Fashion Tutu Tutorial With Hand Sew Option

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Hello there!

This tutorial has been a long time coming so let’s get to it!

List of supplies:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 yards of lining fabric. I love using knit bc it means no hemming (Don’t worry. I’m going to go over the math on how to know exactly how much you need. )
  • 5-7 yards of tulle for the 4 layers. (This is for 54-60 wide fabric. If you’re going to be using a smaller width fabric you’re going to need to use about twice as much.)
  • Elastic. I would not recommend anything smaller than 1 1/2″ bc we’re going to be using it to gather the fabric for us.
  • Thread that matches your fabric and elastic. (Unless you’re lazy like me and only use one that matches the elastic.)
  • Pins
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Calculator to do some simple math
  • Marking tool of some kind
  • Sewing Machine or hand sewing needle.

Alright, let’s start with the math. This tutu is basically a 5 layered circle skirt. Circle skirts are one of the easiest things to master. If you already know how to make a circle skirt go ahead and skip to the tutu making. If not, I’m going to show you the the long way to do the math and then the easy way.

Long way
Start with taking the measurement around where you want the skirt to sit. Got it? K. Next, take that number and add 2-4 inches. This is so the skirt can fit over your booty. If there’s not much difference between your waist and bum then you’ll only need to add 2″. If there’s a bigger difference then you’ll want to add 4″. (I have a 10″ difference between where I want my skirt to sit and my hips so I add the 4″.) Now once you’ve got your waist measurement (where you want the skirt to sit) plus the extra inches you’ll plug that number into this formula (Your waist is “C”):

R = C / (2 π) = _____ 

Here’s mine:

R = 35 / (2 π) = 5.6 inches

I’m going to round up 5.6″ to 5.75″ to make cutting easier. This will be the measurement I’ll use to cut out my waist.

Now, you’ll want to figure out how long you want your skirt. I want mine to be 20″ with seam allowance so I add that to my 5.75″ and then times that by 2 to get the total length of the skirt.

20 inches + 5.75 inches = 25.75inches

quarter circle skirt with numbers

25.75 inches * 2 =51.5 inches

51.5 in will be the total length of my skirt.

Length circle skirt with number

Now that you have your length you can figure out how much fabric you need. For the lining you’re going to take your length and divide it by 36″.  (36″ = 1 yard. )

51.5 inches / 36 inches = ~1.45 yards

So I need 1.45 yards of lining if I’m working with something that is at least 54″ wide. I’m pretending that picture above is on a fold and it will open up to a full unbroken circle. If you’re lining is 45″ wide or smaller you’re going to need to cut out two pieces and sew them together. It will call for twice as much fabric.

To figure out the amount of tulle needed, take the total yards and times it by the number of layers you want. For me I want 4 layers so it’d look like this

1.45 yards x 4 layers = 5.8 yards

I’ll round up to 6 yards of tulle to give myself a little wiggle room. I know it may seem like a lot but once you get the hang of it you can knock it out fast. (I timed myself and I was able to do all the math in 7 min. That included looking up the formulas bc I can never remember them.)

The easy way

Go to CircleSkirt.com and let them do all the work.

easy way 1

First you plug in all the info then hit calculate. Remember your waist is the measurement around where you want your skirt to sit plus 2-4 inches so the skirt can get over your booty.

easy way 2

A screen that looks similar to this will pop up after you hit calculate. In Section “A” we have:

  • A visual of how your skirt will fit on the fabric according to the info you plugged in.
  • Yellow is the Radius or “R”. (That’s what we’re going to use to cut out the part where your body goes. )
  • Green is visual for the total length of the skirt.
  • Purple is the total of one side of your skirt. We’re going to use then when it comes to measuring and cutting out our fabric.

Section B tells us the amount of fabric you’ll need in both inches and yards. This is just for one skirt so be sure to times this buy the number of tulle layers you want.

And one last thing before we get to the tutu making. I want to show you what it will look like if you’re not working with 60″ wide fabric.

easy way 3

I plugged 45″ for the width (it’s going to be your next common width.)  and this is what will pull up. You see you’re going to need to cut out the skirt in pieces. Section A is going to explain that and give you a few other tips on what else to factor in.

Tutu making!

So now we all have all the info we need to make our tutu. If you skipped to here, be sure to add 2-4 inches to your waist measurement (before you do your math) so you can get it over your hips.

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First you’re going to want to lay out your tulle on a flat surface. Then fold the tulle over itself and measure it out to the total length of one side of your skirt. (R plus your desired length including seam allowance or the purple portion if you used the circle skirt calculator.)  Be sure to keep the folded edge of the fabric towards you and ALWAYS CUT FROM THERE. Unless you’re planning on sewing the two halves together.

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Using a measuring tape while keeping the end at the corner of the fabric where the two folds meet, start to measure and mark the total length of one side of the skirt. Move the tape up and mark while ALWAYS keeping the end of the tape at the corner. Keep doing it until you’ve reached the other folded side. (The one that’s perpendicular to the other fold).  Once you’ve done that you can connect the dots and cut.  Next you’ll want to use the same method, only you’ll be using R (or the number you got for cutting out your waist). When you’re finished you should be left with something that looks like the picture above. Repeat this 3 more times for the tulle (or how ever many layers you’re doing) and one more for your lining.

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  1. When you’ve done that you’ll be left with something like the picture.
  2. Take two pieces of tulle and sew those together at the waist opening. (One layer will be inside the other.) Do that with the other two tulle layers.
  3. Then take the two sections (four layers of tulle) and sew those together. If you can handle sewing all four layers at once then go for it! I’m not that skilled yet so I work in groups of two.
  4. Then attach the tulle layers to the lining.

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This next part is for those who are sewing by hand. (You can also do it with a machine if you like the look.) Starting in the upper right hand corner take your lining scraps and make a casing/band that when folded in half will fit your elastic. The casing will be your waist measurement used at the beginning, plus 1″. Next pin it to the the casing doubled over to the waist of the skirt on the tulle side. Using a backstitch attach the waist to the skirt while not sewing the ends closed. Next thread your elastic that’s cut to your waist length through the casing all the way to the other end.  I like to mark the right sides of the elastic before I feed it through so it won’t get twisted. Sew the elastic ends together, then the casing and YOU’RE DONE!

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For those sewing with a machine. Measure and cut a piece of elastic for your actual waist size. Mark you elastic on 4 equal sections using a marking tool. Then sew your two ends together. Once you’ve done that, take the two flaps and sew those down.

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With your skirt, mark for equal sections just like you did with your elastic. The skirt body sections will be longer then the elastic ones. You’re going to take your elastic place it on top of the skirt (tulle side) overlapping them about 1/4″ and stretch the elastic to the mark on the skirt as you sew. The ideal stitch for this is the zigzag stitch. As you sew be sure to make the lining of the skirt flat. You don’t want it to accidentally get bunched and sewn funny (I’ve done this SO many times.) Continue to stretch and sew until you’ve gone all the way around. This method with gather the fabric for you so it will fit your waist while being able to stretch over your hips. Plus it adds to the fullness and fun of the skirt.

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When you’re done you should have something that looks like this! TA DA!

I hope this made sense! If you have any questions or if something was unclear leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help!!

Happy Sewing
Mel

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One thought on “Fashion Tutu Tutorial With Hand Sew Option

  1. Pingback: Cosplay Starter Kit: Lumpy Space Princess | Why Sew Nerdy

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