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A tutu can be used for a ballet dance recital, a Halloween costume, a gift, or to use as part of a wardrobe. Tutus can be expensive, so making your own can save you money and time. To make a tutu, you'll only need tulle and elastic. You won't even have to use a sewing machine for this process.

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Types of Tutus

There are five types of tutus: pancake, romantic, bell, platter, and powder-puff. A pancake tutu is extremely short and comes out straight from the hips. A romantic tutu is long flowing and has five or six layers that reach the mid-calf. A bell tutu is short, stiff, and shaped like a bell. A platter tutu is somewhat similar to the pancake tutu, but instead, it has a flat top and is decorated. A powder-puff tutu moves with the dancer, and it does not stick straight out.

The girl in the hat runs across the field with her hands to the sides, the skirt fluttering in the wind.
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How to Make A Tutu Step by Step

1. Measure the person's waist and subtract four inches from that size before cutting.

2. Fold the elastic so that the ends meet and pin them in place.

3. Cut tulle strips double the size of the desired length.

4. Put the U-shaped loop on top of the band, fold the U part under the band, and then through the hoop.

5. Make a knot and pull it tight.

6. Push the knots together to give you more room to add tulle.

7. Repeat until the elastic is full.

colorful fun children's skirt tutu for a holiday party
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How to Stiffen A Tutu

To stiffen a tutu, dampen it with water or spray it with spray starch. Make an even layer over the entire tutu, hang it upside down with a hanger, and leave until it dries completely. The hanger will help the tutu to stay straight and will create the angular effect that tutus have.

Close-up. hands ballerina on a background of white tutu.
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Different Types of Fabric

There are many fabrics to choose from when creating a tutu, such as tarlatan, muslin, silk, tulle, gauze, and nylon. Muslin is good for making the tutu decorative; tulle is lightweight; silk is soft and pliable, and gauze fabric has a lot of volume.

High angle full frame view of little girl's pink, purple and yellow tutus in a pile
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How to Clean A Tutu

To remove tough stains and odors from the tutu, mix high-proof vodka with water and combine it into a spray bottle. Spray it onto the tutu where it's dirty and it will clean it without leaving a scent behind.

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Avoid These Mistakes

To avoid an unflattering tutu, pick colors and styles that agree with the person wearing it. The taller the person, the longer the skirt should be to accommodate their height. The materials must be measured correctly as well.

Little girl in colorful tutu skirt standing on green grass while holding magic wand
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The History of A Tutu

The first romantic tutu appeared in 1832 and was worn by Maria Taglioni. There are three parts to a tutu--the bodice, the basque, and the skirt. The tutu must hug the person's body and allow them to move freely.

Group of ballerinas in white Chopin tutu synchronized dancing on stage.
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How the Tutu Changed

It wasn't until the 30s and 40s when ballerinas stopped wearing the long tutu and changed it for a shorter version of it, what we now know as the classical tutu. Mikhail Fokin was the first person to have ballerinas wear tutus in his performances.

Dancers in white tutu synchronized dancing on stage.
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Uses for A Tutu

Ballerinas mainly wear tutus during a performance, but there are other uses for a tutu. You can use it for dress-up, a birthday party outfit, or as a dress or skirt, depending on the length of the tutu.

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Fun Facts

    • To help a tutu stay stiff when it's not being worn, hang it upside down.
    • In the 1940s, a wire was added to the inside of the tutu to expand it at the hips.
    • It takes about 100 yards of tulle and 40-60 hours of hard work to create a tutu.

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