How to Make a Filled Tutu

How to Make a Filled Tutu

Posted on 21. Aug, 2009 by in Tutorial

I tend to get a lot of tutu related searches on my site, thanks to my tutu dress tutorial, and my post on how to make a layered tutu.  One popular search is people looking for how to make a filled tutu.  I did a google search on that myself and didn’t really come up with anything, so once again I decided to make my own tutorial for you!tutu1

Materials needed:

  • Tulle from a bolt, not the roll of tulle
  • petals/flowers/some kind of filling
  • Ribbon or elastic
  • Sewing machine and thread

First of all, you’ll want to measure the waist of the child you are making the tutu for.  My daughter had a 21 inch waist.  Then depending on how full you want the tutu, you will usually want to triple that measurement to find out how much tulle you need.  This does not need to be exact.  I went ahead and just used 2 yards for my daughter.  Make sure you buy the tulle on a bolt, not the 6 inch rolls of tulle.  You can usually find this for about $0.99 a yard at any fabric store.step1

The tulle will come folded in half the long way.  You’ll want to unfold it and then sew the two short ends together.  So the ends where it was cut off the bolt.  This will make one big tube. Then fold that tube in half, making sure the seam is facing the inside of the tube.

step2Then you will want to fold that tube in half one more time to make a shorter tube.  On the top you should have the four layers of tulle folded over.  On the bottom you will have two layers that are not connected, and two layers that are connected.  In between the two that are connected is where we will be adding the filling.  You’ll want to make sure the two connected layers are on the outside of the tutu.


Next, you will pin the top layers of the tutu to prepare to sew the casing for the either the elastic or the ribbon.  If you use ribbon, it makes it an adjustable waist and can grow with the child.  The elastic can grow a little with the child, but not a ton.

I decided to use the ribbon, so I went ahead and sewed two button holes about an inch apart on the front two layers of the tulle.  Make sure you don’t sew them through all 4 layers of the tulle.  To do this, mark with a pen or marker where you want the buttonholes to be, and then unfold the tulle right at that spot and sew the button holes onto the two layers.  Please ignore the messiness of my buttonholes.  My machine is still in the shop and I had to use my old machine and I never got the hang of buttonholes with this one anyways.  They really won’t be seen either, so I didn’t worry about it.  :)  Just make sure the buttonholes are large enough for your ribbon to fit through.

If you don’t want to mess with buttonholes, elastic is the way to go.  You can just skip this step and move onto the next one.


Next you will sew the casing for the elastic or the ribbon all the way around the top, leaving a small opening to be able to insert your filling and your elastic.  I made mine about and inch and a fourth wide to leave plenty of room for my 7/8″ ribbon to fit in there.


Next you will add the filling into the tutu.  I am using flowers off of a lei I found on sale for a dollar.  I just cut the string and pulled all  the flowers off.  You can buy petals usually in the wedding section of any craft store.  Or you can get creative and fill it with anything you would like.  Just make sure it’s not smaller than the little holes in the tulle, or it will fall out.

This step is kind of hard to describe, but once you have your tutu in front of you it should make sense.  Basically where that opening is in the casing is where you will insert the filling into the outside layer of the tutu.  Remember how the bottom of the tutu had the two layers that were not connected, and the two that were?  Well you open up the two layers that are not connected and push the flowers through the opening into the two layers that are connected.


Then you will spread all the filling out so it goes all the way around the tutu.  (Ignore my pajama pants in this shot!  It was early and I hadn’t gotten dressed yet.  😀 )

If you are planning on using the elastic, now is the time to insert it.  You will want to cut the elastic one inch shorter than the waist measurement.  Take a safety pin and attach it to one side of the elastic and thread the elastic through the casing.  Make sure the other end of the elastic does not enter the casing.  Once you thread it all the way through, take the two ends of the elastic and overlap them slightly.  Sew the two ends together using a zig zag or a straight stitch, making sure to sew up and down it a few times so it will stay secure.  I recommend using the 3/4″ elastic.  If you are not using elastic, just ignore this paragraph.

Next you will want to sew closed that opening in the casing.  If you used elastic, then you are done!  If you are using ribbon, you have one more step.

step7Cut your ribbon about 2 1/2 times the length of the waist, and attach a safety pin to one end.  Using the buttonholes, thread the one side through the casing, and out the other buttonhole.  I like to cut the ends of the ribbon on an angle so it looks nicer.  Make sure you seal the ends of the ribbon or they will fray.


