How to Make a Tutu That Sticks Out Straight

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The style of tutu that stands straight out from the waist is called a pancake tutu.
The style of tutu that stands straight out from the waist is called a pancake tutu. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Professional dancers and costumers may spend hours or even days hand-stitching individual layers of tulle or organza into an exquisite tutu. Claudia Folts of Tutu.com makes tutus for some of the premier ballet companies in the world -- these can have a dozen layers with delicate decorations stitched in and command prices of $2,000 as of 2011. You can make your own more quickly and much more affordably using a simple knotting technique. You don't even need to know how to use a sewing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1 yard of 1/2-inch elastic
  • 8 yards of 6-inch-wide nylon tulle netting
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread

Measure the waistline of the person for whom you are making the tutu using a measuring tape. Cut a piece of elastic two inches smaller than the waist measurement.

Unroll 8 yards of nylon tulle netting from the roll. Cut this into 20-inch pieces.

Use three pieces of netting at a time. Holding the three pieces together, fold in half to make a loop at the fold. Lay the loop on top of the center of the elastic. Pull the ends of the tulle up and under the elastic and straight out through the loop. Pull the knot very tight around the elastic.

Continue making tulle knots as in Step 3, placing each knot flush against the previous one. Continue until the entire elastic is covered with tulle knots, leaving one inch visible at each end.

Stitch the ends of the elastic together with a sewing needle and thread, overlapping them by 1/2 inch. Stitch repeatedly so they do not come undone. Make one or two additional knots of tulle to cover the stitched elastic.

Fluff the tulle out from the waistband to make it look fuller. Trim uneven edges if desired.

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