An Easy Tulle Skirt Tutorial

Back in December, I had the brilliant idea to make a green tulle skirt for the Green Party at Alt Summit.

Of course, then I did nothing about that great idea and finally ended up buying fabric for the skirt in Las Vegas (when I mentioned this to Merrick, she said, “Are you going to make Mom sew it?” to which I replied, “NO! . . . maybe.”).

Make your own tulle skirt in about an hour (and for under $25!)

It’s a really simple skirt, but the tutorial I used was so unbelievably convoluted that both of my parents and I stood around the laptop reading instructions over and over, trying to figure out WHAT in the world was going on. It was kind of like working on those tedious high school projects all over again.

No need for all that baloney. It’s totally easy enough to make without the aid of your parents (although, to be honest, I did let my mom do a lot of the sewing (meaning – she sewed two of the four seams – it really is easy)).

Make your own tulle skirt in about an hour (and for under $25!)

The other good thing is that tulle is super-forgiving. I’m considering making one for Ella, because what’s the point of having little girls if you can’t make them little tulle skirts?

To make your own tulle skirt, you’ll need:

  • To do some math first. But easy math! You basically need two numbers here:
    • Length. First, how long you want your skirt to be (measure from your waist to your knee (or wherever you want your skirt to fall to) and add 1 inch).
    • Waist Radius. Second, the radius of your waist. Measure your waist and then divide that number by 3.14. Divide it again by 2. Done.
    • Add the first number (length) to your second number (waist radius).
  • Soft Tulle. If your final number (length+waist radius) is 27 or less, you’ll need about 6 yards (54″ inches wide – if you can’t find 54″ inch wide fabric, you’ll need to buy 12 yards). If your final number is more than 27, you’ll need about 12 yards.
  • Lining in a color that matches your tulle (A knit is better because it won’t be as staticky, but I ignored this advice because I could only find something silky that matched my tulle color). You’ll want your waist measurement (the full circumference of your waist (25 or more inches) multiplied by 1.5. (So if your waist is 28 inches, you’ll want 42 inches of fabric).
  • Elastic (I used black). Enough to fit snugly around your waist, plus 1 inch for overlap.
  • Yard stick
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • A big piece of butcher paper (optional)
Wash, dry and iron your tulle (or make your mom iron it) so it’s as soft as possible. If your tulle is already pretty soft, you can skip this step.
On your butcher paper, if you’re using it, make a pattern piece for your skirt with the yardstick. You want a half circle as shown below:
Cut out your pattern piece out and set aside.
Fold your tulle in half lengthwise (if your final number is 27 or less – otherwise you’ll skip the folding).
Fold it in half like a book, then in half again, so you have eight layers total.
Pin your pattern piece on top and cut it all out at once.
If your fabric was too small to cut full circles, sew sets of two half-circles together to make 4 whole circles.


Baste two of the full circles together at the top to hold them together, then repeat with the remaining two full circles.
Stack the four circles on top of each other and mark with pins at each of the four quarters of the waist opening.
Pin the edges of your elastic together with a 1/2″ of overlap and zig-zag securely. Mark with pins the four quarters so you can match it with the tulle.
Pin the tulle to the inside of the elastic, matching your pins at the quarters and then zig-zag all the way around.
Take your lining and sew the cut edges together to make a tube.
Baste around the top edge and gather it until it will fit around your waist.
Pin in place under the tulle and zig-zag it securely to the elastic.
Trim excess fabric from the bottom so it doesn’t show below your tulle. 
Make your own tulle skirt in about an hour (and for under $25!)

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  • Reply JoLee February 21, 2014 at 11:53 am

    The skirt is great, but let's talk about your hair! It's cute. It's different! I love a good braid.

  • Reply Ashley February 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I could never sew this skirt….NEVER!! But I love it, and it looks amazing on you! And yes…you definitely should make one for your girls…they need a tulle skirt!

  • Reply Alli Aars {You have your blog, we have Aars} February 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I loved this skirt on you! So pretty! Dying to have one in pink. And I loved your honest post about ALT. I've been wanting to go for years. I think I'd just be so intimidated not knowing a soul!!!

  • Reply Lauren and Joe O'Brien February 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Wow, so pretty!!

  • Reply Elisabeth @ Bella February 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    it looked even better in person 🙂

  • Reply Rachel at Maybe Matilda February 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Oh, I was SO hoping you'd post a tutorial after I saw your picture on Instagram! Love the skirt, love how you styled it in such a sophisticated way, and love the hair. You look fantastic! And I totally need one of these skirts. Bad.

  • Reply Paige Flamm February 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Awesome tutorial! This is super identical to the Anthropologie tulle skirt, but probably so much cheaper to make your own!