That’s it!  Now you can put the tutu on and tie the ribbon, and that will gather the waist.  Now you can spread the filling out a little more if you need to, and adjust the gathering so it is even all the way around.


If you are making this for a little baby, it might be too long using the width directly off of the bolt.  I would recommend measuring how long you want the tutu to be, and then multiplying that by 4.  Take that width and cut your tulle to match before you even start any of these steps.

Another thing to be aware of is that this is still pretty sheer.  I had my daughter wear shorts underneath, but you can make it fuller by making a regular tutu to put underneath.  Then you can change the look by adding different colors of tutus underneath.  To make a regular tutu, you can follow the instructions in my tutu dress tutorial, only measure from the waist instead of the armpits, and not doing the necktie or the shorter layer of tulle.


That is it!  It’s very simple to do, and really doesn’t take long at all.

Please note that these instructions are for private use only! If you would like to use this to make tutus to sell or other commercial use, please contact me first! Also, please link back to me if you create your own and show pictures of it online. Give me credit for all my hard work! :) All images and instructions on this site are the copyrighted property of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls. It is illegal to save, copy, alter, or redistribute any images or instructions without my express written permission. All rights reserved.

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21 Responses to “How to Make a Filled Tutu”

  1. […] if I keep going like this, I’ll have a range of sizes for dress-up things!  I followed the tutorial here for a filled tutu, hemmed the two outer edges with ribbon, added a waistband and elasticated ribbon […]

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  2. Linda

    11. Sep, 2011

    Thank you for posting this. I hope I will be able to make my girls Halloween costumes. I am a beginner sewer. Wish me luck or I will have to buy one online :)

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mel

    20. Jul, 2011

    Hi, I just came across this and love the idea. I’m thanking of making these for my daughters and some friends of theirs. Is there a way to adjust the length of the skirt? What is the length of the skirt that you made for your daughter? Is there a way to lengthen them for older girls (4-6 year olds)? Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I also love the one on tulle wands. Those are fabulous!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Megan

    01. May, 2011

    Ok so I have 2 questions…1- How the heck do you do the button holes on the tulle? I’ve tried over and over again with my machine and it just tears up the tulle! 2- How do you get the ribbon to stay stiff in the waistline? My ribbon keeps folding and it does not look good! BTW I LOVE all your tutorials. You’re amazing!

    Reply to this comment
    • Trish

      12. May, 2011

      It must be your machine. Mine has no problem doing a button hole. You could try putting a piece of tissue paper under the tulle, and then once you’re done sewing you can rip it off. As for the ribbon, all ribbon is different. I used a grosgrain, which is a little thicker anyways. A satin ribbon will probably fold up. You can also use spray starch on ribbon to help make it stiffer.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Christina

    08. Jan, 2011

    Thanks for your tutorial. You helped make my daughter’s birthday party just perfect. I used your wand tutorial and this one for the filled tutu. Incredibly cute. Thanks. I linked your tutorials on my blog.

    Reply to this comment
  6. LeAnne Enderle

    04. Nov, 2010

    Thank you so much for the wonderful directions. I got home from Hobby Lobby with tulle and I hope that I’d find some clever information on the internet. I cruised lots of places, but your pictures and explanation was the best. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. You have made one little 2 year old very happy. I also made her a tulle wand, thanks to you.

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  7. Thank you SOOOO much for this Tutorial! I have been drooling over some filled TuTu’s and didn’t know how to make them. I’ll be making these for my daughters’ next professional photo shoot on May 15th!

    Also, I have linked your blog in several posts from my blog, including this tutorial…

    Thanks a million!

    Reply to this comment
  8. Stephanie

    25. Jan, 2010

    I maed one of these last week with my left over tulle. I thought I saw the “how to” on here but forgot to ook so I winged it. Wish I had looked because sewing the elastic band on was so hard to do especially by hand.

    Reply to this comment
  9. april

    07. Oct, 2009

    Thanks so much for sharing. i have two little girls that would Love these. Maybe one day I will brave it and try it out.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Cheryl

    07. Oct, 2009

    Wow!! I wish I could do that, it looks awesome and Lauren would love it. Can I pay you to make her one?! 😉

    Reply to this comment

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