Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial


"A store-bought belt can obscure even the sloppiest of home-sewn waistbands." 
 ~Ancient Chinese proverb

DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial


As promised, here is the tutorial for the tulle skirt I sewed for Thanksgiving! I share this with you along with one major caveat: At no point during the making of this skirt did I actually know what I was doing. This will be painfully obvious to those of you with real sewing skills, so please feel free to use this as the most basic of guides and to improve on it any way possible. And I'm sure there are many ways.

Credits: My inspiration for this skirt came from a skirt in Anthro's winter line, and from this Etsy seller. The sewing process is a mix of tips from a great tutorial that this blogger put together, the YouTube videos here and here, and my own experimentation. 

What you'll need (total cost of materials was approximately $30): 

1. Tulle. For each layer of tulle on the skirt you will need a piece four times the length of your natural waist.  So if your waist is 25", you will need 100 inches per layer.  The minimum number of layers you want is probably four.  My skirt had 6 in total - four cream layers underneath and two espresso layers on top.  The tulle I purchased was folded in half on the fabric bolt, and folded was 27" wide, which was just a bit longer than the length of the skirt I wanted. So I measured out the length I needed for my waist (102" in my case), and then cut along the fold line which gave me two pieces that were 102" long and 27" wide.  I repeated that one more time for the cream layers, and once for the espresso layers, giving me a total of six layers of 102" x 27" tulle.

2. Lining fabric. 2 yards of off-white.

3. 4" satin ribbon for waistband. 1 yard.

4. A zipper in a similar shade as your lining fabric/inner layers of tulle.

5. Sewing machine. This could be done by hand, but would be really tedious.

Steps: 

1. Hand pleat each layer of tulle individually and secure the pleats with pins.  My pleats were approximately two inches wide with a .5 to an inch in between each pleat.  The pleating should look something like this, and does not need to be exact:


*Note - pleating each layer individually will result in a very full skirt (like mine). If you'd like yours to look more like the Anthro version, I'd suggest laying all the layers on top of one another and pleating all together.

2. Sew a straight stitch right above where you have pinned the pleats. You'll want to allow at least half an inch of tulle above the pins as you'll be sewing two separate stitches. The first - the straight stitch - will look like this:



3. Sew a basting stitch above the straight stitch.  To create a basting stitch, you will simply lengthen the stitch length on your machine to it's max allowable, and you will leave both of the ends of your stitch loose.  You will use the ends later to gather your tulle.  Once you've sewn your basting stitch, your tulle layer will look something like this:



4. Once all your layers have been pleated and each has a straight and basting stitch, you will want to gather each layer a bit more  so that it is just slightly longer (1" more)  than the the width of your waist. You will gather them by holding the bobbin (bottom) thread of your top basting stitch in one hand, and pulling the tulle down the length of the thread.  This preserves the pretty pleating detail, but makes the layers the correct length to go around your waist.

Then, you will sew each layer onto a piece of scrap fabric (I used some of the excess liner fabric) that is the same length as your waist measurement, and is approximately 3" wide. Start with your bottom layers and sew what will be the innermost layer (closest to your legs) to the bottom of the fabric scrap, then work your way up to the top layers. The tulle should stick out about half an inch (should be half an inch longer) on each end of the scrap piece.


5. Make the %$@&*! liner. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this step because by this point I had ceased thinking this was a "fun" project and had resorted to swearing at the dog and throwing things.  However, I used these two videos which explain the process far better than I ever could.  It really isn't difficult, it just requires a little patience.




Once your circle skirt liner is sewn, it will look something like this: 


6. Take a length of satin ribbon slightly longer than your tulle layers, and fold in half lengthwise and press with an iron.  Insert your layers of tulle (which have been sewn to the scrap fabric) between the folded ribbon, pin, and sew with a straight stitch to hide the scrap fabric and the tulle stitching.  Then, sew to the waistband of your liner, leaving about an inch of the tulle and satin free in back in either side of the liner zipper.  At this point, it will look like this: 



*Note - I didn't have ribbon at this point, so I had to use a strip of satin with unfinished edges that unraveled like crazy. Definitely use ribbon instead! I also sewed my zipper on backwards. At 2:00 a.m., I decided this was not a mistake worth fixing. 

