So some of you might be considering making your own Halloween costumes for little girls and I wanted to post how easy it is to make your own little tutu. This is super cheap as well and these are cute for dress up, for birthdays, photo shoots and more.
You can do colors your little ones loves, or sports teams would be darling or make a red one for your next trip to Disney! Oh and you can always make a mini one for little American Girl dolls too!
My girls are going as an Angel and a Super Hero for Halloween this year and I decided to make little tutus for their costumes.
You only need a few things- tulle (approximately $2.00- $5.00) and either ribbon or elastic and that is pretty much it. My elastic was $.59 for a huge roll at the craft store so really you can probably make one of these for about $5.00. My tutus were finished in roughly 1 hour each- so turn on some trashy TV and you will be done before you know it.
So to get started, you want to measure your little lady and see how long you want the tutu. For my 4 year old we wanted a short one and I took a measuring tape and dragged it down to about her knee- it was 9 inches. For my big girl, we wanted a tea length tutu for her angel costume and the length was 20 inches. So you want to double whatever your measurement is and then add 1 inch.
(In my case, it was 41 inches and 19 inches total). Now these are fluffy tutus so it is better to error on the long side and trim a little. They will fluff up so be careful you don’t have a little rear end exposed by making them a little to0 short.
Whatever your measurement is, go ahead and cut your tulle into strips of that length. I just used a tape measure to measure the length and then cut each strip one by one- it goes by really fast.
I bought the little rolls of tulle from the craft store- use a coupon and you will pay about $1.50-3.00 per roll. These rolls are located in the wedding supply aisles of my stores. You can also use the tulle from the fabric section that is not in these rolls but you will have extra cutting to do. The upside is that you will have more choice of colors.
So go ahead and cut your strips of tulle into the measurement for your little girl. Once you have a nice stack, you want to take the elastic and measure her waist. I leave about 1 inch extra on each end and I make the elastic fitted around the waist but not too tight.
Once you measure the waist go ahead and cut the elastic. Now you are basically going to tie knots all the way around with your strips of tulle. The important note is that you want to make sure your knot is facing the same direction each time so it looks nice and tidy.
To tie the knot, simply fold your piece of tulle in half so the ends match exactly. Now take the top where you have a U shape and place that on top of the elastic. You want to loop the bottom ends that are dangling through the top loop. Like this:
And now it looks like a men’s tie:
And now you want to pull this tight. Careful because you can actually tear your tulle if you yank too hard. I like to sort of tug each side of the dangling strips but you want to make sure it all remains even at the bottom.
And then go ahead and repeat over and over and over again. After each knot, you want to push over the elastic so there are no gaps in between knots. If you want to do two colors or multiple colors of tulle, just go ahead and alternate colors.
Mine is all red so this is what it looks like after a few knots:
Now just keep going all the way around the skirt. Once you get really close to the end, go ahead and measure the elastic around the child’s tummy. I used a pen to dot on the elastic where it met around my daughter’s tummy.
Trim the elastic where your dot is and now you need to seal the elastic. So I actually used hot glue to adhere the two ends together. It was surprisingly sturdy but if you want to add extra reinforcement take a needle and thread and just put in a few stitches. I am not a sewer by any stretch of the imagination and I picked up a little sewing kit in the Target Dollar Spot recently and just put a few quick stitches in.
Here is my finished product:
And then you can either leave it as is or you can cut a ribbon into a long strip- at least the length of the strips you previously cut. Tie it exactly the same way you did the tulle and then tie it into a bow after that. Viola!
This red tutu is for a Supergirl costume so I added a gold ribbon bow. Eventually the tutu will also have gold stars on it.
And I also made one in a gold tulle and an ivory glitter tulle for my big girl’s Angel costume for Halloween. Here is how hers looks. Oh and if you get glitter tulle it does shed a little glitter. That doesn’t bother me at all but you might consider that if it does bother you.
For this skirt we found these fabric broach looking things in the scrapbook section of all places. I just hot gunned it on.
And that’s it! This sounds complicated but really it is incredibly easy to do. Both of my girl’s have other tutu’s for ballet class and such but when they got these little tutus they both really lit up with huge smiles.
I think this would be an adorable baby shower gift!
Let me know if you decide to make your own tutu and how it turns out.
