A few weeks ago, I had the sudden realisation that my daughter is going to grow out of wanting to dress up as fairy or a princess soon. So with her birthday looming on the horizon I thought it was time to have a go at making her a tutu dress.
I looked at lots of tutorials on the internet and decided to use a crochet tutu top as the basis of my design. The next step was to source my materials. Living in Australia, I wasn’t able to find the tutu top in store anywhere and had to purchase one online. The recommended rolls of 6 inch tulle were also difficult to find, so I purchased tulle by the metre from my local Spotlight store. As I was trying to match the colour of the tutu top and use the softest tulle possible, I chose bridal tulle for the dress. The bridal tulle doesn’t stand out in a puffy way but instead drapes nicely.
Step one: Lining the Top
My first step in creating the dress was to line the crochet tutu top. When I first tried the top on my daughter there were large gaps when it stretched out and the top was very see through. I remedied it by cutting up one of her old singlets and hand stitching it into the top.
When I hand stitched the singlet in, I turned the top inside out and placed the singlet right side up (so the backsides touched) over the top. As you can see in the photo below I used a cushion to help stretch the top out while I was sewing the pieces together. I also folded over the cut top of the singlet to prevent fraying.
Using pink thread I then hand stitched the pieces together using a ladder stitch, taking only material from the backside of the tutu top, so the thread didn’t show through on the front of the dress. I only attached the singlet to the top of the tutu top, the bottom was already hemmed and I left it loose, so it can sit close to her skin.
And here is the lined tutu top. The ribbed singlet stretches nicely with crochet and makes it comfier to wear.
Step Two : Adding the Tulle Skirt
The next step was to add the tulle. As I wanted the skirt to start from my daughter’s waist, I added the tulle to the top approximately a third of the way up from the bottom. Zoë wanted a longer dress so I measured the length from her waist to her lower leg and then doubled it to get the required length of tulle. I then cut the tulle into strips 15 cm wide.
Once the tulle was cut, I set about adding the tulle to the top. To do this I folded one tulle strip in half and pulled it through the top, down one hole and out the one underneath, this created a loop.
I then pulled the remaining tulle through the loop, creating a knot. I then repeated this process until I realised my 4 metres of tulle was about to run out. The skirt was also very thick and not see through at all, so I removed the tulle and cut two thirds of the tulle strips in half. I then added one 15 cm piece and two 7.5 cm pieces and followed this pattern for the rest of the skirt.
Tip: To help with locating the holes I stretched the top over a large cereal box, with the lining positioned out of the way.
The end result was a lovely thick skirt that wasn’t see through at all. I originally thought I would need to do multiple layers, but once finished I found one layer was enough. If I had used a different type of tulle I am sure I would have ended up adding more rows.
Step Three: Time to Decorate
Now it was time to decorate! My mum had very nicely made me some lovely chiffon flowers to sew onto the dress. They look so pretty around the waist and help to hide the knots. I then hand stitched some ribbon straps to the lining of the dress and tidied up the bottom of the dress, trimming some of the longer pieces.
Zoë’s birthday was on Monday and she absolutely loved the final result. I am pretty happy with it too! I might just have to make her another one…
- 1 crochet tutu top 10 x 8.5 inches
- 4 metres of bridal tulle
- 2 metres of ribbon (cut into 4 pieces)
- 1 ribbed singlet
- 15 chiffon flowers
- sewing thread
- sewing needle