Home Arts & Crafts DIY No-Sew Tutu Flower Girl Dress {Tutorial}

DIY No-Sew Tutu Flower Girl Dress {Tutorial}

by Leanne

Planning a wedding and thinking about a tutu flower girl dress?  These little beauties came about as a necessity as we were trying to clothe 4 flower girls for my cousin’s wedding and not finding anything that had the style or price tag we were hoping for.  I had never made a tutu before, so admittedly I was a bit over my head trying to make 4 in a short amount of time. But, even with a tight timeline, I think they turned out pretty cute. 


Flower girls
And, apparently you guys agree, because I had such an overwhelming plea for a DIY tutorial post that I have gone back and written down each step as best as I can so I could share with you.  Keep in mind that these dresses can be customized many, many ways and that it’s really hard to mess this style up – so have fun with it and don’t worry too much about the details – trust me!

Here’s what I needed for each dress:
1 elastic headband
5+ yards of 60” width tulle in 1 or 2 colors – extra tulle just makes it poofier!
1 flake flower bloom
1 pin backing
1 tank top
1 pair of capri leggings
Scissors
Hot glue gun {to attach flower to pin}

What you need
{I apologize for all the small pictures in this post – it was hard to fit all the little steps in and show them properly. If you need to see closer up, you can click on any picture in this post to make it larger}

Start with a multi-hole elastic headband {you can find these at $1 stores, craft stores, and more}.  If you are making it for a thinner toddler as I was, you will need to cut it and tie a knot in it or sew it smaller as it will stretch a lot as you tie the tulle around it.  When you pull it taut it should be a few inches bigger than your little one’s waist.   Alternately, you can buy the headband elastic at most fabric stores and you can simply cut it and tie it up. 
Tying up the headband
Next, you cut up your tulle into strips.  You can buy the tulle on a 5” or 6” roll, which is more expensive, but ultimately would save time as you only need to cut each strip width-wise {and even faster if you follow this tutorial}.  I bought the tulle on a bolt and it actually worked perfect because the 60” width was folded in half before being put on the bolt so I just had to cut 30” to make each 60" strip.  If you really want to save time you can fold the tulle in half again so you only have to cut 15” to make each strip.  


Cutting the tulle using the wood floors
My other big time saver was that I realized I could use the boards of my wood floors as a cutting surface to give me a straighter line while cutting the tulle into 4 ½” strips.  While messy strips wouldn’t really be an issue since they would blend in with the dress, I still wanted the strips somewhat uniform and the floorboards worked perfect.  Also, instead of cutting all the tulle up at first and ending up with a messy pile of strips, I preferred to cut maybe 20 strips at a time and then cut more as I needed them. 


Fold tulle in half
Now you’re all ready to add the tulle to the headband.  This works easiest if you have some sort of dress form, stool, or tube to place your elastic on.  I didn’t have any of the above, so I improvised and used my thigh as the “mannequin” and it actually worked quite nice.  To tie the tulle on, you fold the tulle in half and place the middle fold under the elastic band and through one of the bottom holes of the headband, making a loop.  Pull the tail of the tulle through the loop and secure into a knot and you have your first piece done.  

Attaching the first tulle row
Work your way around the headband using this same tie method until you meet up with your first tied piece, alternating colors if you'd like.  For the second layer, I simply shifted each color over one and did the top row like my first, creating a checker board type effect.  You can either use this method or you can use two different colors for each layer to give a stronger color and a complementary layer – the great thing about this tutu is you really can’t make a mistake!


Attaching the second row of tulle
Once the tutu has two {or more} layers and you are happy with the poofiness of your skirt, you can do all the finishing touches.  Since my dresses were for a wedding and I didn’t want the elastic of the headband to show at all, I took two extra strips of the blue tulle and simply wrapped it around the headband in between the tulle strips I tied and then secured it with a knot around the headband.  If you don’t mind the headband showing you can skip this step, but I thought it gave a more finished look to cover it. 


Wrapping the headband
A few days of working through nap time and I had completed the main parts of each of the tutus and just had the details to figure out.  Once I realized that the tulle might be scratchy against the kiddos skin, I knew they needed an under layer and then the question was what would still look nice for the wedding while being comfortable for 4-5-year-olds to move and dance.

