How to Make a Halter Tutu Dress

How to Make a Halter Tutu Dress

Posted on 03. Oct, 2008 by Trish in Tutorial

Recently I was looking around the web trying to find free instructions on how to make a halter style tutu dress. I wanted to use it to make my daughter’s Halloween costume. I really couldn’t find anything, except a lot of other people looking for the same information! So I decided to post my own tutorial after playing around and figuring out how to do it.

1. First you need to decide how long to make the bottom part of the skirt. Using a measuring tape, measure from the chest where you want the dress to start, down to where you want it to end on the leg. Double that number. Then add one inch to one and a half inches depending on how big the elastic is that you use. (If you are using a thicker elastic, add the 1 1/2 inches. If it’s a thinner elastic, add one inch) This is to allow for the knot.

2. Then you cut your tulle in strips that are as long as the number you got in step one. I like to use the 6 inch rolls of tulle as opposed to the yard of tulle. It’s so much easier, and you can usually find it on sale at your local craft store. Now, for this one, I wanted it really full, and it was my first time doing it, so I ended up using 100 yards of the 6 inch tulle for the red, and part of one 25 yard roll for the green. After doing it like this, I think I didn’t need it quite as full, so I could have used less, but you will want at least 50 yards, if not more! (remember this is using the 6 inch wide rolls, so if you did use the tulle by the yard, you would have to cut it into 6 inch strips, then the length you want it)

3. Then you’ll want to decide how long too make the top layer of tulle, if you decide to use this. I think mine was a little long, but oh well, it was my first try! You’ll do the same thing figure out the length, double it, and add an inch to 1 1/2. Mine was 12 1/2 inches total, just to give you an idea. I think I would shorten it next time.

4. You’ll want to measure around the chest where you want the dress to start to figure out how long to make your elastic. I would take that measurement and subtract one inch from it. The elastic will stretch out as you tie the tulle, so you don’t want it too big. Then either sew the ends of the elastic together to form a circle, or if you don’t have a sewing machine and don’t want to hand sew, I’ve heard that you can staple the ends together. If you did this, I would make sure to put the sharp points out, so it doesn’t irritate the skin. You will be covering this with tulle, but still, just in case.


5. Then place the elastic around something, like a lampshade.   I used a CD tower, because I didn’t have any lampshades that were small enough. This makes it so much easier to tie the tulle on.

6. I gathered three layers of the red tulle for each knot, so after it was folded in half, there were 6 layers. I would try it with just two strips, and possibly even just one next time to make it a little less poofy. I only did 2 layers of the green. Now there are a couple of different ways to tie the tulle on. I did a square knot to tie it on, because I wanted to make sure it really stayed. Basically you just thread the tulle under the elastic and figure out where the middle is. Then tie a square knot. Here’s a great guide to tying a square knot. Or you can use this method as an alternate method to the square knot. It’s completely up to you. You’ll want to alternate the long tulle strips and the short ones, so here I tied the red, then the green, etc. I then pulled the red down, so the knot was near the bottom, and the green up, so it had two distinct layers.

7. Make sure you squish the knots together on the elastic, so you can fit more tulle on. You don’t want any gaps where you can see the elastic.

8. Keep alternating the short and the long layers until you have filled the elastic.

9. Then you take a piece of ribbon that is long enough to wrap around the neck and tie in a bow (I just estimated, but you can measure with the measuring tape, and then add an inch to 1 1/2 inches for the knot!) You will tie this on the same way as the tulle, and pull the knot to the top of the elastic, so the ends of the ribbon face up.


10. Voila! You are all done! You can add a bow or a flower at the base of the ribbon if you want by gluing or hand sewing it on. Or you can do this without the short layer of tulle, and then add flowers or ribbon around the chest line. There are lots of different ways you can customize this. You can even add a ribbon or belt at the waistline to make it look like an actual dress. Get creative!


I haven’t quite finished this for my daughter’s Halloween costume, so I will add pictures to my blog when it is all done. You could make the bottom layer of tulle orange and have a pumpkin, or make it in black and add cat ears. Or use any color for a princess. Let your imagination
run wild.

I have also written another post about a different way to create a layered tutu dress. Go check it out!

Please note that these instructions are for private use only! If you would like to use this to make dresses to sell or other commercial use, please contact me first to buy a commercial license! Also, please link back to me if you create your own and show pictures of it online. Give me credit for all my hard work! :) All images and instructions on this site are the copyrighted property of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls. It is illegal to save, copy, alter, or redistribute any images or instructions without my express written permission. All rights reserved.

If you have any questions, or like what you see, feel free to leave me a comment! Oh, and if you really like tutus, you will LOVE these tutu hairbow holders from Bambina Ballerina. Go check them out!

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