CLICK HERE to link to my online spreadsheet that will calculate everything you need without having to do the math yourself. Just input the information and it calculates it by magic
I've made dozens of tutus. My business was called Goodie Tutus and all the tutus had names of goodies. The one above is called "Rock Candy" and is made from fuchsia, turquoise, and apple green. It was one of my hottest selling tutus. The other that was really popular was called "Purple Fizz" an even mix of Purple and Fuchsia tulle.
Nearly all of the tutus I made were 12" inches in length and took 60 pieces of 26-inch long, 6-inch wide tulle, which is two spools of 25 yard tulle. Not everyone makes the same length tutu, so here are some quick instructions for determining how much you need.
1. Measure: Measure the child's or adult's waist OR visit the following link: US Standard Clothing Size
. Cut the elastic one inch shorter than the waist measurement. There are a couple of reasons for this, the elastic stretches as you tie the tulle on it and it makes sure the tutu is a little snug.
Sew the elastic by hand or machine overlapping the elastic by at least a half-inch.
(child's waist in inches) - 1 inch = elastic measurement
EXAMPLE: Child's Waist in inches is 20
20 - 1 = 19 inches of elastic
FINAL WAISTBAND MEASUREMENT
after overlapping elastic by 1/2 inch and sewing it is 18.5 inches.
2. NUMBER OF PIECES: A standard tutu takes roughly three pieces of tulle per inch on the waistband using a latch-hook knot (see below), you can fit more if you use a square knot. That number also depends on how tightly you tie your knots and how fluffy and full you want the tutu. I'll give you some suggestions for making multiple layer tutus later. Remember three per inch is a rough estimate, but under 50 pieces is rather scanty for a child's tutu.
3 x (final waistband measurement) = number of tulle pieces
EXAMPLE: Final waistband measurement is 18.5
Plus, I would use a number near the one you get in your formula into which the number of colors you are choosing divides evenly. See what I mean below when I show you how easy 60 is to work with:
1 color - 60 pieces of that color
2 colors - 30 pieces of each color
3 colors - 20 pieces of each color
4 colors - 15 pieces of each color
5 colors - 12 pieces of each color
6 colors - 10 pieces of each color
I've never done more than six colors in one tutu so it is also a really easy number to use. Plus, the more colors, the less each color will stand out.
USE YOUR LEFTOVER TULLE
We would gather up our leftover tulle pieces and make "Grab Bag" tutus from them. They were simply a mixture of whatever was left after we saved enough pieces to make a full tutus.
3. LENGTH: This is entirely up to you. The length of each piece of tulle (remember you need about 60 pieces) should be two times the length you want the tutu, plus twice the width of the elastic for a latch-hook knot and one times the width of the elastic for a square knot. That is because the tulle is wrapped around the elastic and knotted, so some of the length is lost. This is just a rough idea, you can cut one piece and tie it around your elastic to get a more exact measurement. Also, if you tie your knots tightly and smash your elastic, you won't need pieces as long.
LENGTH OF TULLE PIECES for LATCH HOOK KNOT
2 x (desired length) + 2 x (elastic width) = length of tulle pieces
EXAMPLE: Desired length is 12", Elastic Width is 1"
(2 x 12) + (2 x 1) = 26"
Pictures of Knots
- Latch Hook Knot method (on the left in above linked picture): knot part should face in. Fold the tulle piece in half forming a loop. With the elastic wrapped around something like a chair or paper towels or your legs (or in my case, knees) pass the loop under the elastic. Reach through the loop and over the elastic and grab the ends of the tulle. Pull the ends over the elastic, through the loop, and pull until the knot is snug on the elastic. Do not smash the elastic, you want it to keep it's shape. I found it easier to tie my knots against a surface rather than in a space like between my knees
- Double-knot method (on the right in the above linked picture): knot part should face out. Wrap the tulle around the elastic and match the ends with the elastic around the mid-point of the tulle piece. Pass the right piece over the left, pull tight. Then pass the left piece (which was the right) over the left, pull tight.
Do a little practicing and see which knot you like better. You can actually using a combination of knots. I have done multiple layer tutus using the latch-hook knot all the way around and then going back and tying square knots onto the tulle. I really need to get some video tutorials on here. It would be so helpful.
My elastic is rolling: Don't pull your knots as tight, put your elastic against a flat surface (like around your leg or paper towels) and tie your knot, use braided or non-roll elastic rather than knitted elastic. (See this tutorial, this is exactly how I make my tutus with the elastic around my leg: CLICK HERE
My tutu is not fluffy enough: Try a different knot than the one you are using, make sure your knot is turned facing the way we recommend above, use more pieces of tulle. Also, not all tulle is the same. sometimes--even the stuff I sell--is made out of different thread thicknesses. The more narrow the thread, the softer the tulle and ultimately, it won't wear well for long. It may be a little limp.
My pieces are uneven: Take care when you are tying your knot to get your pieces even, using a cutting mat with a rotary cutter to measure and cut your pieces.
- Use elastic for the waistband, not ribbon because ribbon doesn't stretch.
- Use stiff, quality braided or non-roll elastic, knitted it is too thin.
- Search YouTube for video tutorials. Don't pay for tutorials, there are a ton of free ones out there.
- Use precut 6" wide tulle because it cuts down your prep time.
- Stack all the spools for your tutu in the pattern order and cut them together rather than one at a time. If you are doing six colors in a tutu, that means you'll only have to make 10 cuts. Stack the cut pieces on top of each other so when you are tying you simply work your way through the stack.
- Use a mat and rotary cutter, it is easier.
- Use your empty tulle cardboard tubes to store unused colors. Stuff the pieces through the tube and straighten as much as you can. Label the number of pieces and length on the oustide. One tube can handle about 34 pieces of 6" tulle that have been stacked flat and slid through the tube.
- I can tie a child's tutu in about 15 minutes flat, that means I can tie about eight in the time it takes me to watch the Lifetime Movie of the Day. Just kidding, I don't watch that, but I can really do it in 15 minutes and you can probably do it faster once you get the hang of it.