I decided a spaghetti strap would be best, but in searching for tank tops or slips in either blue or ivory I wasn’t finding much I liked.  So, instead of wasting my time sewing one up, I went to the kids department and got some basic white undershirts and capri leggings and then dyed them navy blue myself.  If you’re lucky enough to find a decent tank top and capri that match your tulle, you can simply use those and save yourself some serious time. 

Once you have your tank top, it’s time to tie it to your tutu to make a dress.  Since the tulle skirt is lightweight and easy to hold up, it really only needs to be secured to the tank top using more tulle.  I cut a strip of tulle into 4 equal pieces to tie the skirt to the tank top straps with a simple knot {leave a little bit of room in the loop for the next step}, but you could use a bow or any flourish you would like… or you could {gasp!} sew it using a few simple stitches. 

Attaching the tank top to the tulle skirt
Now that the tank top is tied on, it’s just a matter of blending it into the dress, which you can do with just a few more strips of, you guessed it, tulle.  To help hide the tank top from peeking out the top of the tutu, I used a double thick strip of tulle and looped it through the 4 ties connected to the tank top to make a “sash”. I then completed the sash by tying it into a big bow in the back for a more finished look. 


Tulle Sash
All that was left after the tank top was attached and hidden to my liking was pinning a flower to the front of the dress through the tutu itself, the tulle sash, and the tank top to keep the layers together in the front.  Since the orange color of the wedding with kind of unique, I ended up buying four fake blooms that matched their colors and hot gluing them to pin backs to make my own brooches, but you can buy premade flower brooches for this step as well.


Attaching the Flower pin
The day of, I simply laid out the skirts so the girls could step into them and pull them up over the matching capris and then slip their arms into the tank top straps.  I then “combed” the tulle with my fingers to smooth them out a bit, and the girls were ready for shoes, hair, and fancy shoes.    


Combing the tulle
The finished dresses were about 31-32” long and hit about mid-shin on my 4-5 year old flower girls I was fitting.  I was a bit worried they would fall apart with 4 active preschoolers wearing them for hours before the ceremony even started, but they actually held up really well throughout the {long} night of partying. 


Flower Girls
To make sure the tulle wasn’t crazy for the walk down the aisle, I was in charge of sending the girls down and I just made sure I combed each dress once before their send-off.  And, if I do say so myself, they were some adorable flower girls!  And, no, I'm not biased or anything because one is my daughter and two girls are nieces.  Nope, not biased at all!
Flower girls standing
All throughout the night I had people from both the bride and groom’s families asking about where I had gotten the amazing dresses and complimenting the girls. 
Flower Girls hugging
But, the true measure of success is the fact that all of the girls asked me numerous times if they got to keep the dresses to wear over and over again.  The looks on their faces when I said yes made all the hours of tying tulle, cutting fabrics, dyeing my sink blue, and stressing about little details more than worth it in the end!   
Bride with Flower girls

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and are able to use my loose instructions to make your own fancy, frilly dress for your little one.  If you feel I've left out a step or you would like more detail, please let me know!


Leanne Signature 2This post is not sponsored in any way, it's merely some help for everyone out there who would love to make a tutu flower girl dress!

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27 comments

Anamika May 7, 2013 - 9:17 am

Could you please let me know where you bought your tulle from and how much it costed. I heard not all tulle are the same. I am wanting to buy the “softer” tulle compared to the very stiff one. Any idea? Thanks a lot!

Reply
Katie May 27, 2013 - 12:27 pm

Thank you for sharing! This is very helpful and I can’t wait to try it!

Reply
Danielle November 2, 2013 - 11:10 pm

I found my flower girl dress! Thanks for the tutorial!

Reply
mithonhasan December 9, 2013 - 1:31 pm

Thank you SOOOO MUCH for sharing. I love love love this dress and even the brief description is fantastic.
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Reply
Belinda February 18, 2014 - 2:37 pm

What if you bought 40 yards of 6″ tulle? I’m thinking it would already be in strips. I found it really cheap at Hobby Lobby like that and wondered if that would work, too. Thanks!

