Saturday, April 30, 2016

Yes Sew Tutu!

Awhile back my best friend decided to check off running a 5k from her bucket list and asked me if I would join her.  I am sure you are wondering what tutu's have to do with running.  I will get there soon I promise.  I was looking for a way to get in shape and thought training for a 5k was a great way to do that.  After 6 weeks of mild training I met my best friend at the race and was super jealous of all the beautiful tutus these runners were sporting.  After a couple moments I decided to get over it and decided to run the race tutuless.  I was exhilarated when I crossed that finish line.  After that I was hooked.  I loved the whole race circuit and having a running number and all the people.  Everyone was so wonderful.  I immediately signed up for 5 more races.  I decided the next time I would have a gorgeous tutu to run in.

My first attempt was with the no sew tutu tutorials.  I read about 100 of them before I decided to give it a shot.  I was going for a Batman themed tutu so I got black, yellow and grey tulle.  I cut these into 6 inch wide strips that were about 18 inches long.  From here you take the tulle and fold it in half and wrap around the elastic.  You continue this process until you reach the end with the desired fluffiness. What the tutorials fail to mention is just how long this process takes.  I couldn't believe how long it took.  I was able to do this while watching a movie so it wasn't so bad but I did think to myself many times there has to be a better way.   After sporting my lovely tutu as part of my batman running costume I decided to see if I could improve on the process for future races I have planned.

I was able to find a great tutorial for making a tulle skirt that I converted into a tutu for my next race. I purchased about 12 yards of orange tulle.  I planned to run as a pumpkin for the Monster Dash I signed up for.  I started by keeping the tulle folded in half and cut it into 2 pieces.  I then folded it in half again and sewed a running stitch.  Then I tried to gather without breaking the thread.  The key word here was try.  After numerous attempts I finally got it all gathered. Once the gather was secure I attached it to some elastic.  While this was a definite improvement from the no sew tutu it still was a pain in the butt.

I had almost 6 months until my next race but of course waited until the week of the race to start my next tutu.  This time I found the perfect tutorial.  Third time is a charm right?  For the original instructions you can find the tutorial at the Just We Moms blog.  What I loved about this tutorial was that I was going to be able to use my fancy new ruffling foot for my sewing machine.  Not going to lie I was quite intimidated by it but after three or four videos it was actually pretty easy.
I set mine to 1 for the ruffle and 8 for the depth on the ruffling foot and a stitch length of 2.5.  I purchased 12 yards of tulle.  I ended up rolling this up width wise to get the pieces manageable to cut.

I cut this into thirds.  This yielded 3 strips 12 yards by 18 inches.  I cut one of these strips in half to end up with 2 piles of 18 yards a piece.  When this was all ruffled it shrunk down to about 58 inches give or take.  Once I got going and felt more comfortable with the ruffling foot I put the pedal to the metal.  Well sort of.  I couldn't believe just how quickly and easily I could ruffle all that tulle.  I almost went and bought more just so I could do more ruffling.

The only thing I realized too late was that I didn't allow enough of a seam allowance to use to attach the tulle to the waistband
I chose to use the satin blanket binding as my waistband.  This worked really well.  I sewed a 3/4 inch seam that made a 1.25 inch casing.

This was perfect for the 1 inch elastic I had planned to use.  Once I combined the 2 pieces of ruffled tulle to the satin waistband I finished off the edges of the seam with my serger to clean it up a bit.  I ended up having to do this twice because I didn't take enough off with the serger but it finished up nicely and quickly.

Other than ensuring I have a larger seam allowance with the tulle I wouldn't change a thing about the original tutorial and I will never make a tulle skirt any other way!