Sunday 28 October 2012

Big Tutorial + Giveaway - Easy Halloween Tutu

 - by Emi

So it's coming up to one of my most favourite times of year. Halloween.

Stephen and I are Pagans, so we celebrate Samhain on the 31st. Among other things, Samhain celebrates those who have passed on in the previous 12 months and on honouring them.This remembrance of the dead, combined with folklore telling us that they, and other less savoury creatures, are closer than we know at this time of year, has evolved into the celebration as we know it today.

My biggest bugbear with Halloween in that there seems to be an awful lot of girls who look like... well... my Nannan would use the word 'trollop'. Even worse, this state of (un)dress worryingly seems to be filtering down to young children's costumes as well.

Consequently, I think it's even more important to make your own costumes, if you can, giving us as parents a modicum of control over how sexual a costume our child wears. Don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of drunken Halloweens, dressed as a burlesque vampire, that's just not what I want my children to be wearing!

Today, I am going to teach you how to make your very own tutu! These are so super-easy, requiring little sewing skill (or none, depending on how you do it), and can be adapted for any costume or colourscheme, as well as for any child or adult (I can imagine my friend Arianne reading this blog post and doing some kind of high-pitched shriek at the thought of her very own pink, princess tutu!).

You're going to need a lot of netting for this, as well as elastic. I tend to buy rolls of soft netting in bulk for use within MamaPixie, so I used half a roll of green and half of purple that I had left over. The rolls are 6" wide and 25m long. If you don't have this, a trip to your local Boyes will provide a plethora of netting in a whole bunch of different colours. It's a little stiffer than the netting I used, but will work just as well. Having never made a tutu with the latter type of netting, I'm going to guess that you'd need 2 meters-ish for a child's tutu, less for a toddler or baby and more for an adult.

Now, you need to cut it into strips. I cut mine to about 60 or 70cms long, and 3" wide. This is quite a laborious task, so I did it with husband-made hot chocolate and ogled Bradley Cooper in Limitless whilst I worked! I did start off counting how many I cut, but Mr Cooper's beautiful behind was pretty distracting and I lost count.

You'll end up with a big pile of netting strips, like mine below...

We're now going to make the waistband. With the elastic, you'll need to measure your child's waist size and add on an inch. Cut the elastic to that length, form a loop overlapping the ends and sew together. I use 1" wide elastic. This one has an unstretched length of 20-ish", so will fit several inches wider than that. To give a frame of reference, this size is too big for my 13 month old Pixie, and fits with no stretch at all on 3 and a half year old Ru.

You could do this by hand if you don't own a sewing machine, though it would take you a smidge longer.

Then, we begin the most time-consuming part of this tutu tute, actually putting the netting onto the elastic.

Take a strip of netting, fold it in half. Pass the tail ends of the netting round the elastic and through the loop in the middle of the netting, pulling it tightly.

I then tied the two tails into a knot a couple of times. This doesn't make the netting stay on better, it simply makes a later step easier for you (you'll see what I mean!).

Repeat this step over and over... and over... and over... and over...

If you're using more than one colour, you can alternate the strips; I did two green, then two purple, two green and so on.

I don't know about your kids, but mine seem to really love 'helping' me. And by 'helping', I mean liberally scattering them across the floor and giggling manically whilst throwing them into the air. This activity was also shared by the cats, who really seemed to enjoy sliding across the floor and through the strips.

Eventually, kids and cats aside, your tutu will start to look like this...

Carry on looping the netting round the elastic until you've completely filled it. Then, if you want a flouncier tutu, add more! I usually find one layer to be sufficient for a child.

Now, you'll see there are still some white bits of the elastic showing through. If you don't mind that, then TA DAA! Your tutu is finished!

If you do mind it, grab a strip of netting, tie one end round the elastic and then begin to wrap it around. Because you tied the tails in knots earlier, it is now easier to see where you need to wrap the netting inbetween each knot. When you reach the end of your wrapping strip, tie on another and tuck the ends under to make it look neater.

And you're done!

It would be really easy to customise this, white for an angel, pink for a princess, rainbow for... a rainbow... You could also make your strips of netting longer for a longer tutu as well, which is what I'd advise if you were making this for an adult. You could also easily hand sew some little bat shapes on to make your tutu extra spookalicious!

And it's not even limited to Halloween either, tutus are a fantastic addition to any dressing up box. Ru loves the one I made for this tutorial so much that I'm having to make an exact copy for him! Tutus ain't just for girls!

So, to win the gorgeous green and purple tutu made in the tutorial today, simply leave a comment telling me your all-time favourite scary movie! The winner will be picked on Wednesday 31st October, using a random number generator.

"Yowling, prowling, growling cat
Why do you swish your tail like that?

Why do your eyes flash gold and green?
Could be--must be--Halloween!

Slinky, inky, blinky cat,
Why do you arch your back like that?
What scary creatures have you seen?
Could be--must be-- Halloween!"


  1. I'm not very good at scary movies, but I do enjoy the goofiness of Hocus Pocus, which is at least Halloween-ish. :)

  2. I was literally about to scream "I need a pink tutu!!" to Ron across the room when I saw my name in the sentence below and shrieked so shrilly he thought we might be being burgled/attacked, haha! Definitely want a pink one, definitely want a rainbow one! Thank you for this one! :-D

  3. I'm not great with scary movies - Labyrinth is about as scary as I get! Grace would love this - it looks faintly mermaid-ish, so might be compensation when she goes to my sister's wedding in December and realises she is going to be a bridesmaid, not a mermaid....

    1. Angie, Grace is going to be thrilled! You won the tutu! E, x

    2. Thank you! She is so pleased! Hasn't let us photograph her in it yet (she gets a little camera shy), but I will send you a pic as soon as she does.

  4. Ummm, used to be a real horror movie buff but seem to have lost my nerve since having children. I watched Children Of The Corn recently which still scared me to death, watched a Freddie Kruger film too which had me in stitches ... cant believe that used to scare me and my friends senseless. Anyway, hope my number comes up as I know Seren would love this ...

  5. I'm not good with scary stuff, so I choose not to watch anything scary as a rule. I have such a vivid imagination often thriller stuff is worse.
    So instead of the usual suspects the film with the scariest bit in it is Gremlins when they're all going 'Loopy' and they open a kitchen cupboard and put jumps a scary gremlin. Never fails to make me scream and jump. Ridiculous I know ;)

  6. I loved scary movies when I was a teenager - not so keen on them now though as I get to emotional and scared. The absolute classic, for me, as to be A Nightmare on Elm Street.

  7. I'm a total wuss when it comes to horror movies, but the film that has and probably always will terrify me is Roald Dahl's The Witches. That film gave me nightmares for years, and once when on holiday we had to walk past the hotel it was filmed I recognised it and ran past it shrieking. I'm sure it gave the other walkers out on the path something to talk about. After seeing the film I wouldn't read the book for many years, when I finally got round to readinging it I remembered why I had avoided it for so long.

    My girls would love one of these as they are both just starting to get into dressing up. I love all of your tutorials, I keep adding them to my crafty to make list. Which means that they might get a tutu by the time they are ohhh I don't know about 30 at this rate :)

  8. Am I I too late? with my child hat on:The last unicorn, scary as all hell. Adult: Bug by William Freidkin (sp?)


  9. Im definatetly not good at getting scared but I do love the original version of The Haunting. It just proves you don't need to see anything to be terrified!!!!! Great tutorial for us less useful on a sewing machine x x

    Laura T