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Don't you just love it when your child's school give you two days to whip up a fancy dress costume?!
Here's a tutorial for a kind of layered, floaty tutu, that is perfect for fancy dress. I made mine in autumnal colours, so it's great for Halloween. I wanted to make the strips twist and twirl like falling leaves as they cascaded downwards.

Posted by Kathryn {Craft me Happy} from Melton Mowbray, England, United Kingdom • Published See Kathryn {Craft me Happy}'s 12 projects »
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  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 1
    Step 1

    Print out the 3 pattern pieces attached above, cut out the grey shapes and tape them together into one long semi-circular strip.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 2
    Step 2

    Fold your different coloured fabric pieces up as many times as possible, allowing you to cut out 8 to 10 pieces at the same time. I found the safest way to ensure that all of the fabric was under the pattern piece was to fold it over and under like a concertina.

    If you have a lot more time than me, you could cut each piece out individually, which would make more economical use of your fabric, giving you a few more strips to work with.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 3
    Step 3

    I would recommend cutting out 40 to 50 strips of fabric in as many different kinds of fabric as you can.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 4
    Step 4

    To prevent the fabric edges from fraying and to give the fabric pieces more volume, singe around all the edges with a candle lighter - of course this method is only suitable for nylon and polyester. Never try this with cotton or silk and always do a test sample first over a bucket of water! The net or tulle fabric doesn't need to be singed as it doesn't fray.

    The skirt could be made completely out of tulle if you prefer, but you would need a lot more fabric and a lot more layers to get a similar effect.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 5
    Step 5

    Once you've singed around all of the edges of your nylon and polyester fabric it's time to start assembling the layers. Before you start pinning, work out what your colour pattern is going to be. I had 5 different fabrics, all in varying quantities, so on a piece of paper, I made a note of the order I needed to arrange my fabrics so that I had an even spread of colour all around the skirt.

    Each piece is pinned to the previous piece at the straight edge. Overlap your pieces so that just a couple of centimetres is left exposed. Continue from left to right, staggering the overlaps until all of your fabric pieces have been used up.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 6
    Step 6

    Alternate the direction of the curve in the pattern pieces as you work your way along the skirt.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 7
    Step 7

    Here's a close up of the singed edges of fabric. You can see that the opacity of some of the fabrics means that you don't need nearly as much fabric, as you would with just tulle, to get quite a dense looking skirt.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 8
    Step 8

    To make the skirt a lot more solid looking I added a circle underskirt to the whole thing. To draw the pattern for my circle skirt I used this ingenious page by the Scientific Seamstress. It's brilliant! It allows you to print out lots of pieces of paper that all tape together to form a quarter circle of concentric circles. I worked out how large the circumference of the inner circle needed to be by loosely measuring my daughter's hips and then adding a few centimetres. From that I worked out what diameter the waist hole needed to be*. This gave me the size of the cut out hole in the centre. Onto that I added double the length that I wanted the skirt to be and this gave me the diameter of the circle I needed to cut out. I hope that all made sense!

    *For reference, the formula for working out the diameter from the circumference is :-

    Diameter = Circumference divided by Pi

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 9
    Step 9

    Once all of your strip pieces have been pinned together, run a long basting stitch across all of the pieces and remove the pins.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 10
    Step 10

    Now pin the fabric strips all the way around the edge of the inner circle. If your layered skirt is much larger than your inner skirt waist, use the basting stitches to gather it all in to the same size. By huge coincidence, my over-skirt was exactly the same size as the inner waist hole.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 11
    Step 11

    To make the waist band, cut 2 strips of ribbon the same size at the waist hole, with an extra couple of centimetres for folding over. Stitch them together along one of the long edges to form the front and back of the waist band. With the wrong sides together, fold along the seam and press the seam along the right side.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 12
    Step 12

    With the right sides together, pin the waist band into place, folding over the ends. Stitch the waist band into place.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 13
    Step 13

    Fold the waistband over to its correct position and pin into place.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 14
    Step 14

    Stitch the inside of the waistband into place by stitching as close as possible to the bottom edge of the front waistband.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 15
    Step 15

    Finally, using a safety pin, thread some elastic all the way through the inside of the waistband, try it on and knot the elastic at the point where it fits comfortable but snuggly.

  • How to make a tutu. Autumnal Cascading Tutu - Step 16
    Step 16

    There you have one swirly, cascading, floaty skirt, that any 6 year old girl would love!

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