11-17

How cool! I love the blue one you did :3

author
Kerushii (author)2012-03-17

so i am going to try this for a cosplay costume for a up coming anime convention and im hoping i dont screw up :[

author
Lynne Bruning (author)Kerushii2012-03-17

sweet!!!
You are going to be beyond compare.
Do send pics!

author
reganbella (author)2012-03-04

I have one question. Why don't we just call it a four?

author
canapop (author)2009-11-06

I was just wondering how you would change the measurements if it was for some one plus sized say size 16 or more. Just times it by 2 or otherwise?...
hope to hear back soon

author
Lynne Bruning (author)canapop2010-04-26

I'm sorry I havn't been here in a long time!
I don't make with an exact pattern I just do as I go.

What I would suggest is make the waist band without gathers so you can slide it up to your waist. So - your hip measurement plus 8 inches.

Then start at hem and work up.  For a starting point - my tutu's generally have a hem of 450" +.

I hope this helps!

author
roneisaqt (author)Lynne Bruning2010-10-28

I'm plus size as well, and i just found this. thanks for replying even though its been a while. :) thanks!!!!

author
haptotrope (author)roneisaqt2011-02-06

It would probably need double what you've got here. for a size 16 or and more on up into the 22-24 range. Its A LOT of fabric, and twice+ as much sewing, but noting is sadder than a tutu without enough 'tu' -- if you get my drift. (but it would make a sassy bustle! :-)
I would also add a 1/2" to each strip width(or another strip), since there is more hip and butt to get over...or just love the immodesty factor and roll with it.

Personally, for a Plus size, I'd get the fabric to the full length of 1000+ inches and carefully iron/press/stack and cut through it with a sharp rotary cutter. Ripping is good, but that's a long way to go for fabric that is probably not "on grain" (the tolerance for high end drapery is 1") and really could go "anywhere" (widening, shifting, even right off into the salvage) from your initial strip measurement.

I'm also a fan of fabric that has some structure to it -- if you look at it in the store, and its all flacid... then pick something else. This may help something with this much more fabric feel more like a tutu and not a crazy-awesome gored skirt (tho a good crinoline could push it over the edge too!)

Anyway, Awesome job! Lynne! -- any chance you've got a "cheatsheet" for the measurement estimates? (tier1=333 tier2=444, etc?)

author
thepelton (author)2010-06-15

If you cut a tutu in half, would you have a oneone, or a tu? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) 8>)

author
Lynne Bruning (author)thepelton2010-06-16

You got a TuTu patch for that! Thanks!

Instructables Patch.jpg
author
angel138 (author)Lynne Bruning2011-01-25

^^^ omg! absolutely love ur skirt and boots ^_^

author
Lynne Bruning (author)thepelton2010-06-16

lol!

author
alisonb (author)2010-06-17

Jealousy is such an ugly emotion - but I am soooo jealous of this stash!!

author
Lynne Bruning (author)alisonb2010-06-18

lol

author
0jack (author)2009-09-01

Fantastic tu-tu-tutorial! I've been making this kind of skirt (without benefit of serger) for my daughter for years, only not as wonderfully wild as yours. I always used inexpensive-but-cute poly-cotton prints. Less thrilling, but my offspring lacks the face-piercing/head-shaving/Doc-wearing gene that I have. I'm a ripper, too. I love doing it. VRRRRRip! To gather by hand, I recommend making more marks, like 8ths or 16ths or as many as you need to not lose your mind. Same number on each piece, top AND bottom of every tier. Place your gathering basting on the top of each tier, 2 rows at least machine-basted or hand-basted stitches, or I have a friend who zigzags over kitchen string and pulls that way. Start with the bottom two tiers in your lap (I always press and hem the lowest tier first, and I usually sew the side seams as well, because it goes better for me with the hand-gathering). Pin the marks together all around. Get each section of the two tiers to 'fit' by gathering the lower tier until it lies nicely against the upper, pinning as you get it all sorted. I usually pin every inch, starting with a pin in the middle of the section and then distributing pins around as I futz with the fabric. Then I make sure it looks nicely even. And then I give up and sew and hope for the best. It gets easier as you go, as each tier is smaller. :) If you avoid children and pets during this process (and partners who insist on acting like one or the other), you will have no troubles. But, now I have a serger. JUST now. And taffeta. And hot pink netting. I will have to indulge... and then talk my girlfriend into wearing it.

author
Lynne Bruning (author)0jack2010-04-26

HOT PINK NETTING improves everything!

