Tutu Dress Tutorial–(Halloween Style)

When Princess M turned 3 I decided to throw her a Princess type bash, with all the girls fully outfitted with Princess Tutus of course!.  I get emails often asking how I made those dresses so I thought I would share with everyone my fun Tutu Dress Tutorial.

Again I searched and searched for an online tutorial but could not find one. There are a ton of no-sew tutus out there but I wanted something different. I bought a couple of patterns but after staring at them for days I ditched them and decided just to tackle this one on my own.

It’s a simple concept, not finished off perfectly but it gets the job done and of course my girls love them!

For this project (and a few more that I will share at the end of this post) I had a lot of leftover fabric and supplies from this craft show so I thought I would put them to use.


  • Long wool socks for inspiration
  • 4 yards of Tulle
  • Plain t-shirt or you could even upcycle a current t-shirt
  • 1/4 yard of coordinating cotton fabric for applique
  • Stabilizer (my preference is Heat Bond but Steam A Seam works well too)
  • Scissors (for paper and for fabric)
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine

Part 1—Making Your Appliqué:

First create your template. I usually just “google” what I need and find something simple. You can also create something in Microsoft word, using clip-art. Or you can even buy ready made templates on Etsy for pretty cheap.

Cut out your template using your paper scissors. (I used to get yelled at for using my mom Audrey’s good scissors, I never understood what the big deal was, now I know why.) Sorry Aud! 🙂

Attach your template to your heat bond. (Hint: most good appliqués are mirror images but if they are not pay close attention to this part and which side you should place your template before cutting.)

Cut out your appliqué.

Iron your appliqué fabric prior to use.

Peel off the back side of your appliqué heat bond template.

Attach to the wrong side of fabric and iron down.

Cut out your appliquéd fabric with your good scissors. (It’s now safe to use your sewing scissors).

Admire your work.

The heat bond is double sided, remove the paper backing from your new appliqué.

Position it onto your shirt and iron down.

Accessorize more heat bond appliqués in coordinating fabrics, if necessary.

Stitch down your applique to the shirt. I prefer to use a straight stitch, I like the way it looks, but some people prefer to zig-zag their appliqué.  Remember this is free-spirited sewing, there is no right or wrong. In fact the heat bond is a “no-sew” version, you can even get away with just ironing it on if you like.

I added a cute bow to bring out the girlie effect but that’s just me (mom to 2 girlie girls)!

Part 2–Making The Dress:

Find a large location where you can lay out your 4 yards of Tulle and fold in half. Tulle can be very slippery so you might even want to pin as you go or recruit some help!  Also, it helps that you keep it in good condition after you leave the fabric store and not let it get into a crumpled mess like I did.

Fold in half again and pin down. My large location was in our entry way (while construction was going on in our new mudroom).

Hence why you see lots of dirt.

Next fold the entire the in half from end to end (width wise) and cut in half.   Does any of this make sense or have I lost you?

Now you have 2 strips with 4 layers. Comprende?

Now you need to separate the layers. Our goals is to have 4 strips with 2 layers. So take each of the 4 layered strips and cut along the folds to separate.

See now you have 4 perfectly cut and flat (ahem!) strips of tulle that are 2 layers each on your very clean work space of a floor.

Gathering our layers—Sew in a straight stitch across each layer (DO NOT backstitch), you will see why in a second.  Some people sew 2 straight lines but I found for this project you only need 1.

Separate out your threads and find your top stitch. Or in free-spirited land pull on both and see which one will actually gather.

Keep pulling your thread gathering up the fabric, slide the gathers down to the end. Oh, you may want to tie a not on the end so your gathers don’t fall off and you have to start over. Also, don’t pull too hard or your thread will break and you will have to start over (NOT FUN!)  Repeat these steps until all 4 strips are gathered and ready go. How much gather you ask?  Just eye ball it in free spirited land, it will need to be big enough to still wrap around your appliquéd shirt.

Lay your gathered strips down onto your appliquéd shirt with your tulle facing the wrong way (technically it would be right sides together).

Repeat until all 4 layers are added, now you have a nice full tulle skirt ready to be attached.

Carefully pin down to your shirt.

Flip it over and make sure you have caught all of your tulle layers. Again, tulle can be very slippery and it’s easy for it to slide out of place.

Shove your overly poofed tulle skirt into the sewing machine. Carefully pull on the shirt part to the left to make sure that it’s nice and flat and that you are not catching parts of it in your skirt (only the part pin down). Sew a straight stitch around your entire skirt, backstitching as you go for reinforcement.

Double check your dress that you have removed all pins, fashion up a hair bow and some fun socks and you have an instant Halloween Tutu Dress!

I hope you like the tutorial and I hope you give it a try! Stay tuned till Tuesday, I will be doing my FIRST ever giveaway….hint, hint…it involves some tulle!