Reply
Leanne February 18, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Belinda,
Yes, you can definitely use the pre-cut 6 tulle! If I
had found those on sale I would have definitely gone that route, but it
would have been $$ to do that for 4 dresses. I think my strips were
around 4-5, so yours would be just a little fuller, which would turn
out fine.
Good luck!
Leanne
To: raveandreview@live.com

Reply
Erin February 19, 2014 - 8:33 pm

I am making 3 of these for my flower girls. I saw this page and just loved it plus it happens to be in my colors so i got to see what they would look like… Thank you for thay 🙂 I do have one question though… Is it 5+ yards per skirt or all together? like 1yard blue 1yard white per dress?

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Leanne February 20, 2014 - 2:57 pm

Erin, it’s 5 yards for each skirt. I did roughly 2.5 yards of each color for my dresses. I hope that helps!

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Catie April 22, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Just a tid bit that might help just a lil. When you’re using a headband, instead of tying the tulle onto the thinnest line ( [_]_[_] ) it holds up and supports it a bit better to go over the thicker “square” on the headband. Adorable tutu dress! Pretty awesome for being your first go at it too. You should be proud! 🙂

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BreAnna June 21, 2014 - 11:02 pm

So if you used the 6″ tulle you would still only need 2.5 yards per color for each dress and you would only have to cut it how long or how many inches for each strip? And can you direct me in sizing the tutu part for a 3 yr old and 1 yr old please

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BreAnna June 21, 2014 - 11:19 pm

Also if each strip was 4.5 inches wide how long was each strip was it the 60″ in length sorry maybe a dumb ? But for some reason can’t grasp it right now!

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BreAnna June 26, 2014 - 6:21 pm

Hey how long is each strip? And what would be you suggestion for a 1 yr old in length and how much tulle?

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SONAL JHAWAR June 27, 2014 - 1:09 am

amazing tutorial…thanks a ton…i am gonna use it for my daughters ballerina themed bday party…

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Leanne July 3, 2014 - 2:59 pm

BreAnna, each strip is 60″ long, but since it it tied in the middle, it only hangs down 30″ (minus a bit since the knot shortens it a tad). My dresses were for 3 year olds who are all on the taller side, but I recommend you hold the tulle strips up and see how long you want it and then double that measurement so you can tie it in the middle. Good luck!

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Melissa August 23, 2014 - 7:49 am

Hey there! Love this tutorial you did an amazing job. Where did you get the leggings and tanks from? I’m making a few for a show we’re going to dress the girls up but having a hard time finding the tanks and leggings…thanks in advance doll ❤️

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Leanne August 25, 2014 - 8:10 am

Melissa, the leggings were just from Old Navy and we bought them small so they would be capri leggings instead of full-length. The tanks tops were simply white undershirts that I dyed blue with Rit dye. If I were doing it again I would just buy white tank tops and white leggings and dye them both together to avoid the hassle of finding the exact right color.

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ally October 2, 2014 - 2:12 pm

Hi I am thinking about using these dresses as flower girl dresses but instead of top and leggings i was thinking of using ballet leotard dresses and shimmer tights do you think this would work?

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stormy December 10, 2014 - 12:29 am

This is awesome!!! Thanks… I too have been confused with the measurements of the tulle but know I know…. 🙂

Reply
Jennifer May 13, 2015 - 5:05 pm

I will be using your tutorial to make a dress for my friends step-daughter to wear as flower girl in her wedding in just 5 short weeks from now!! It will be perfect for her!! Thank you!!

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Jennifer T. June 14, 2015 - 11:19 am

You could have made this much easier by buying a lined crochet top and using pre-measured tulle at hobby lobby…it comes in 6″ rolls. Cute idea though.

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Ari December 29, 2016 - 10:37 am

Great job! Those dresses are adorable!!

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Ryan April 8, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Cute!

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kara May 3, 2018 - 5:43 am

So cute!!

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Cristi May 18, 2018 - 6:38 am

These are adorable!

Reply
lucia March 16, 2020 - 3:09 pm

Cute

Reply
Curtis March 16, 2020 - 3:12 pm

Such a fun design!

Reply

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