how-to: flower girl tutu

When my sister, Rachel, asked her five nieces to be flower girls in her wedding, she already had a vision for their ensemble:

It was my job to execute the tutu. I googled a bit, consulting various YouTube videos and tutorials, but no one source gave me the whole puzzle. So since others have asked, here's what I did to make the bride's vision a reality (for less than $4 per tutu).

First, I purchased a bolt of ivory tulle from amazon: 54-inches wide by 120-feet long (40 yards). At the time, it was $10.50. I used almost the entire bolt to make five tutus, so if you're just trying to make one tutu, you'll need about eight (8) yards of 54-inch tulle, depending on the waist-to-knee measurement of your tutu wearer. (I'm about to make just one white one for my friend's December wedding, so I'll update that amount to be more accurate when I finish her tutu.)

Then, I purchased a 2.75-inch crochet headband to use as the tutu waistband. They're forty-nine cents ($0.49) each but then $4.99 for shipping. This wasn't such a big deal for me as I was buying five to average out the cost to $1.49 per headband instead of $5.48 for one.

Before you sit down to cut and tie, you need to grab some measuring tape and find your tutu wearer. Measure the length from her belly button to her knee. I made five tutus using five different waist-to-knee lengths: 15-inches (Lydia: age 6), 12-inches (Heidi: age 5), 11-inches (Kaia: age 4), 10-inches (Anna: age 3), 9-inches (Selah: age 2).

Next, I sat down in front of the television to watch the Olympics and make tutus. I have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter and (broken) cutting guide. (If you don't already have such tools, you could purchase the rolls of tulle that are 6-inches wide and just cut the tulle into strips. I do not know how many rolls you would need because I cannot do the math of square footage into length right now, but there are plenty of tutorials on the internet that will tell you how to do this. This tutorial will proceed with using a large bolt of tulle.)

Take your waist-to-knee length and multiply it by two. I'll use my 11-inch tutu so 22-inches. Cut a piece of tulle from the bolt that is 22-inches long. This piece would then be 22-inches by 54-inches. Cut this piece into 4-inch strips of 4-inches by 22-inches. You should get twelve (12) or thirteen (13) strips. (I fold the 54-inch piece to fit my cutting tools so that I can just cut off 4-inch strips quickly - not rolling over 22-inches with each cut.)

Find something round to hold your waistband stretched: I used a pot from the kitchen. Take two of the 4x22 strips. (Tying two on at once creates a stiffer poof for the tutu. I made an entire tutu tying one piece on at a time, and it was too flat and whimsy. The tutu vision assigned to me was poof. Sidebar: disassembling tutus is not fun.) Place one piece of tulle on top of the other, and fold them in half. Thread the tulle at the fold through a bottom hole of the crochet waistband, creating a loop.

Pull the tail of the tulle through the loop and pull tight.

Continue cutting strips and tying them - two at a time - on the crochet waistband until the entire bottom row of the waistband is knotted with tulle.

When the bottom row is complete, go back to your bolt of tulle and cut new pieces that are two inches shorter than your waist-to-knee doubled number. For this 11-inch tutu, that's 20 inches. Now I have a piece of tulle that is 20-inches by 54-inches. Again, cut this into 4-inch strips to give you 12-to-13 strips of 4x20 inches.

Repeat the same tying technique with the next row up on the crochet waistband. It will sort of be next to the existing knots and not so much above, but it works: I promise.

The resulting knot will be a little bit on top of the bottom row, but the tulle strips are also an inch shorter than the bottom row. This will help give your tutu some body and additional poof.

Continue cutting and tying strips until that next-to-the-bottom row is completely knotted with tulle. Rejoice that you are finished cutting and tying knots. Find your tutu wearer and rejoice again because she loves it.

If you're interested in the rest of the ensemble:
lined long-sleeve leotards from The Leotard Boutique (fabulous customer service!)
Jefferies girls microfiber tights from The Leotard Boutique.
Carter's Perforated Flats on clearance from Carter's.
crowns: boxwood leaves on floral wire