7.  In the back of the skirt, you will have slightly overlapping, loose ends of satin and tulle.  Sew on a hook and bar closure to the ends so that they overlap so the liner doesn't show, and so the tulle makes a full circle. 



And voila! Pretty much done. And in the proverbial and very season-appropriate words of Chevy Chase ...

.... "Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?" ... 

If you had ribbon on hand and the waist did not look as messy as mine, you would be able to wear the skirt as is at this point.  Mine was obviously not as neat as I would have liked, so I simply wore I wide belt from Kohl's that I already owned over the waistband.  Also, at 27", the skirt was longer than I would have liked. I trimmed after it was assembled, but would highly suggest figuring out your length and trimming the tulle before you start sewing. On my skirt, the top espresso layers were cut slightly shorter than the cream layers underneath. 



DIY Tulle Skirt Tutorial


THE END. I hope this has been at least marginally helpful, and would love to know how it goes for you if you give this skirt a shot. Happy sewing!

...and should all else fail, I'll just leave these here ...
(click to buy)





Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and Because Shanna Said So
Signature

111 comments:

  1. I think you did an AMAZING job! And who cares about the band, it looks awesome! make me one!!

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  2. Hun, that is amazing. Like seriously. As if you did that, mine would never work out in a month of Sundays!!

    Lea x

    It's Such a Wonderful Life -

    http://shebeginstosee.blogspot.com

    Why not check out my Christmas Yankee Candle giveaway?

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  3. This is awesome, girl - you look gorge! I wish I had your sewing talent!

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  4. I am in awe that your skirt turned out so amazing.
    There is no way in hell I'd attempt this. Just the thought of it makes me a bit ill.
    I'm very impressed you were able to pull it off. Better still, no one but you will have that skirt other than you...backward zipper and all : )

    Bisous

    Suzanne
    http://bisous.typepad.com/bisous/

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  5. Even if your skirt looked like total crap (it doesn't) you had me sold at "ancient chinese proverb" and I would give this post a thousand thumbs up. Hiiiilaaaarious.

    Samantha @ Sam ipsa loquitur

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  6. I can totally realate to your sewing drama - so often I just make things up as I go, sew stuff backwards, inside out, upside down... got to love that seam ripper!


    But i think the finished product looks amazing, and with the messy bits hidden under a belt, totally flawless.

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  7. my comment died! lets try again:


    you look amazing in this outfit - that waist!!


    also, I will never actually make this skirt ( I would look ridiculous and I do not own a sewing machine and my mother is very attached to hers) but I read all of the instructions because of your comments. seriously LOL.

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  8. thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!! This is similar to what I want my bridesmaids to wear for my upcoming wedding! This is fantastic! You did a beautiful job! Thank you!

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  9. You look so great in that skirt, and you seriously can't tell that it's homemade. Color me impressed. I don't think I could ever make that myself. I suck at sewing anything.

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  10. Bonnie, have I told you that you are my favorite blogger? Infinitely funny, loads of style, and we were thinking the same thing about Anthro's tulle skirt. Of course, I always start off with saying, "Oh, yeah, that would be easy to make!" Yeah. Three months later, I've finally cut the pattern. lol . I've been sewing a few years, and I think you did an excellent job! (I mess up some of my clothes, but a little nip-tuck there (clothes, I mean, not me), and no one will ever know. :)

    By the way, the fact that YOU made it makes it infinitely better than buying it at our most-beloved Anthro store. :) I really do love that ancient chinese proverb--at first I thought really? Kohls? I didn't know that...oh, wait a minute! Geez, I'm so gullible.

    You've inspired me. I will start this weekend to start on something similar...hopefully, it'll be done by Christmas, or next Christmas. :)

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  11. This post made me laugh! All is well that ends well!

    xoxo, Julie @ OBSESSED

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  12. That is super cute! I want to find a tulle-skirt-wearing occasion just so I can have an excuse to make one!

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  13. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I wish I had your sewing skills! I can sew a button back onto a garment but that's about it.


    www.petitestyleonline.com

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  14. Oh my gosh! This looks incredibly amazing and I am super impressed that you did it yourself!!! Maybe someday I'll move beyond sewing pillows and make a skirt like this!

    brenna

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  15. That skirt is GORGEOUS! I wish I could sew so I could make one for myself!

