Monday, June 8, 2009

How to Make a Tu Tu

Some people who frequent bazaars are just there to get ideas. Some are subtle about it and some just come right out and ask how to make something I'm selling. I thought that I mught get upset about their comments or questions, but I find that I'm not bothered by them. Perhaps it's just the teacher in me or the fact that most won't ever get around to making what I do. Anyway, I'm glad to tell them how to make something. Making a plain tote bag is the most simple thing I do, but after that, making a tu tu is probably next.

Here's how: supplies needed are cutting mat, rotary cutter, 3 to 6 yards of tulle, elastic, enough ribbon for both sides of the waist, and blossom petals if you want that kind. I find that I need to wait until tulle is on sale for 50% off, or I can't make anything on a $20.00 tu tu

1. Press the tulle first if it is wrinkled

2. Fold the tulle in half and then fold or roll the tulle carefully lengthwise into a bundle wide enough to fit on a cutting mat. A regular tu tu looks good with 3 yards, but a super full one could be 6 yards in each of 4 layers. That means that you will have to cut two sections . they can be the same colors or different. If you are making a rainbow tu tu, then you only want one layer of each of the 6 colors.

3. I like to use the scollaped blade of my rotary cutter. Trim one long edge of the tulle so all edges are even.

4. Decide how long you want the tu tu to be and cut off the tulle. I make a standard tu tu 18". If you are making a tu tu with blossom petals in it, then cut in from the folded edge.

5. For a standard tu tu, carefully place all 4 layers together so the edges are even.

6. I tighten the tension and lengthen the stitch regulator on my sewing machine and sew all 4 layers together. The machine will gather as you sew. You might have to experiment a little, as each machine and each fabric is a little different. You could also zig zag over a heavy thread and pull up the gathers.

7. The pre gathered tulle should be about twice the desired waist measurement.

8. Set your machine back to standard sewing and sew a length of ribbon along the gathered edge. This ribbon will be the back of the waistband.

9. For the front of the wasit band, you will want a section of ribbon as long as the back with enough extra at each end for ties. Find the center of each ribbon and pin them together. Sew the front ribbon on to the tulle at the top edge first. Then sew along the tulle edge.

10. Cut a piece of elastic (the width will depend of what ribbon you've chosen) 1 to 2 inches shorter than what you want for a waist measurement. Using a safety pin at the end, push the elastic through the ribbon casing you've created. Be careful when you get to the end of the elastic so you don't pull it on through!

11. Sew both ends of the elastic to the ribbon, tucking in the raw edges of the back ribbon as you sew.

12. Trim the tie ends on a slant and use Fray Check to seal the edges.

If you are making a blossom tu tu, here is what you do:

1. press and fold the tulle as described above.

2. Open up the tulle to one thickness, but make sure you can see the fold line. I use a sheet of plastic over my table before placing the tulle on it so I can glue and not make a mess.

3. Use a high quality fabric glue and put a dot of glue on the back of a flower petal. Place the flower petals mostly just at or above the folded edge, but some can be scattered through out the skirt. Allow to dry.

4. Then the glue is dry, take the tulle to the machine. Fold the cut edges wrong side out and stitch a seam so the petals will stay in. Turn right side out.

5. Add some loose flower petals in also.

6. Sew the waist band as described above.

Variations: 1. Use fabric to make a "real" waistband. 2. Decorate the waistband with flowers or jewels. 3. Sew on a narrow ribbon over the wider ribbon before attaching the two layers together. 4. Add in other decorations to a tulle "pocket" instead of flower petals. 5. used the rolled hem attachment on your serger on the edges of the tulle. 6. Use a sheer fabric for the top layer that you have finished with a decorative stitch. 7. Sew roses or other decorations on the tulle. I would be glad to send you more pictures and information.