Annoucement: I recently made a biggggg mistake and managed to delete all of my blog photos. I am working to get them all back up asap. Please bear with me, and if you have any questions on tutorials, please feel free to email me and I will try to help you out as best as I can...Thanks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Petti Tutu Tutorial

Update:  I now have a video tutorial on cutting the tulle and tying the knots...It does skim over some of the details, but I think it should clarify some of the questions I was getting.

I love making tutus.  It don't know why.  I just find it relaxing.  Sophie has about 13 in her closet right now....and I'll admit it, I even have one in mine!  Hey, it was for halloween!  I know there are a million tutorials on how to make a tutus, but I haven't found one yet on how to make a petti tutu.  It is really super simple, and they are so adorable!

Now, sorry but I don't have any good pics of it one because my model is too busy "being an artist" today...sorry mom, no time to model...

Really...look at my fridge!

Okay, so on with the tutuorial...

**If you know how to make a tutu already you can skip down to the Make it a Petti Tutu Section at the bottom**

All you need is a needle and thread, tulle and 1/2" Non-Roll elastic...the non-roll part is really important. When I first started making tutus a few years ago, I didn't read a the time I didn't even know they existed...and I just bought regular elastic...let me tell you, that is a major pain!

Anyway, most people who make tutus like to use the 3" or 6" rolls because they say they are easier to cut.  Personally, I prefer the tulle of the bolt because 1.  I find it is quicker to cut  and 2.  It makes a better tutu (imho).  I's really all about what you like.

To find how much tulle you need:

  1. Measure the waist.
  2. Measure the length you want the skirt. (I think a petti tutu looks best to right above the knee, but thats me)
  3. Multiply the length by 2 and add about an inch (for the waistband).  This is the length you will cut your tulle strips.  (ex.  If you want your tutu to be 10" long, you would cut the strips 21")
  4. Now use this formula to figure out your yardage...sorry I can do math but I am terrible at just trust me.  It looks all confusing but just do one step at a time...and you'll see it is really simple, just a lot to explain.  : )
Waist Measurement x 2.5= approximate number of strips you will need
Number of strips needed divded by 9 = number of rows you will need to cut of tulle

a 20" waist x 2.5 =50/9 =5.5 rows
(If you are using the spools, don't divide by 9.  Skip to the next step)

now multiply you strip length by the number of rows (you may want to add an extra row or two to be on the safe side, but this has usually been pretty reliable for me)
21"x 5.5 = 117" of tulle 

divide that by 36 to get the yardage
117"/36 = 3.25 yards

Once you start cutting, this will all make sense. 

Cutting the tulle:

To make it easier to cut, I fold the selvedge to meet the fold, and then, I trim the raw edge to make it all even.  Now, measure from your trimmed raw edge the length of your strips and cut. Repeat until you have all your rows cut.

**When cutting tulle, you always want to measure your length along the grainline (the grainline runs from raw edge to raw edge), otherwise you will get too much stretch when you tighten your knot and it will tear...I really wish I had known about this whole grain thing before I started making tutus!  (If you want to know more about the grain of fabric, check out this article.)

I'm lazy cutting my tulle so, as I'm cutting I open my rows back up and stack them as neatly as possible with the folds on one side and the selvedges on the other.  Then, I cut my 6" strips, starting from the fold cut the first one 3" (cause once it's opened up I will be 6").  Then, cut all the rest 6".  If you are a perfectionist you can do one at a time, but tulle is so forgiving as long as you have them stacked neatly no one will ever know you cheated!


Cut your elastic 2 inches smaller than your waist measurement, overlap and stitch together.  I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine, if I stitch by hand I stitch in about a 1/2" square and go around twice then make an "x" in the middle.

Make the tutu:

I like to put my waistband around something.   I use an old plastic container.
  1. Fold a strip in half with the ends even, so that it forms a skinny "u" shape.
  2. Pass the folded end under the waist band.
  3. Slip the cut ends through the loop formed by the folded end, and tighten the slip knot around the elastic.
I pinch the fold and pull my tails tight then to the left and right to get my knot as tight as possible with out squishing the want to avoid me I learned the hard way!  My waistband on my first tutu was so stretched out, I couldn't even fit in it. (No, it wasn't for me I was for a nine month old!)  You'd think I would have noticed something wasn't right, but you'd be wrong.

Turn it into a Petti Tutu!

To make the fluff that turns it into a petti tutu, you will need 6" x 5" tulle rectangles.  To figure out how many, take the number of strips you got when figuring out yardage (50) and mulitply by 2.

So you would need approximatley 100 rectangles.  If you are using more than one color for the fluff, divide the number of rectangles needed by the number of colors you are using.  I used 4 so I cut 25 of each color.  (You can use the method you use for the skirt to figure out the yardage you'll need to buy for the fluff too.  Just use 5" as your strip length.)

Gather your rectangles along the crossgrain (the six inch length).

Now tie one to the end of each of the skirt strips, about 2.5 from the bottom.  I tie the knot in the skirt strip, instead of tying the rectangle around the skirt strip to keep it from slipping off.  (If you really want to be safe, you can also tie the rectangle afterwards)

To get it even, I tie the knot loosely around the rectangle/fluff piece and then even out all the ends.  I then hold all three ends and pull the top of the skirt strip.

And that's it! Basically, just tying knots, but isn't it so cute!

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll try my best to answer, and be sure to check out my other tutu tutorials.

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Carri said...

That's so cute! I want to make one for my little girl

Sandy Ang said...

