I spent this past weekend working on the skirt for my bee costume. I’ve never sewn a skirt before, so I leapt into it with nothing but a vague idea of using elastic and small strips of tulle.
Tulle is very temperamental stuff. Throw in some glitter and static-loving sequins and you have a frustrated, sparkly Kaitlin on your hands. Thus, the wine.
4 yards of tulle (I had about half a yard left)
elastic: enough to fit around your waist + 2 inches
gold thread to match
black thread to match
a bottle of white wine (optional)
Measure your waist or hips – wherever you’d like the tutu to sit on your torso. If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a piece of string or yarn and pull around your waist. Mark with a sharpie where the end meets the string.
Measure and cut your elastic. It probably goes without saying, but don’t pull the elastic too much while measuring it. Shockingly enough, it does stretch and then your skirt will be too tight.
Tip: I lay the elastic & measuring tape on the floor and set something heavy on one end.
Fold your elastic in half and pin ends together. Once pinned, measure 1 inch from the end and mark. I used tailor’s chalk, but it doesn’t really matter since this is the inside of your tutu.
Either by hand or by machine, sew along the line you just marked. Then trim the excess elastic.
Next I moved to the tulle. If you’re using the optional wine, now would be the time to take a few sips.
After some experimentation with the tulle, my new plan is to sew the tulle as little as possible. So I’m going to cut the tulle in strips, tie them to the elastic with a slip knot and then tack them by hand to the elastic once all the strips are in place.
My tulle came off the bolt 56″ wide. That’s going to be too long for my strips, so I’ll cut it in half.
Let’s get started.
(Please ignore the stock info in the background.)
The woman at Joann’s made it look so easy when she cut if off the bolt for me. I’ve since learned that tulle is anything but easy to handle. It’s slippery and sticks together and won’t stay in place. So because I’m not as cool as the woman at Joann’s, I pinned the ends of my tulle together.
The good news is, your strips don’t have to be anywhere near perfect for the tutu to work.
Tip: Work on a white or another solid light colored surface. I didn’t have one available at the time, and it made seeing the edges of the tulle difficult.
You can cut your tulle in half now if you prefer, but I recommend folding it in half once, then again, then again. It makes cutting much easier and faster.
Measuring out 4 inches, cut strips that will measure 4″ wide x 56″ long (or 28″ if you cut your tulle in half already) once unfolded.
Tie each strip onto the elastic. I folded my strips in half, wrapped them around the elastic (from underneath) then pulled the ends through the loop of the folded tulle. Pardon my terrible drawing ability.
I prefer this because it creates a fuller base on the elastic. Wrapping underneath the elastic guarantees that the knot itself will be on the front of your tutu, like this.
My knots are so closely packed on my elastic that the pieces don’t have room to slip around, but I don’t want to accidentally untie any of them. So I tacked my knots onto the elastic band by hand with black thread, 5 stitches per knot. I’m sure you could use a machine and baste them into place, but I don’t have a sewing machine at the moment.
(Again, please pretend that I can draw.)
I randomly placed and hand sewed sequins around the tulle, focusing on the outer layers of the skirt. I think I wound up using about 75 sequins.
ETA: I decided I wanted to add more sequins to get a more sparkly look. And sewing all of those sequins sucked. So I decided to use my trusty gold glitter glue instead. It actually looks better than sewing them! Plus, the glitter spreads everywhere making the tulle extra sparkly.