    -Sharon
    The Tiny Heart
    Starbucks + Ad Space Giveaway!

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  16. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I've been wanting a tulle skirt for a while! It certainly looks like you know how to sew! (about how much did this skirt cost to make? I have no idea what fabrics and such cost! haha).
    ~Jessica

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  17. Jessica, you are so welcome! This it totally doable and I'm excited for you to try it! Seriously, my sewing "experience" consists of me kind of skimming my machine's owner's manual, and my engineer SO had to teach me how to thread the thing. ;) The total cost was right around $30!

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  18. Carol, that is truly all I could do, too! If you can use the basics on a sewing machine, then you can definitely do this.

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  19. Yes - no ending in disaster - this time. ;)

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  20. Sue, thank you so much - your comment seriously made my day. :) I can't wait to hear how it goes for you! I'm sure it will be gorgeous. And thanks for the encouragement! I just bought my machine a few months ago and the learning curve has been steep - I think I'm going to register for a basic sewing class in the new year. Best of luck to you and keep me posted!

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  21. Lindsay, thanks so much! It really was relatively easy - it's time consuming, but if you're interested definitely give it a shot.

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  22. Kaylee, you are so welcome! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

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  23. Thanks, Fran! Another Chinese proverb is that wide belts that you can cinch down make for small-looking waists. ;)

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  24. Thanks so much, Lyddie! I think the experimentation is half the fun. ;)

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  25. This comment made me LOL - thanks, Suzanne!

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  26. Thank you! And there was no talent involved .... just a lot of luck. And maybe a little wine. ;)

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  27. Woah love this! Have to try it myself :) <3

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  28. I am obsessed! I must do this...amazing!


    Check out my blog:
    www.thefashioncanvas.com

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  29. Oh man, this is fabulous and I can totally relate to the point you reach when it's no longer a fun project!!! I might have to try this out, if I have plenty of time and liquor to make it more fun :)

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  30. You look gorgeous!
    Ginny
    mynewfavoriteoutfit.blogspot.com

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  31. becauseshannasaidsoNovember 28, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Hush your mouth!!!!! This is glorious!!!! I absolutely am floored!!! You looks like something out of a fairytale!! High five for making it and looking simple divine!!! I am seriously in LOVE! You never cease to amaze me!! Thanks for linking up!!

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  32. I have totally been eyeing that skirt from Anthro- and I am definitely going to be forwarding this post to my mother (she is my seamstress)! hehe
    You are absolutely stunning in this tulle + lace outfit, and you're right, a belt can be magical!
    xx
    Here&Now

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  33. Fantastic DIY! I love it:)

    http://theprintedsea.blogspot.de/

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  34. You always look so polished and elegant and this is no exception - lovely tutorial!

    Sequins&Stilettos

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  35. This is so fabulous!! I found your comment on another blog that I follow and was immediately attracted to the name of your blog, being a fellow Wicked lover myself I knew your blog had to be "wonderful". And I was not wrong. This post is so great! That skirt is to die for and the DIY is really great. I am pinning this right now and I will definitely be following your blog from now on!! xx. Mckenna Lou

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  36. www.lynnandlou.blogspot.com

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  37. I love this! I can't believe you made it. It looks amazing!

    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

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  38. wow you are so talented :) love the way the tulle skirt turned out. it's so pretty and fairy tale-like :)

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  39. Omg, this is so gorgeous on you! I LOVE how the skirt came out. What a fabulous DIY! :)

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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  40. I wish I was crafty and brave enough to attempt this! I love the finished product but I don't think I could get through the making it process. lol

    www.daisyraeboutique.com
    www.kacieskloset.blogspot.com

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  41. The tulle skirt is so whimsical and beautiful.

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  42. Is the zipper sewn into the lining only?

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  43. It is - the tulle and waistband close via a hook and bar closure.

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  44. Thank you so much for swinging by and for reading! I really appreciate it. :)

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  45. That looks beautiful! I'm not sure if I can completely figure out how to recreate it--but I feel like trying!

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  46. Just found your blog! I'm hooked!

    http://theoccasionalindulgence.blogspot.com/

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  47. You look stunning! I'm in awe at how you did this and I'm actually trying it myself. I'm making an all white tulle skirt for my engagement pictures and covering it with a rhinestone belt. If it works, I'm making a black one, too! Thanks for the instructions and your inspiration.

