I have been wanting to show you how to make one of these cute tulle tutu tee shirts for a while and thought that Halloween would be a good time to share this idea. My youngest daughter, Robyn, had one of these when she was 5 and she insisted on wearing it everyday for months ...
Here's my little princess at age 5! Robyn is almost 13 and we still have the original tulle tutu tee shirt hanging in her bedroom.
What I loved about this is that the tulle tutu is sewn directly onto a plain white tank or tee shirt so it is one piece! The tee shirt can be worn with a pair of shorts or pants depending on the weather. This is a great project for a Halloween costume for a child, teen or adult. But I can also see making these for all of the guests at a princess or dance themed birthday party.
Before I show you how to make these, I am going to warn you that this project involves sewing! If you don't like to sew please keep checking this blog because I will show you how to make a "no-sew tulle tutu" in the near future.
So here's how I made my tulle tutu tee shirt ...
Gather your materials: tulle (mine was 18" wide), white cotton tee or tank top, sewing machine, white and brightly coloured thread, scissors, ruler and or measuring tape, pins. I also used a quick disappearing ink fabric marker to make sewing a breeze.
Note: 12" wide tulle will also work for this project because we are folding the wider tulle.
1. Measure and cut tulle. First you will need to measure your tee shirt to find out how much tulle you will need to cut. The tulle will be sewn to the tee shirt at the waist so you need to measure the tee shirt in the waist area. If your tee shirt has a lot of stretch, try to stretch the fabric a bit when you are measuring.
I measured the front of my tee shirt (10") and multiplied that number by 2 to get a total tee measurement of 20". You want your tulle to be very full so you need to double (for me that was 40") or triple (again for me 60") your overall tee shirt measurement depending on how full you want to go. I only doubled my tulle measurement for the sample I am showing you but I think that the next one I make will be tripled.
I used 18" wider tulle and cut two pieces of tulle that measured 40" each.
Note: If you are using 12" wide tulle you will not fold the tulle. And you will need to cut 4 lengths of tulle not two.
If you are using the wider tulle as I am you will need to fold your tulle in half length wise to find your centre point. I found it helpful to use a quick disappearing ink fabric marker to draw a line on the fold of the tulle. Pin the two layers of tulle together. If you are using four pieces of 12" tulle, you do not fold the tulle - but you can pin the tulle layers together at this point.
2. You will need to sew the layers of tulle together so that you can add gathers to the tulle. It is normal to do this with two rows of thread but I found that by using a heavier weight, brightly coloured thread on the tulle that I only needed one row of stitching. This thread will be removed at the end of the project so by using a bright colour it will be easier to see. If you use your sewing machine for this step (which I did) use the largest straight stitch you can. Stitch directly on top of the line (middle point of the tulle) that you just drew with the fabric marker.
Note: 12" tulle will need to be sewn about 1/2" from the top of the tulle to create your gathering stitches.
3. In photo three, you can see that I have gathered the tulle. To create the gathers I pulled the top thread so that the tulle would pucker. You want to do this with the thread so that the tulle is evenly gathered. Be very careful not to break the thread as you are pulling it to create the gathers!! The final measurement of the tulle along the stitching will be the measurement of your tee shirt (for me that was 20"). Knot the brightly coloured threads at each end when you reach the required length so that the gathers will stay in place. You may need to go along the stitching to make sure that the gathers are evenly spaced.
4. Now the tulle is ready to be sewn onto the tee shirt. I found it easier to mark on the tee shirt where I was going to sew using the fabric marker. Remember the tulle is going to start at the waist area. Now line up the tulle so that the brightly coloured stitching for the gathers lines up with the line you drew on the tee shirt. You will want to start at the middle front of the tee shirt and line up the middle of the tulle. The two ends of the tulle will end up at the centre back of the tee. You will have to carefully pin the tulle to the tee remembering to stretch the fabric slightly as you pin.
5. Once the tulle is pinned in place and you are happy with the way that the tulle is gathered it is time to do the final sewing. This time you will use a white thread so that your stitching is not seen. Stitch using a normal stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine and stitch right on top of the coloured thread.
6. Once you have finished sewing you will need to carefully remove the coloured thread with a seam ripper or pin. And now your tulle tutu tee shirt is ready to be worn!
As I said at the beginning of this post ... I think that this would be sweet as part of a girl's Halloween costume.
There are still about 15 seats available for the Halloween workshop that I will be hosting on Thursday October 4th, 2012 at the Toronto Creative Bag store. This project will be on display and you can see it up close as well as the other projects that I have been working on. If you are interested in attending just send me an email and I'll add your name to the list. You can find out more about the workshop by clicking here.