DIY: Poofy Tulle Skirt

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Halloween (and various festivities) is fast approaching, so it’s past time to start crafting! This year, my sister is going as a Princess Peach zombie, which means we needed to find her a poofy pink dress/skirt – and fast. However, it’s not always easy to find plus-sized skirts and dresses, especially if you need them in a specific style or color and don’t want to spend a ton of money. Fortunately, I found this great pattern for a Tulle Circle Skirt that is perfect. It’s not too expensive, especially if you buy the tulle when it’s on sale, it’s easily customizable for any body size and skirt length, and it’s friggin’ adorable. My friends and I have vast plans to use this pattern for a Sailor Scout troop, but that’s a project for another day.

So let’s get started!

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(Anticipate quite a few pictures of my cat Dinah here.)

First, you’ll need to gather your materials. You’ll need tulle, a base fabric that matches/complements your tulle, elastic, pins, needle and thread/a sewing machine (a sewing machine is a MUCH better option), a dress measuring tape, scissors, chalk, and some sort of light paper that you can use to make the pattern. I just used a big roll of white paper and taped it together to make the proper size. That seemed to work out.

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Materials

  • Tulle – 7 – 14 yards (the more you have, the poofier your skirt will be)
  • Base fabric – approximately 3 yards (depending on your size and skirt length)
  • 1 ½” elastic band

And that’s it! Seems pretty easy, huh?

First, we need to measure ourselves and decide on the skirt length. Measure yourself around the fullest part of your hips then divide that by 3.14. Then divide that by 2 (round to the nearest ¼”). That will be radius of the circle in the center of your skirt pattern. Write it down so you don’t forget!

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Then decide on the skirt length. We went with 22” because that hits right around the knee, but you can make yours any size you like – mini or maxi!

Now we can make our pattern. But no worries – it’s quite easy!

First, you need to get a big square of paper. Each side needs to be the radius of the circle plus your skirt length. For us, the radius of the circle was 8” and the skirt length was 22” inches. Thus, our square had to be at least 30” x 30”.

Make a mark where the radius ends on two adjacent sides of the square. Then make a mark where the skirt length would end on those same sides. Take a pencil and connect a long string to it (It will need to be the length of your radius plus length.). Hold the string in the corner of the paper between the two marked sides. Position the attached pencil on the paper and slowly and smoothly make an arc from the mark on one side to the mark on the other. Now shorten the string to only the radius’ length and do the same thing at the top corner of the square. You should now have two concentric arcs. Try to make them as even as possible, but don’t worry if they’re a bit wobbly – this is your first time trying this and you’ll get better (and it’ll still look hella cute).

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Now cut out the radius section and the piece of paper outside the skirt length arc. Your pattern will look like a thick, chunky arc. And that’s your pattern! Guard it well for now we turn to the fabric.

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Start with the tulle. You will need to make squares that are twice as wide and long as your pattern. For example, our pattern is 30” x 30” so we needed tulle squares that were 60” x 60”. If your tulle isn’t wide or long enough, you’ll have to sew them together.

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Cut out as many tulle squares as you want. The more you use, the poofier your skirt will be. We only bought 7 yards of tulle, so we only had 4 squares. Once the squares are cut out, fold them in half lengthwise and then widthwise. You will now have a square that is the same size as your pattern (for us, that was 30” x 30”).

Repeat this process with your base fabric. However, you’ll only need to make one square. Any more is just excessive.

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Once your squares are folded to the right size, pin the pattern to them. You can pin multiple squares to the pattern, but don’t pin too many – your scissors won’t be able to cut through them all!

Tip: make sure the closed edge of the square goes in the radius circle section. If one of the open edges is there, you’ll end up cutting your tulle into pieces and won’t get a circle at the end.

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Now cut out the pattern. Repeat with all the tulle squares and the base fabric square.

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If you’ve lined everything up properly, you will end up having a bunch of big tulle and base fabric donuts. They’ll look like this.

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If you don’t want the edge of your base fabric to look really ragged, pin up the edges and hem them. It’ll make the skirt look nicer and last longer (Don’t hem the tulle.).

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After that’s done, it’s time to make your elastic band. In the original instructions, the elastic is supposed to show above the skirt, so the OP advices getting a color you like. However, we ended up covering the elastic with a belt and a bow made of the excess fabric, so it’s not necessary. You can also make a fabric sleeve for the elastic beforehand, but we didn’t.

Take the elastic and put it around your natural waist. Pull it so it’s snug but not tight – you don’t want to cut off circulation! Then either secure it with pins or your fingers and wiggle out of it, maintaining the correct size. Cut off the excess elastic and sew it closed. You’ll end up with a band of elastic.

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Back to the fabric! Pin all the layers of base fabric and tulle together with the hemmed base fabric donut at the bottom. Secure them together with pins.

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Pin the elastic to the “donut hole” in the middle at four points equidistant from each other. The hole will be larger than the elastic band, which is good for creating a flouncy, gathered look. The elastic should also be over the fabric.

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Now pin the elastic to the rest of the donut hole, gathering the fabric as necessary.

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And here’s our final step – sewing the elastic band on! Turn the skirt inside out (Careful of the pins!) and sew the fabric onto the elastic band. Once that’s done, turn it right side out again, and put it on. You now have a super cute skirt that you made yourself. Congratulations!

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