11 May 2012

DIY: Tulle Ballerina Skirt

I (sorta) showed y'all how my homemade tulle skirt turned out, but now I want to show you how I did it. It took me about five hours spread over two days, so it's definitely not a wham-bam-thank-you-maam kind of project. I already had most of the stuff I needed, but I spent about $10 on the supplies I didn't have. Let's get started!

Step 1: Gather your supplies 
You'll need two yards of scrap fabric, seven yards of tulle, thread and 1.5" wide ribbon to match the tulle, scissors, needles, and a measuring tape. I also used my sewing machine for all the stitching. I do not recommend hand sewing this project as it will take you way too long. The yellow papers at the top of the photo were my quick sketches of what I was actually going to do. If I'd had a tutorial like this, I wouldn't have needed that!

Step 2: Cut layers of tulle to the appropriate size and length
I measured my waistline where I wanted the skirt to sit and added about 8" to that (the reason why is coming up). For the length, I measured the length of a skirt in my closet that fell right below my knees. The tulle I bought at Hobby Lobby was folded once, so I used that to my advantage. I basically cut two layers at a time. I kept trying to line up the fabric to make sure it was all even, but tulle doesn't really like to stay in place. If you're measuring each piece and cutting it all the same, they should be even. If they aren't, you can always trim it at the end.

Step 3: Cut a waistband from the scrap fabric to pin the tulle layers onto
I cut mine about 1.5 inches wide and also added about 8" to the length to match the tulle. You'll need extra length on the waistband for the next part so don't forget it!

Step 4 : Pleat the first layer of tulle about every 1.5 inches as you pin it to the waistband
I wasn't very accurate about this. I realized quickly into the project that tulle and I don't get along very well, so I stopped trying to be so precise and just went for it. I just made sure that there wasn't any extra tulle by the time I got to the end of the waistband. In case you don't know how to pleat, it's as easy as pinching the fabric between your fingers and folding it over to one side. Pleat until all the tulle from the first layer is pinned to the waistband.

(a view of the pleated tulle pinned to the waistband)
After you finish pinning the first layer to the waistband, sew it down. Then, repeat the pleating process with the next layer on top of the previous layer. So on, and so forth. Just be sure to sew on each layer as you go. 

(what it looks like after all the layers are sewed on to the waistband)

Step 5: Stitch the skirt together (inside out!) until about five inches below the waistband
Fold the skirt together with the side everyone will see on on the inside. It doesn't really matter which side you choose, at least in terms of the waistband because you'll cover it with ribbon (coming up). Sew from the hem to about four/five inches below the waistband. Don't sew all the way up because then you won't be able to get it past your hips. (Somehow, I almost forgot this part.)

Step 6: Pin and sew ribbon to the waistband
I didn't take a picture, but I sewed along the bottom edge of the ribbon to attach it to the waistband. You want to make sure the "scrap fabric" waistband is completely covered.

Step 7: Sew hook and eyes to the waistband 
At first, I only sewed one hook and eye onto the waistband, but it didn't seem like enough when I tried it on. I removed it and added two instead, which I think worked much better.

Step 8: Sew the edges of the ribbon
I probably should have done this before attaching the hook and eyes. I noticed that the ribbon was already fraying while I was working with it, so I figured it was a good idea. It also gives it more of a finished look.

A quick peek via Instagram!

These are some tips I'd like to pass on to whoever plans to try this:

You'll need a lot of space. I sat on my kitchen floor when I wasn't at my sewing machine.

I could've probably used at least two/three more yards of tulle to make it a little fuller.

Cats love tulle. Keep those kitty claws away while you're working on this.

Tulle is very sheer, so you'll need something to wear underneath. I'm planning to wear a white skirt that has some volume built into it.

You'll need a way to get in and out of the skirt, whether it's a zipper or hook and eye.

Beer and/or wine always makes DIY better.

I plan to take outfit photos with my new homemade skirt, but I haven't found the right occasion to wear it. They're coming soon, though!


  1. thank thank thank YOU for posting this! such a great tutorial. can't stand it. xo. 

  2. I love this idea! I've been wanting my own ballerina skirt!