It's very pretty !

Sarah said...

that is so rad! thanks for the tutorial!

Mandy Beyeler said...

Thanks for linking to TAke-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Craft Edition - I featured you today! - - Mandy,

mama sarah said...

very cute! i've been making tu tus for awhile, but i do mine on ribbon instead of elastic and actually tie a knot with the tulle, as opposed to passing it through the 'u.' i will be trying this very soon with the elastic and the rectangles at the ends! LOVE IT! ps, are you in louisiana? i am a homeschooling mama in shreveport.

Hootnz said...

What a great twist on the original tutu! thanks for sharing :)

Shayna @ Texas Monkey said...

I love petti tutus, they are so fun, yours looks great! Thank you for linking up with All About You Monday, hope you come back each week and bless us with more of your talent.

Lady Muck said...

So glad I found this post - I've been wanting to make tutus for ages! I love the Autumnal colours you've chosen too. x

Fowl Single File said...

Love it! Love the fallish colors you chose for yours, too. I want to try making this one of these days. My daughter would love it! Thanks for sharing!

Shaper of Little Souls said...

Thanks for sharing! Yours look great! I will be doing one soon for m y 3 year old! Do you have any approximation as to how much it would cost to make a petti tutu?

April said...

The cost will depend on where you get your tulle, how long you make it, if you use tulle off the bolt or spools and if you are using multiple colors (this is mostly a factor if you are using spools because even though you only need a little for the fluff you have to buy a whole spool). It will typically run anywhere from $6-$12. Gifts International and Papermart are excellent suppliers, as is tulle source but they are a little more expensive.

Suze said...

I love this tutu! I am new to your blog and will soon make one for my one year old.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful tutu!! thanks for the tutorial!

I'd love to have you share at my For the Kids Friday Link Party! I'm sure you'll find some fun ideas while you are there! Come join the fun!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for linking up with For the Kids Friday! I will be posting the next link party tomorrow night. I hope to have you back to join in on the fun!

:)rachel at

Unknown said...

I have looked EVERYWHERE for a tutorial on how to do this! I can not thank you enough! E-Hugs from California!
Katrina :)

AKA Joos said...

I really want to make this but don't understand your cutting directions at all. Maybe you could take pictures of that process?

April said...

@AKA Joos...hmmm...the pics at the top are of me cutting just really doesn't come through in pics,, which is why I wrote on them thinking that would make it easier...I don't really know how else to explain it, so I will try to make a video of me cutting and post in the next couple days...maybe that will help to make it easier to understand. And feel free to email me/comment if you have any other questions! And I'll do my best to help you! ; )

AKA Joos said...

Hey, I think I have it figured out! Thank you! :D

April said...

Awesome! I'm still going to try to make a little video in case anyone else has trouble in the future! Love for you to post a pic to my FB if you get a chance! And if you run into an trouble let me know!

Anonymous said...

Just thought you might like to see the finished product on my tutu! Still waiting to see how long the tulle pieces last since my daughter loves to play dress up and is currently running around in her tutu. :P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I read it this morning, bought my material this afternoon and made it this evening. It looks so cute and I can't wait to try it on my 4mth old daughter in the morning.

Unknown said...

Where did u buy your tulle? They look shimmery!! :) what colors are in your tutu?

Unknown said...

Was wondering if u made the video :)

April said...

@camicastle517 I buy my tulle at Joann's, Hobby Lobby, or Wal-Mart. They have the matte or the shimmer. I always get the shimmer because not only does it look better...imho, I find that it makes a nicer tutu. The colors in this one are ivory, maroon, orange, gold, and brown. I haven't made the video yet because I have been busy and the girl who was having trouble said she had figured it out, but my kiddos won't be here tonight, so I will go ahead and do it while they aren't here, and post tomorrow or Sat.

Alison_L said...

Have you ever tried to use organza instead of tulle? I find the regular too a bit scratchy and the soft tulle isnt poofy enough (even with a double layer). I made one earlier with organza and its poofy and soft but looks as if the fabric is likely to fray :(
Any suggestions?

April said...

@Alison_L..yes the organza will most likely fray. Nylon chiffon would probably work since it doesn't fray and this is what is used to make you've got me intrigued...may try this tonight after the kids go to bed...did you use organza for the entire skirt or just the fluff??

Anonymous said...

To make the strips at the bottom full, full, full how would you do your strips. What I mean is where the petit tutu looks like a petti skirt.

Abbey said...

April - Thank you so so so much for this tutorial! I have twins who will be turning a year next month and I didn't want buy $100 worth of tutus, but didn't know how to jazz up the usual home-made tutu....and now I do! I'm so excited! One question - I made tutus for the girls when they were four months old, and they spit up on them so I needed to wash them. After washing (by hand), the tulle got extremely wrinkled and I didn't want to iron it because I'm sure it would melt. I used a ribbon instead of elastic so the girls would be able to re-wear the tutus as they got older, but now they're so wrinkled, they just don't have the same look. Have you ever had this problem, and if so, what's your solution?

April said...

Hey Abby! I have a shark iron with an upright steam & burst of steam feature. I just hold the tutus up with one hand and hit them with a burst of steam from the iron. Then,quickly and carefully (the tulle may be hot...I've never had a problem, but you never know so be careful)run my fingers through the strands of tulle. Also, I have ironed tulle many times using a nylon/silk setting and never had a problem with the tulle melting. The tutus are never quite as fluffy as before...but it's better than the alternative of not wearing them at all...

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