No prizes for noticing that a certain By Hand member hasn't quite grasped the concept of less is more... it shouldn't come as a surprise then to learn that Elisalex's favourite time of year is right now! The party season presents an excuse like no other to pull out all the stops... top of Elisalex's party priorities list is to get that vintage ball gown dry cleaned, shine up the heirloom diamonds, stock up on lavender hair dye, and, of course, gather layer upon layer of tulle to make the flouffiest, pouffiest fairy princess tutu there ever was. You know you want one too... here's how:
You will need:
- at least 6m of tulle/netting, 55" wide - this will give you 6 layers for your skirt - it's a good idea to check before you buy how sheer this will be, and get more if you need!
- a sturdy woven fabric for the waistband - we used shantung silk
- matching thread
- fabric scissors
- 2 hand sewing needles
- a sewing machine (which probably goes without saying...!)
Begin by cutting the tulle in 2m lengths. The standard nylon netting comes in 55" widths, folded in half lengthways on the bolt. We found that this folded width was pretty much perfect for a knee-length skirt, meaning that our 6m gave us six layers of 2m each. We used six layers of a plum tulle and added two extra layers of star-print tulle from another skirt Elisalex made a few months back. If you're going for a maxi tutu (oooohhhh a maxi tutu...), you'll need more yardage to make up the layers.
Layer by layer, sew up the back seams, leaving 20cm free for the opening. Instead of seaming with right sides together as you would normally, we used an overlapped seam in order to reduce bulk - no pressing of seams open here as the netting would melt! To sew an overlapped seam, simply pin one side over the top of the other and using a wide zigzag stitch, sew down the middle of the overlap.
Position the layers one inside the other, matching back seams. Pin along the waistline, securing all layers together.
Gather the waistline: thread up your two hand sewing needles and knot the ends together, to each other. As the holes in the netting are bigger than any knot you could make in thread, you need to knot the two lengths of thread together to secure the gathers. Gather the waistband by sewing two rows of running stitch parallel to each other and gently push the fabric towards the knotted end. Secure when your gathers are evenly spaced and equal your waistline measurement. See our gathering tutorial for a more detailed explanation.
Make and attach a waistband. We decided to make an extra long waistband that could be tied in a bow in back. This not only compliments the overall concept of a tutu, but nicely hides the 20cm opening. You could of course insert a zipper into the outer layer, but we decided against this as it would have been a bit unsightly. There are enough layers though that the opening is completely unnoticeable. The only thing left to do now is try your tutu on and give the hem a little trim if necessary.
As well as being the must-make party skirt for any self-respecting lady, this tutu would also be an amazing present for a little girl - just make it mini!