TuTu Crazy




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.


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!


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:

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.....

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!
Not groovy.
Not happy at all.

Step 9: Embellish!

If I had chosen fabrics with more zing I could skip this step.
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!

Its okay,

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.

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!
Send photos!

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

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    12 years ago on Introduction

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

    Simone latex
    Simone latex

    5 years ago

    What are qualifications for adult costumes on the istructables site


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    8 years ago on Introduction

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




    9 years ago on Introduction

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


    11 years ago on Step 19

    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

    Lynne Bruning
    Lynne Bruning

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 19

    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?)


    11 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


    11 years ago on Step 9

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