Friday, August 5, 2016

Do You Want To Make A Tutu?

"Do you want to make a tutu?" If you've seen the movie Frozen, you know what tune to sing that to. You likely know it even if you haven't seen the movie. (If you are truly clueless, you can google "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?") This was our project for the last day of camp. And then we watched the movie that night.

This is a fun, quick project if you have little girls in your life. It requires no sewing. Just a little time and patience and a pair of scissors. I will pass along one HUGE tip, though. Use the glitter tulle at your own risk. (Although it's adorably cute!) I thought it was a glittery fabric. Not. It's just glitter sprinkled over the tulle. Which promptly fell off all over my kitchen. I will say that it made a beautiful tutu. But even Little Sister said, "It's too shattery!" Because each strip is added individually, after camp I swapped out all of the glittering strips with a plain blue tulle. Easy fix! The new blue matches the ribbon better anyway.

A trip to a big box craft store should provide all you need for about $10. I used two spools of 6-inch tulle. The plain tulle had 25 yards per spool and the glitter tulle had 10 yards. And I bought one spool of 1-1/2 inch wide double-face satin ribbon. That's it. I needed every inch of these 35 yards for this child who wears a 5/6. For a larger child, the 50 yards from two spools of plain tulle would be better.

The hardest part is cutting the tulle into lengths. And it isn't hard at all. I did this like I cut yarn to make fringe for a knitted scarf. Knitters, you know how to do this. Non-knitters, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that you don't have to measure and cut a gazillion strips. I just wrapped the tulle around a box instead of measuring lots of strips.

Find a box of the appropriate size. A 12-ounce box of Cheerios was perfect for us. When I measured the box all the way around—bottom, up the front, over the top, down the back to the bottom—it was just about double Little Sister's waist-to-knee measurement.

Her waist-to-knee measured about 13 inches. So I doubled that (remember we are folding the tulle in half) and added another inch for the knot. That meant I needed strips that were about 27-inches long. (13+13+1) The 12-inch tall Cheerio box, measured all the way around, was about 29 inches. Close enough for this project!

I started my wrap at the bottom of the box. I wrapped the entire 25-yard spool around the length of the box. Just keep wrapping and wrapping. If you can't find a box the right size, cut a piece of cardboard to size.

Then cut through all of the wraps at the bottom of the box. Only at the bottom! There you go. The entire spool is now cut into equal lengths in a couple of minutes.

I pulled off an extra long length of ribbon from the spool. I cut it to size after we were done. To make the ribbon easier to work with, I tied one end to a chair leg to anchor it while we worked.

All that's left is to fasten the strips to the ribbon. You could just tie them on, but I did it like I add fringe to a knitted scarf. This method makes both ends hang down the same way.

Fold a single strip in half. Put the folded end under the ribbon, letting the folded part stick up beyond the ribbon enough to slip your fingers through that loop.

Reach through the loop and over the ribbon, grab the ends of the tulle and pull them through the loop. Snug it up on the ribbon.

When you've added a whole bunch of strips, push them together to make the skirt full and try it on. Add more strips if needed. The tulle strips can be bunched up tighter or spread out a little further apart to make it work for you. Slide all of the strips to the center of the ribbon. Then tie the ribbon around the child's waist, making a big bow.

You are the designer here. Use one color. Use two colors like we did. Or, use a whole rainbow! Using the ribbon made this super easy. But elastic would be fine, too, if you know enough sewing to join the elastic. (Cut the elastic 1-inch less than the waist measurement.)

I must admit that Little Sister got tired of knotting the strips on, but she did enough to understand how we made it. I finished up while she played with the dollhouse, and she was delighted to put it on and dance for us all. Our very own fairy princess! This was a perfect ending to Camp Mimi. I'm already looking forward to next summer's camp.


  1. She even stood on her toes for that first pic! So cute!

    1. She took her first ballet lessons this summer. And loved it.


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