  • Reply Lisa {} February 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Janssen, this is just what I needed! I saw the cutest pink tulle skirt online and by the time I got around to actually buying it, it was sold out. I'm not one to attempt sewing projects, so consider yourself a master saleswoman. Second of all, love that you managed to work pi into a sewing project. Math teachers everywhere are rejoicing. 🙂 third of all, your hair = love.

  • Reply kimmie February 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    awesome skirt! and your hair looks amazing 🙂

  • Reply Stephanie Fosmo February 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    You look like a princess! I seriously NEED one of these skirts… and I barely know the basics in sewing… Which means my mom will be helping me make this lol Thanks for this tutorial though <3

  • Reply alittletypical February 22, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Love the colour of the skirt! Also love your braids. So well put together!

  • Reply Lauren Smith February 22, 2014 at 4:24 am

    I would love a tutorial for your hair. Also this skirt is so fun.

    • Reply Janssen February 22, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Abby from Twist Me Pretty did it (she was one of my roommates). There's no way I could ever do it myself!

  • Reply le mani creative... February 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm


  • Reply Jessica February 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Yikes, I'd definitely need a mom proficient in sewing to make this:) It looks great!!

  • Reply Awkwardgirl x February 23, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I love this!!

  • Reply Heidi Kay @ Muslin and Merlot February 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Love it! I shared a picture from your project on my blog and linked it back to you. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Reply Christy from fountains of home February 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Wow! You look gorgeous! And what gorgeous photos, love all of it!

  • Reply Heather Aquino February 24, 2014 at 2:35 am

    What is basting and how is it done?

    • Reply Janssen February 24, 2014 at 2:38 am

      It's a loose stitch to hold something in place. In the case of using a basting stitch to gather, you just sew loose stitches all the way around the top and then pull the thread so your fabric bunches up along the thread.

  • Reply Sleepyeyes42 February 24, 2014 at 3:24 am

    I have a question about the waist opening for this skirt. Your directions say to use your waist measurement and then find the radius of that circumference. That would produce an opening to small to fit over ones hips, if I'm not mistaken. Also, there would be no excess to gather with the elastic. Is there an ease factor that needs to be added to your equation? I love this skirt and wish to make one.

    • Reply Janssen February 24, 2014 at 3:30 am

      Tulle has a lot of stretch and give, so you don't need any extra. If you're worried about it, cut it out as normal, and then try one of the circles on to check that it's big enough before you go forward.

  • Reply Katie Adams February 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    So Cute! Thank you for the great tutorial!

  • Reply lacie tidwell February 25, 2014 at 12:09 am

    I LOVE this skirt!! nicely done!! and that cracks me up that Merrick said are you going to make mom sew it – that's just something I would do! lol! beautiful skirt!

  • Reply Bri Marie February 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This is SO cute! But like other commenters have said – wow, your hair really steals the show!!

  • Reply rlhicks March 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Hello~ This color is FAB, but I cant find it anywhere! Do you mind telling me the color name and where you purchased it?? is my email.

    • Reply Victoria April 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      I'm curious too as to what color the tulle is 🙂

    • Reply Victoria April 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I'm curious too as to what color the tulle is 🙂

    • Reply Janssen May 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I bought it at Hancock Fabrics and it's an emerald sparkle

  • Reply daniela March 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    LOVE this tulle skirt! I featured it on Wednesday Roundup at Put A Bird On It. 🙂 It goes live tomorrow!

    Put A Bird On It

  • Reply Ashley Madewell June 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, I am having problems with the waist measurements…I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong. I am a 32 waist therefore, 32/3.14/2 gives me 5.09". I made my half circle radius 5.09" but it seems very small to fit…The length would be about 25" it seems short…even when I measure from the waist circle as shown in your diagram…can you advise? 🙂 I love this skirt and wish to make one asap. But can't figure out where I am going wrong..

  • Reply Kasey Bealer July 4, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Do you stretch the elastic as you see it to the tulle for the waistband?

    • Reply Janssen July 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      A little, but not too much.

  • Reply Aarabhi H R July 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hi! Love the skirt! I wanna make one for my little girl but, I am having some problems with the instructions.
    Do I need to cut 2 full circles each of the lining and the tulle?
    Could you please help me out?

  • Reply Aarabhi H R July 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    And also, my baby's waist circumference is 15 inches, so would I be needing 22.5" lining fabric and 6 yards of tulle?

  • Reply Gina Cuza November 29, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    So, if your number is greater than 27 do you skip ALL the folding or just folding in half lengthwise?

    P.s. I love the color of your skirt and how you popped it with the leopard belt!

  • Reply Gee January 6, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    You have just saved me- I have a textiles exam tomorrow and this tutorial is perfect for my design thank you

  • Reply Ciara Smack December 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    How many layers did you do?

  • Reply Kelly Bairos April 22, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Love this!

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