Tutu dresses are constructed out of a sheer fabric called tulle. This fabric comes in a variety of densities and textures, from fine and soft, to slightly coarse. Satin lining has long been used to create comfort in garments with a rather rough texture to protect the skin from irritation. Tutu dresses for little ones will be especially improved with a small slip of satin lining underneath the tulle skirt.
Things You'll Need
1 yard of 1/2-inch- wide elastic
2 yards satin
25 yards of tulle
Large, empty plastic bottle
1 yard 1-inch-wide satin ribbon
Measure the circumference of the chest just underneath the bust line using a flexible measuring tape. Add 1inch to this measurement. Measure from just underneath the bust to the top of the armpit. Double this measurement. Measure from just underneath the armpit to the area on the body where you want the tutu dress to hit, for example, the knees.
Cut two pieces of elastic matching the chest circumference measurement using a pair of scissors. Pin the two short ends together to make a circle with each separate elastic using the extra 1 inch to overlap the two ends slightly. These two loops will remain separate throughout the project. Sew two the ends together on each elastic loop using a sewing machine.
Lay the satin fabric out on a flat, even surface. Mark out two matching rectangles using three-quarters of the chest circumference measurement and the matching dress length measurement to create the two rectangle shapes. Cut out both rectangles.
Place one rectangle right-side up. Place the second satin rectangle on top of the first with the right side facing down. Pin along the two long sides of the rectangles and sew together along the two long sides using a sewing machine. Fold up the edge along one open end of the sewn rectangles to create the hem. Use 1/2 inch of fabric. Pin in place and sew along the hem using a 3/8-inch seam allowance.
Place an elastic loop along the unfinished, open edge of the sewn rectangles. Fold over 1 inch of fabric to cover over the elastic around the entire top edge of the rectangles. Place the folded fabric on the sewing machine and sew along the raw edge of the fabric, pulling the elastic tight as you sew. Once you have sewn along the edge, the elastic should be encased in the satin fabric and the top of the slip should be gathered along the elastic edge. Turn the slip right-side out and set aside.
Cut out about 30 to 50 strips of tulle measuring twice the dress length measurement and about 2 inches wide. 50 strips will create a very full tulle skirt, while 30 strips will be slightly more relaxed. Cut another 30 to 50 strips of fabric using the doubled measurement from just underneath the bust to the armpit. Each strip should measure about 2 inches wide.
Place the other elastic loop around the body of a plastic bottle. Use a bottle that is wide enough to keep the elastic in place. Take a long strip of tulle and fold in half so that the two short ends meet. Push the folded edge up and underneath the elastic loop until the folded end sticks out about 2 inches. Push the two short ends through the loop of tulle sticking out and pull the two ends down and make the knot taut. Repeat with all of the long pieces of tulle. Create knots with the short pieces of tulle, placing each short piece in between the knots created by the long pieces of tulle. Direct the knots of short tulle to stick up and away from the long pieces of tulle to create the top of the tutu dress.
Cut out a yard of satin ribbon. Loop the ribbon around the elastic and in between the tulle knots. Make sure that both ends of the satin ribbon are even and tie a double knot to keep the ribbon in place.
Place the tutu slip underneath the long tulle pieces so that both elastic loops meet up and the satin sits underneath the long tulle skirt. Pin the top of the satin fabric to the tulle knots. Thread a needle and tack the satin slip into place using the top of the satin fabric and the tulle knots. Sew these tacks into place using an even basting stitch, which goes down through the fabric and comes back out, with each stitch measuring about 3/8 inch.
Place the tutu dress with the short tulle pieces facing upward. Tie the satin ribbon around the back of the neck.
Buy satin fabric that matches or emphasizes the colors of the tulle you use in the dress.