How to Make a Tutu


With the amount of tulle that I saw on the moodboard for this month’s issue, I figured it would be not only appropriate but necessary for me to do a tutu DIY! While you might not be the type to wear a tutu every day, I think it’s always a good idea to have one on hand just in case you ever get the urge to frolic around in yards of frilly fabric. Or maybe you just want something to wear with your Halloween costume this year. Either way, this is a winner.

You’ll need:

  • Tulle (and lots of it). For my tutu I used 10 yards of 54-inch-wide tulle. I think this amount would work best for small/medium-size folks. For larger sizes you’ll probably want at least double that amount. If you want a longer tutu, use wider pieces of tulle.
  • A piece of fabric measuring 5″ in width and your waist* measurement in length, four extra inches for overlap.
  • A piece of ribbon that’s long enough to fit around your waist,* plus a little extra to tie the ends off with.
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing pins
  • A sewing machine

* When I say waist I mean wherever you want the top of the tutu to sit–this could be at your natural waistline, low-waisted, or on yourhips. It’s up to you!

Cutting the fabric:

1. Lay out all your fabric on a flat surface.

2. Measure seven inches in from the outer edge of the tulle with a measuring tape. Mark this measurement with a pin.

3. From that pinned point, measure and mark another seven inches, and so on. Keep pinning each point and measuring another seven inches from it.

4. Cut the fabric into strips, using the sewing pins as a guide. The strips should be (roughly) seven inches wide.

5. Repeat this measuring and cutting process on all of your fabric until all you’re left with is a ton of fabric strips.

6. At this point you’re probably thinking, How the eff am I supposed to make all of that look like a tutu? I promise it’s possible! I’ll show you how in the next step.

Making the tutu:

1. Lay out one of the tulle strips and cinch it in the middle.

2. Fold the strip in half and form a loop towards the top of it.

3. Next , grab your ribbon and place the folded piece of tulle, looped side up, under it.

4. Weave the bottom ends of the tulle strip through the loop.

5. Pull the ends of the tulle up through the loop until a knot forms.

6. Continue this knotting process with the all of tulle strips until you’ve filled the entire length of ribbon.

7. When you’re done adding all of the tulle strips, tie off each end of the ribbon to secure the strips in place.

8. At this point, if you’re not really interested in adding a waistband to your tutu, you can just leave it as is and use the ends of the ribbon to tie the two sides of the tutu together when you wear it.

Attaching the waistband:

I’m throwing this step in for anyone who wants the waistline of their tutu to look a bit more finished, as opposed to having all of the tulle knots showing when you wear the tutu. Again, it’s not 100% necessary that you do this; it’s really just a way of making the tutu look a bit more put together.

1. Fold your waistband fabric in half and mark the center point with a pin.

2. Do the same with your tutu. Fold the whole thing in half and mark the center point with a pin.

3. Line the two pins up. Pin the tutu and waistband together at this point.

4. Continue pinning the waist band fabric to the rest of the skirt’s waistline, lining the edge of the fabric up with the tops of the tulle knots.

5. Flip the tutu over so the knots are facing you (instead of the waistband fabric) and sew a straight stitch right under the knots.

6. Fold and pin the raw edges of the waistband fabric over about 1/2″ to create a hem, and stitch them closed.

7. And finally, tie the tutu on, fluff it up, and enjoy! ♦


  • Abby September 14th, 2012 3:16 PM


  • Sorcha September 14th, 2012 3:18 PM

    2 legit 2 quit

  • Libby September 14th, 2012 3:32 PM

    This is ace. Never the way I made tutus before (always just got a few layers of tulle, folded over a huge hem, stuffed elastic through the hem, and sewed a seam down the side) but this is so much better and froofy and perfect.
    I know what I’m doing next weekend.

  • WinnieB. September 14th, 2012 3:33 PM

    This is so beautiful! Any tips on how I could make it not quite so full? Just not fluff it up as much? I’m afraid it’ll make my hips look super wide… :)

    • Marlena September 14th, 2012 5:54 PM

      I’m pretty sure that if you make the strips of tulle longer in length and thinner in width the finished tutu won’t look quite as full.

    • zombiesockmonkey September 16th, 2012 12:34 AM

      I’d try wearing it at your natural waist. That’s how I do big full skirts with my big hips and it actually does the opposite :)

  • SiLK September 14th, 2012 3:51 PM

    I was just looking for a tutorial that didn’t involve spending several hours of my life sewing, woooooo! (Rookie, you never cease to amaze me with how often, within a week or so of me hoping for something, you post something that answers my unspoken wishes, should I worry that Tavi not only lives under my bed, but can also read my mind?)

    • Abby September 16th, 2012 3:14 PM

      I’m pretty sure that Tavi and everyone else at Rookie lives simultaneously under all of our beds and in all of our minds…. Just saying…

  • Amy Rose September 14th, 2012 4:03 PM

    Most amazing!

  • darksideoftherainbow September 14th, 2012 4:14 PM

    stop. it. now i’m going to be obsessed with this until i make one for me and one for my niece. i wore a skirt that was almost a tutu to a high school dance at the boys’ school (i went to an all girls hs) one time and tho i got some stares, it was the BEST. so girly and so fun! THANK YOU FOR THIS NEW OBSESSION.

  • commedesfilles September 14th, 2012 4:50 PM

    Making tutus used to be my thing. They’re also pretty fun to make out of grocery bags or old newspaper, cut into squares. you attach to the “waistband” by the centre of the square. My school never did an eco-fashion day after i found out about that so i could never showcase it.

  • MissKnowItAll September 14th, 2012 4:52 PM


  • cloeysmiles September 14th, 2012 6:34 PM

    Can i please have your shirt? It’s asdkl awesome.

