I found a picture of a tutu with this color combination and I loved it. So I decided to try my hand at making one for my friend's new baby. The final size of my tutu was 7.5 inches wide across the waist, and 6 inches in length from the belt to the end of the flaps.
This would probably work well for a doll or your pet, too.
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Step 1: Materials I Used
1 yard of checkered flag fabric
3 yards of hot pink tulle
3 yards of black tulle
16” of ¾ inch elastic
Scissors, iron, sewing machine, needle and thread
Decorative bow (optional)
Step 2: Cutting the Elastic; Cutting and Ironing the Belt to Hold It All Together
First, I used a newborn outfit to see how long to make the elastic belt, adding one inch for the overlap to sew the ends of the elastic together (I cut the elastic 16” long). Then I cut a piece of checkered material twice that length to be the waist of the tutu, plus a few inches. It also needs to be wide enough to cover the elastic with 3/8” on each side to fold over for a clean seam (I cut the checkered belt piece 35” by 2 5/8”).
I laid the belt on my ironing board with the wrong side facing up. I folded each of the long sides of the fabric over 3/8”, and ironed the fold (use the appropriate setting for your fabric type). Then I folded the entire belt in half lengthwise and ironed that fold. At this point, the right side of the fabric is out and visible.
Step 3: Cutting the Flaps That Will Hang Down From the Belt
For each flap, I cut a piece of material 12” by 3.5”. I laid the piece down so it was taller than it was wide, and with the wrong side facing up. I folded it down in half width-wise, then to the right in half length-wise.
Starting at the bottom left corner, I used pinking shears to cut along the red line shown in my picture. When it unfolds, it will be shaped like a long leaf. I cut the tulle with regular scissors, because you couldn’t see the cut pattern anyway.
I used “FrayCheck” on the edges of the fabric after cutting out the leaf, so they wouldn’t fray. Do not use it on the tulle, though, it doesn’t work very well.
The next step will show you how to determine how many flaps to cut. I cut and ironed one complete flap in order to determine how many to cut.
Step 4: Ironing the Flaps to Prepare Them for Insertion Into the Belt
When the “FrayCheck” was dry, I laid the leaf down so it was taller than it was wide, and with the wrong side facing up. I folded it to the right in half length-wise (with the right side out) and ironed the fold. Then I folded it down in half width-wise at an angle, so each end will lay at a slightly different angle. Then I ironed that fold.
To determine how many flaps I would need to cut, I finished the first piece and measured the width of the top fold (which was 2.5”). Each piece would overlap half of the next piece, so I took the width of the belt and divided it by the width of half of my flaps. In this case, I divided the 35” long belt by 1 ¼” (2.5 wide divided by 2). Rounding up, I determined I would need 30 flaps total. Since I was using 3 colors, I cut 10 flaps of each color. If I wanted a fuller tutu, I would overlap them by more than half, or I would make the length of the belt itself longer (but do not change the length of the elastic).
Use the appropriate ironing settings for your material. Iron the tulle at a very low setting, or it will melt. I also ironed half the flaps with the sheared edge to the right, and half with the sheared edge to the left, for some variety in my tutu.
Step 5: Sewing the Tutu
Leaving some room at each end of the belt, I inserted the folded end of each flap into the opening of the belt, overlapping them by half, and alternating the colors as well as the directions of the decorative edging (checkered with sheared edge to the right, pink tulle with cut edge to the right, black tulle with cut edge to the right, checkered with sheared edge to the left, pink with cut edge to the left, black with cut edge to the left…). I didn’t put them all the way to the fold of the belt, but I made sure they were far enough in that sewing the belt shut would secure every piece as well. I also pinned them into place. I also didn’t place the flaps all the way to each end of the belt, I left about an inch open on each end.
I sewed the belt closed (along with the flaps) with a 1/8” seam allowance from the open edge. I also didn’t sew all the way to each end, I left about an inch open on each end of the belt.
Step 6: Threading the Elastic Through the Belt
Lastly, I fed the elastic from one end of the belt through the other.
To help pull the elastic through, I used a set of small circular knitting needles to give me something solid to hold on to (knotting the elastic tightly on the center of the cord of the needles. I also knotted some string at the other end, just in case the end of the elastic disappeared into the belt, and I would need to pull the end back out. Untie both knots when you are done. Overlap the ends of the elastic by ½ inch, and sew them together using a needle and thread.
Spread the material of the belt evenly across the elastic and close the gap in the back of the tutu. Using needle and thread, sew the material at the ends of the belt together to complete the tutu.
Decorate as desired.