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  48. Found you via reddit! Very beautiful outfit! Great work.

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  49. You are welcome - if you make the skirt, let me know how it turns out!

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  50. Thanks, Rachel! The videos are really helpful and it's nice to see the process in real time.

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  51. Well, if not helpful it was funny (actually it was helpful) thanks so much

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  52. ]I am making a Prom dress for a granddaughter, 6 layers of tulle for the skirt and camo for the strapless top, your dress looks very nice, good job!

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  53. You did an excellent job! Did you have to sew together the edges of the tule in the back or let them be?

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  54. Hi Sabina - I left the edges loose. When it is fastened, the layers overlap a little bit in the back so you can't really tell.

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  55. Hi Maud - I hope the skirt turned out well!

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  56. Love your sense of humor! I'm working on something similar right now, and found it helpful to buy a basic skirt from goodwill for the liner. It was only $4, so probably worth it even if your sewing skills are much more advanced than mine!!!! =)

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  57. Oh my gosh it's so cute!! I love it, I am wanting to make something like this for our vow renewal, and of all of the sites for "how to make a tulle skirt" yours looks like the winner! I have a feeling that the liner skirt will give me problems too! I loved that part of your tutorial! =) Thank you!

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  58. Mel, you are so welcome! What you are planning sounds absolutely gorgeous, and I'd love to see a picture when you're done!

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  59. I think that is a BRILLIANT idea! And could I go back and do this project from the beginning, I might have done that very thing!

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  60. Thank you, Mrs. B! If you give this a shot, please check back in and let me know how it goes!

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  61. Thank you, Cherene! Ha ha - anything that worked out correctly for me with this skirt was pure luck. ;) Let me know how it goes!

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  62. Thanks for the great tutorial! I made this skirt for Christmas and it turned out perfectly!

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  63. Haha this is a very good tutorial and made me laugh. thanks. Glad I found your blog.

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  64. How did you close the ends? I mean how did you stitch the two ends together?

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  65. Hi Saadia! By the two ends, do you mean how did I close the skirt in the back? I sewed a hook and bar closure into each side of the waistband where the two ends meet in the back. Once fastened, the tulle overlaps a little bit and you cannot tell that it isn't sewn together all the way to the hem in the back. Does this make sense?

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  66. You are so welcome, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!~

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  67. I'm so glad it turned out well, Emma! Come back and post a pic!

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  68. So beautiful! I'm making enhancing a dress I already own with this tutorial and its turning out great so far! Two questions though, how tall are you and how long did the skirt end up actually being? I'm 5'7" and I'm not sure how long I should make it..

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  69. Hi Holly! I'd suggest going off your waist to hem measurements - measure from your natural waist (or wherever the the waistline of your skirt will be) down to where you want the skirt to hit on your leg - then add a couple inches. You'll lose some length when you pleat the layers as they'll be puffier. My tulle started out 27" long from my waist to my knee - I didn't account for the couple extra inches (this is especially noticeable in the liner), and it ended up being a bit shorter than I would have liked. Good luck, and I'd love to see a picture when you're done!

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  70. Very beautiful! I love the different colors in the layers! So glad I found your site! Happy sewing!

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  71. I love it!! It looks like a sex in the city outfit. I'm thinking date night with my husband.

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  73. Thank you for this blog! So refreshing to see a tutorial with all the warts that come with being an armature clothing designer! I used this to help my 15 year old daughter to see that perfection is the enemy of art. Your outfit is beautiful! Thank you again for thx honest tutorial.

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  85. Gorgeous skirt, going to try and make it for my daughter but think I'll try putting elastic in the waistband. Thankyou so much for the tutorial. Love your honest description xx

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  89. I love the " Holy Shit where's the Tylenol"! 1. I am a seasoned sewer your directions are great. There really is no right or wrong way as long as you get the results you want. 2. Tulle is a bitch and the shirt looks great. 3. I love that movie (we see it every Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday) and I use that line VERY often and some times when a prohect ceases to be fun. Great tutorial. Beautiful skirt it looks great on you!

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  90. I tried making this skirt. I miscalculated and the lining ended up being short lol i only used 4 layers of tulle amd for some reason it is poofy-er than yours :/ great directions though! It was easy to follow.

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