  • GlitterKitty September 14th, 2012 6:45 PM

    OMG I AM IN LOVE. I have wanted a tutu forever. I am completely obsessed. Maybe it’s because I do ballet and hardly ever get to wear a tutu. But this is amazing and lovely and OMG OMG OMG.

    On another note, Tavi is in the Globe and Mail newspaper! I was very happily surprised! The title is “It’s Tavi’s World” which I totally agree with. Look it up online, it’s a good article.

  • KinuKinu September 14th, 2012 7:29 PM

    i dont think i have ever been happier ever in my whole entire life……….i need to make this yesterday omg

  • emilycarolina September 14th, 2012 7:42 PM

    YES YES YES thank you. I have to buy tutu’s for ballet class and they’re around $50 but now I can make my own.

    Where is that shirt from? I must have it!

  • brennachan September 14th, 2012 7:49 PM

    Beautiful tutu!! This looks better than most tutus in stores! I’ll definitely want to try this sometime :)

  • ballerinableu September 14th, 2012 9:15 PM

    I’m a ballerina, and I want one of these just so I can wear it out and not have to worry about ruining a five hundred dollar tutu.

  • Ms.SNL September 14th, 2012 9:26 PM

    You have inspired me to make a tutu and dance around like a ballerina!

  • ivoire September 14th, 2012 11:07 PM

    this is so sick omg thank u marlena!

  • daisyhaneisha September 15th, 2012 12:24 AM

    Omlosh- I just made a tutu two days ago!! Defs gonna try this pattern for my next one though.

  • Graciexx September 15th, 2012 12:48 AM

    this is amazing! could you wear it as an underskirt/petticoat under dresses to make them fluffy?

  • Miarele September 15th, 2012 2:42 AM

    I am OBSESSED with tutus and tulle fabric in general. They’re just so whimsical and dreamy and fabulous and and everything nice :DD Thank you for this, Marlena, def. my fav DIY from you so far. I like how you coordinate your tutu in the las pic too! :)

  • Cookies-Candles September 15th, 2012 2:54 AM

    I love this!!!!!! Going to make a tutu ASAP. :)

  • tallulahpond September 15th, 2012 3:23 AM

    I’m so going to make this in black, with jet beads on. And then march around looking like a gothic ballet dancer.
    Enjoy the work of young writers? Come join us at, for feminist, fandoms and fabulousness. We are the Twitettes, 5 young writers who have never met, brought together by the internet.

  • aidee September 15th, 2012 4:04 AM

    This is super pretty! marlena you are the best.

  • ClaraMaurer September 15th, 2012 1:05 PM

    This is just … Oh my god , i will do it tommorow

  • emilyowls September 15th, 2012 2:48 PM

    i wanna make a floor length one!!! too much?

  • Mimi7 September 15th, 2012 5:55 PM

    When I was little I didn’t even take ballet, but I would wear ballet shoes and tutu’s around just because they were so pretty :)

    This looks so fun! Thanks for showing it in an easy way, seems like a perfect project for this weekend!

  • marengo September 15th, 2012 8:43 PM


  • Erykaneisha September 15th, 2012 9:53 PM

    Omg, that’s hella cute!

  • Hannah September 16th, 2012 1:01 AM

    I made my tutu, but it’s not as full as I wanted. Should I just buy more tulle and add on to it, or is there any other suggestions?

  • paige.xo September 16th, 2012 7:33 AM

    Wow. I love it. I might do this one day in the holidays maybe.. :)

  • laurajane September 16th, 2012 4:46 PM

    Is it just or do tutus scream Mabel Pines? I’m debating adding one to my Mabel costume for Halloween.

  • therealmadeline September 16th, 2012 8:17 PM

    Omg I was looking for something that would work for my quenn of hearts costume and this is gonna be perfect

  • paddyelephant September 17th, 2012 1:13 AM


  • RXLWK September 17th, 2012 6:20 AM

    12 years of ballet school and 8 years as an art-goth and I never figured this out for myself… YOU ARE BRILLIANT! This is effing awesome!

  • Montgomery September 17th, 2012 9:49 AM

    Love your diy’s marlena! thanks so much.

  • brwnydwrld September 17th, 2012 3:21 PM

    ahhhhhhhhh where’d you got that shirt?? xx

  • Miss Beehive September 18th, 2012 2:39 AM

    LOVE your DIY ideas! Can’t wait to get crafty!

  • LadyByron September 18th, 2012 3:36 PM

    What a lovely DIY project!

  • Tabea September 19th, 2012 12:52 PM

    This. Is. Gorgeous. (and totally fluffy.)

  • LilySew September 24th, 2012 11:30 AM

    Ahh ~ just made one of these..but i made it with just regular fabrics of the floral and sheer variety. It ended up looking great – not quite a ‘tutu’ in the way of looking puffy – but it still looks so good and it was so easy. Thanks Rookie :D

  • MrsMurphy September 28th, 2012 3:33 AM

    I want to make a costume for my daughter that involves a full length tutu. How do I measure the tulle to get the length I desire?

  • hellosmith October 9th, 2012 12:25 AM

    is it possible for users to favorite a post? BECAUSE I WANT TO FAVORITE THIS.

  • Georgia-Lee October 20th, 2012 1:43 AM

    I just ordered some tulle online, but it’s only 15.24 cm wide but I brought 22 metres of it. Do you think it will still work to make this if I cut the fabric lengthwise rather than horizontally?

    I just changed my Halloween costume to the white swan (off ‘Black Swan’) so I really need to get onto making it, stat!
    ~thanks ♡

  • -rosieroses- December 10th, 2012 1:45 PM

    I really love your t-shirt! Where did you buy it? I am desperately looking on the internet right now haha!