By Brookelynn Morris
Forget wedding cake and champagne toasts and soup cans tied to the back of your car. Of all the classic wedding traditions, adorable flower girl ballerinas are the most essential. And they need pink sparkle tutus. Handmade pink fluffy ruffled sparkle tutus with giant satin bows. Pick the best shade of pink. Cut a million layers of tulle. And don’t forget tiny ballet shoes to complete the look!
This project is perfect for any child of any age, and you don’t need a wedding as an excuse. The materials are inexpensive, and while tulle and jersey aren’t easiest materials to work with, the ruffled edges and gathered drawstring are visually very forgiving and easily conceal mistakes. Plus, children don’t care if the edge is perfect. It was SO rewarding to see the look on darling Chloe’s face as she watched me make her tutu from scratch. She was much, much more grateful than the last recipient of one of my tutus, that’s for sure! She smiled and giggled and danced as I worked, and so did I!
1 yard of lightweight tulle
1/2 yard of stiff tulle
1/2 yard of sparkle tulle
1/4 yard of jersey
1 yard of satin ribbon
Cut the Pattern Pieces
Step 1: Start by measuring the waist. Chloe’s waist is 19″, so I rounded up a bit to 22. The first piece to cut is the jersey waistband. 22″ long, and 4″ wide.
Step 2: Choose a length for the tutu. Shorter is more playful, so we went with 8 1/2″. Cut 6 pieces of the lightweight tulle- make the width match the desired length of your tutu and make the length of each piece double the length of the waistband. Each piece I cut was 44″ long by 8 1/2″ wide. Cutting tulle can be a bit difficult, but because this is a fluffy, ruffly tutu, precision isn’t crucial.
Step 3: Cut two pieces of sparkle tulle to match the pieces in Step 2.
Step 4: Cut two pieces of the lightweight tulle for ruffles. Make each strip 1″ wide, and 5 times as long as your waistband. Mine measured 1″ by 110″
Stitch the Pieces
Step 5: Fill your sewing machine with thread to match the tulle, and set it to a very short straight stitch. The first step is to add the ruffles to two pieces of the lightweight tulle. Place the edge of the lightweight tulle under the presser foot, and then center the 1″ strip of ruffle so that it hangs halfway off the edge. To make a ruffle, keep the bottom layer of tulle taught, but gather the narrow strip on top as you sew. Just push the top layer into the machine with your fingers as you go, no pinning needed! After you make one ruffled piece, make the second in the same manner.
Step 6: Make a sandwich using the layers of tulle, but keep the sparkle tulle set aside. My sandwich looked like this: one ruffled layer at the bottom + two plain layers of lightweight tulle + the stiff tulle + two more layers of the lighweight + the second ruffled layer on top.
There are two ways that you can complete this step. Becuase I was nervous about making it perfect, I chose to fold and stitch my sandwich together, then sew it to the waistband. But, if you like, you can fold the layers of tulle directly onto the waistband as you sew, thus saving a step.
Step 7: Sew the sandwich of tulle to the inside edge of the wasitband. Work as closely to the edge of the tulle and the edge of the waistband as you can.
Step 8: After the plain tulle has been attached to the wasitband, add both layers of the sparkle tulle to the top. As in Step 6, you can either fold them and sew them first, or you can sew the sparkles directly down and fold as you go. Once the sparkle tulle has been sewn on, make “petals” by cutting slits up the layers of tulle. The cuts make all the difference in the volume and in how the tutu moves.
Step 9: Once all the pieces of tulle have been sewn to the waistband, trim any excess from the seam. Then fold the jersey in half, over the edge, and stitch it down. This creates a channel for the ribbon drawstring.
Step 10: Thread the ribbon drawstring through the waistband. I made a big knot in one end of the ribbon and pushed it through with a chopstick. Tie the tutu on with a big dramatic bow, and voila!