Your notes on dividing tiers so as to keep your gathering even is a needed addition to the tutuorial.  Thank you.

I hope your girlfriend flounced and bounced your latest creation!  So much fun to be had rockin the tutu!

If you have a chance please post a pic.




author
peekaburora (author)2009-09-11

wow! I love this! I just started teaching myself to sew and I wanted to make a halloween costume (tis the season and all). so when I found this it was amazing! I've always had a slight obsession with tutus so I decided it would be the first thing I made (other than an apron which was badly needed and good learning basis). I'm very excited to see how this will turn out. I started my waistband but I have to go fabric shopping again before I can really crack down on it. oh btw I love your comments. your sense of humor and energy is so contagious!

author

Thanks!
Again sorry for the unseasonably delayed response.
I hope you are all tutulicious!

author
jet h (author)2009-07-29

Hi, I love this, so great! I will make one! thank you for the diy! greetings jet

author
Lynne Bruning (author)jet h2009-07-29

Do not postpone your joy,
Make it asap!
and you could end up like this flying tutu!

author
jet h (author)Lynne Bruning2009-07-30

waoooow thats cool the flying one! I must first staying in the hospital for a few weeks, but then i will make it and i send i can a picture. Great job! greetings and have a nice summer jet

author
KreaKatri (author)2009-04-15

This looks really great! How time-consuming is it for, say, a moderat sewer, but not great?

author
Lynne Bruning (author)KreaKatri2009-06-09

Did you make one? Do you have pics? janamorrisova's is so inspiring! that you'll want one too!

author
KreaKatri (author)Lynne Bruning2009-06-10

No, didn't make one yet, I haven't found the perfect not-pricey-but-gorgeous fabric yet :) So it might take a while before it's done, but when it is I'll be sure to post some pictures.

author
Lynne Bruning (author)KreaKatri2009-04-15

Time will depend upon how fluffy you want the tutu.<br/>Some of my tutus have a 850" hem and it takes a long time to finish.<br/>Some tutus are 300" hem, these take an afternoon.<br/><br/>How many tiers also effects the time allotment.<br/><br/>having fabrics that will rip from selvege to selvedge save LOTS of time as no cutting is involved.<br/><br/>Quick and easy would be 3 to 4 tiers with a 300" hem = an afternoon of fun craftiness!<br/><br/>enjoy enjoy!<br/>

author
RachaelLaRae212 (author)2009-04-28

How would I gather the tiers without a serger? I absolutely LOVE the tutu! I wanna make me one for the Ren Faire! I have soo many ideas!

author

For ease...I would use a zig zag stitch to keep the fabric from fraying. Have a blast at RenFaire! And please post a pic - janamorrisova's is so inspiring I would love to see what you create!!

author
MimsieSky (author)2009-05-28

Hi Lynne! I'm about to embark on making one of these babies...I have a question before I start though... do you make more than one layer? or do you just make a REALLY LONG strip and it gets frilly with gathering? Have you tried it with more than one layer?

author
Lynne Bruning (author)MimsieSky2009-06-09

Your right in that it could be doubled. But I make a really long strip and gather as I sew to the upper tier. I encourage you to just make it! Just look at how adorable janamorrisova's is!!!

author
Lynne Bruning (author)2009-02-05

Thanks Meg. I'm simply saying you don't need 'special' tools to make a tutu, but you do want a creative mind. Please let me know if you find them on sale, I could use a spare.

author
uguy (author)2009-02-05

This is just TuTu fine. Excellent job!

author
canida (author)2009-02-05

Wow, I think my eyeballs just exploded!
MUST make one of these!

author
Lynne Bruning (author)canida2009-02-05

Yes, step out of the kitchen and rip it up girl! I'll be lookin' for you on the playa - based on your i'bles I'll be wanting dinner too!

author
baseball_babe (author)2009-02-05

NICE i would totally wear that if i could find a shirt to match lol

author

There a link just for YOU on Step 13.

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