As a mom of two little girls – twins, 3-years old, to be precise – I have spent the last year or so entering into the world of princesses, hair-bows, twirly skirts, sparkly shoes, fairy tales, dress-up clothes, butterflies, flowers, stickers, and all things girly. My oldest is a boy, so for the first couple years of my girls’ lives, they were pretty content to play with his trains and cars and trucks…but they are slowly morphing into their own little beings with different styles and personalities – and they most definitely like to dress up in frilly girl clothes! We’ve had one tutu in our dress-up box for quite some time…a prize won in an online charity auction…but with twins, one is NEVER enough. So I decided now, with Easter fast approaching, was the perfect time to bring another sweet tutu into our home. For this VERY simple project (really – you CAN do this!!), you will need:
- 6″ tulle in Lime
- 6″ tulle in Turquoise
- 6″ tulle in Ivory Sparkle
- 5/8″ Poly Satin Ribbon in Aqua
- 1.25″ Bright Color Assorted Mini Butterflies
- Hot glue gun
To start out, if you have the ability to do so, measure the child’s waist for whom you are making the tutu. (Note: This isn’t absolutely essential, since the tutu is going to tie around the waist, so simply cutting the ribbon a little long will ensure the tutu will fit around any size waist, but it can help to make sure the tutu is full enough to suit your taste.) My daughter’s waist is 20″ around. Cut an extra 18″ on each end to allow for tying knots to hold the tulle in place, and for tying the bow, so I cut my ribbon at 48″ length.
Next, I went in to 18″ on one end and tied a large knot by knotting the ribbon repeatedly, so that the tulle would not slide off that end once I started putting it on. Then, you will need to cut your tulle. The length of your tulle strips will depend on how long you want your tutu to be. I wanted my daughter’s tutu to be 14″ long, so I cut the strips to be 28″ long. You do not have to be totally precise with your cutting – a few shorter or longer strips of tulle will actually give the tutu added texture and dimension, and will look nice. There is no exact number of strips of tulle to cut, either…it will all depend on the waist size and how full you want the tutu to be.
Here are the instructions for making Lark’s Head Knots using the tulle onto the ribbon: starting with the ribbon laid across your lap, fold a piece of tulle in half, and slip the loop of the middle point under the ribbon in the direction away from your body.
Then, lift the middle point of the tulle with your left hand, while taking the two ends of the tulle in your right hand. With your right hand, bring the two loose ends OVER the ribbon and through the loop of tulle held in your left hand.
Switch hands at this point, so that your left hand is now tugging on the two loose ends, and your right hand is holding the ribbon and loop, and pull to tighten until the tulle is snug around the ribbon. You have now formed your tulle knot around the ribbon, and have learned the basis for completing the entire tutu!
Once you have filled your ribbon with tulle to the desired length (the child’s waist) and fullness, tie another knot in the ribbon at the finishing end as you did when you started, to prevent the tulle knots from sliding off the ribbon. (Note: Because of the squishy nature of tulle, there is a wide range of how many strips of tulle you can fit per inch/per foot of ribbon. This is entirely up to you, depending on how full you want the tutu to be.) If you measured correctly, you should have about equal lengths (~18″) of ribbon on each end with which to tie a bow when putting the tutu on the child. If the ribbons are terribly unequal, you may trim as desired, as long as there is still ample ribbon to tie the bow.
Once you are finished with the tulle and have tied off the ribbon, it is time to add the butterflies. These little butterflies are just adorable, and come 12 to a package. They ARE made of paper, so are a bit fragile – so simply gluing them on the outside of the tutu isn’t the best option. Rather, take a strip of tulle, place the butterfly, facing out, behind the tulle, and wrap the tulle around it so that two sides of the strip are both wrapped over the back of the butterfly. Then, apply hot glue to the back of the butterfly, right through the tulle. This will adhere the butterfly to the tulle, without the glue showing from the outside of the tutu – it makes the butterflies appear as though they are floating inside the tulle – and yet provides them with some protection.
Once you have added all 12 butterflies, your tutu is completed! This would make the perfect gift to put in a little girl’s Easter basket – and is quick and affordable to make. The cutting of the tulle is the most time-consuming part, and even with that included, the entire project can be completed in 3-4 hours. And with the supplies costing just under $15 total (with enough left over to probably make a second tutu!), you just can’t beat the price! I sure know one little girl who is happy her mama didn’t wait until Easter morning, though…
(Editor’s note: It would also be fun and economical to make these for spring-themed birthday parties or to wear for special “tea parties.” Thanks, Jen!)
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Jen writes a craft blog at http://mycraftyfriendjen.blogspot.com/, and has been featured on One Pretty Thing, Sew Mama Sew, Simple Mom, and The Tip Junkie. She has also been a guest designer for The Paper Trail. You can connect with her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jen-Clark-Designs/168798893156390?v=wall, or on Twitter under her user name JenClark74.