Just Charlie G

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If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not in the slightest bit crafty, you may well also be aware that there are two words guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and those words are Fancy Dress. I neither have the skill, nor imagination to make costumes. For all occasions that require dressing up for either me or the kids, I’ve either bought something, borrowed something or the kids have gone in something they already own.

With world book week looming (which has now passed), I had a moment of madness and decided to make the girls costumes. I’d seen various mentions of no-sew tutu’s around on the internet and thought they sounded easy enough to make, and they were simple to make so I thought I’d share what I created, and my tips.

The girls both had different versions of The Secret Garden for Christmas and with the occasion being World Book Day, I had a vision of green tutu’s embellished simply for a themed costume.


For the making of the tutu itself, there are no sew options but I opted to make elastic waistbands, cut and measured, and stitched. I hand stitched and didn’t put any care into neatness as it would eventually have been hidden by tulle.

I had huge issues trying to find out how much tulle to order, not only am I useless with numbers, but it depends on the length you require and the size of the child, as well as how puffy you want the tutu to be and each site I looked at seemed to say something different. However, as a rough guide, Chloe’s skirt  (a tall age 8) used about 75 yards, while Lola’s (age 5) was about 50 yards. Although I usually would work in meters, I found that rolls were 25 yards long when I was purchasing. Do shop around, prices vary wildly. Laughably, I bought just one roll thinking I’d make two skirts out of it and had to do some hasty reordering. I bought 7 in total and have about half a roll left.

So once you’ve made your wasitbands its simply a case of cutting and adding your tulle.  You need to measure the length you want it to be against your child, then double it. So I wanted Chloe’s to be 22 inches long so I cut my strips of tulle to be 44 inches. To add them to your waistband, fold them in half and loop behind your elastic, threading the ends through your loop. It’s hard to explain and photograph but its so easy.

P1160707 P1160708Once thats done, all you do is pull that tight and move onto your next piece. And keep going until you’ve covered the whole waistband. I however ran out of tulle about a third of the way round my first skirt!

IMG_2231 P1160633I had to stop for a few days while I waited for another order to arrive but then both skirts were quickly completed.

P1160711 You can add more colours, and you can add more layers, by going around the waistband again, adding more strips of tulle between the existing knots on the waistband, but for our purposes the skirts were complete.

At this point I made the girls accessories for their costumes, after all, what secret garden is complete without flowers and a key! I I used fabric glue to apply the leaves but sewed the flowers on.

P1160715All that was left to do was add some embellishments to the skirts. I started by adding leaves and a little bow finished with a silk rose. All of which I stitched on by hand.

P1160717I bought a couple of felt robins which I quickly stitched together (as they came in parts) and glued to the tulle, using fabric glue. I wouldn’t recommend this, I should have stitched them on but they did manage to stay put.

P1160791The final job was to add a truck load of silk ribbon roses around the bottom of each skirt, although it was a daunting task, it really didn’t take much time, and I’d have like to have added many more for a more dramatic effect as the ones I added, despite using nearly 70, did tend to get a bit lost in amongst the voluminous tulle.

P1160790All that remained was for the girls to try them on!

P1160758 P1160760 P1160762

I just tied a bit of tulle around the girls heads to make hair bands and teamed with black tights and a black long sleeved tee and off they went. So simple to make and so effective! I’m already planning Lola’s birthday party outfit for the end of May, and if she’s having one then I know Chloe will want one too! Next time they’ll be My Little Pony themed!

Before I go, just a few tips…

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