If you do have little girls, you might also check out this super simple DIY Creaseless Hair bands tutorial. Very inexpensive and super fast!
Too cute and Super Easy! Thanks 🙂
How wide should the strips be? Should we care about jaggedly edges on the pieces we cut (ends and sides)? Thanks for a great idea.
Winnie, the rolls of tulle do not need to be cut on the sides. The width of the rolls is perfect- they are 6 inches. If you buy tulle in the fabric department on the large bolts, you would need to cut the length and th e width. I didn’t have any issues with jagged edges. I would try to use sharp scissors if you have them. The six inches to cut on the rolls that I used were pretty straight because it is only about 2 snips. Does that help?
Charlene, Just had to tell you how much I love your site! I am not a crafty person AT ALL but you explain everything so well I feel like even I can do it. I love all the different things you post from recipes, crafts, things to do lists to the coupon match ups. Thanks for all you do and all the effort you put into your site, love it!
Thank you Charlene for this fabulous idea! I have two princess girls and one wants to be Lalaloopsy and other Power Puff girl. Both would look great with these cute tutu’s as part of the costume! Thank you!
Couple of years ago I made several tutus for ballerina party. It was easy to make, I should say relaxing 😉
I used rolls of tulle from JoAnn’s in purple and pink. I made them the same way you did, the only difference is I stitched elastic first and then put it between two bar stools 🙂
Your tutus look very cute.
P.S. At Target I saw Creaseless Hair bands 50% off, so $2.50 for 5. I thought you would like to know
Charlene.. Quick question how many times do you knot it??
Johanna, just one knot.
Hey Charlene, Luv this! Cant wait to make a set for my daughter and her American Girl. Just wondering i see the roll you purchased is 25 yards. Would you say that you used all of the tulle or half? My daughter’s going to be 8, so they would porbably be around the same length as your oldest
Our skirt was really long so it took the 25 yard and the glitter was only available in 10 yard size- so (2) of those. The 25 yard was $4.99 and the smaller was $2.99. I bought at Joann’s so I used a 40 or 50 coupon on all of the rolls :). For the doll, instead of elastic you can also use a thicker ribbon and then when you get all the way around the waist just tie it in a bow instead of sewing the elastic. That might be easier. I don’t like the ribbon for my kids though because sometimes it leaves a tiny gap of no tulle where the ribbon knot is and then you have an exposed bottom ;).
Awesome, thanks for the tip.
I just finished mine. I picked a white tulle and a glittery burn orange (for university of Texas). It turned out great! The glittery tulle was much harder than the plain tulle but that’s what my little girl wanted.Thank you for this, I can see that I’ll be making quite a few of these!
Karen I am so glad to hear it! Once you get going it is pretty easy don’t you think?
Just saw this on pintrest. LOVE it!! I am so NOT crafty. Making 6 of these as take away gifts for my daughters 3rd birthday party. Question. how do you but the ribbon on? Is this part of the elastic too? That’s the part I don’t quite understand.
Now if you can give me a quick inexpensive boys take away gift????
Amanda I just tied the ribbon in one single knot around the elastic and then tied it in a bow. So if you have the elastic held vertically in front of you- like it will stretch across their tummies, you just tie the ribbon once around that and then make a bow. Does that make sense?
What kind of party are you having?
We have a super hero party to go to and I wasn’t sure what my daughter should wear. Now it’s clear…..a Spider-Man t shirt and an awesome red tutu!!! Thanks Charlene I would have never thought to do this (not very crafty) but I think I can do it :). Great idea. Thanks for all the good ideas and money saving tips!
Oh perfect!!! Here is Maya’s costume from Halloween with her tutu:
I made it all- which you can tell I did because I am a lame crafter but it was so fun to do :). She loved that outfit!
Liz Hardy says
Another option for the elastic is to use plain old elastic headbands! I gets six for a dollar at the dollar tree by my house. It’s perfect for younger kids 🙂 that’s how I made all if the tutus for my moms preschoolers!
Thanks for the blog, can I just ask is the elastic as long as the child’s waist measurement ? Do you need to add or take anything away?
Also how wide does the elastic need to be.
I was just wondering if you would know the measurements to make a knee length tutu skirt for a 7yr old? Waist and tulle length?