Monday, November 14, 2011

TuTu Tree Tutorial

Regular blog followers (or podcast listeners) know that I'm a big fan of all things Pink.  With 4 males in the house (including the dog), I don't get to use much pink.  So, I decided to make myself an over-the-top Pink Christmas tree for my studio. It's a TuTu Tree!

 I originally saw a similar idea on Pinterest, but the tree was made with netting.  I didn't care for the big holes and "rough" appearance. It was an easy project, but the directions were a little hard to follow.  So, I changed it up to make it softer and girly with fine tulle and created an easy tutorial with pictures.  I can see making these in multiple shades. So, if pink's not your thing, pick your favorite color and go nuts!

My tree uses 1/2 of a dowel as the base, and measures about 18 inches tall .  If you want a bigger tree, you use the whole dowel and add more layers.

Here's the Quilted Cupcake Tutu Tree Tutorial 
if you want to make your own. 


4 yards of fine mesh tulle (Joann's has a whole aisle of tulle in many colors).  Pick whatever color you like
1 Wooden dowel - about 1/2" diameter, but just about any size will do.
Thread and needle
Candlestick with an opening or a container filled with rocks to hold the finished tree
Bow for the top (optional)

Step One: Cut dowel in half.  

Step Two:  Cut the tulle

You need to cut the tulle into a bunch of long strips, each the width of the tulle.  You may find it easier to do if you cut your piece of tulle into two 2-yard pieces, so it's easier to handle.  

The best way to cut this slippery  fabric is to fold the tulle with selvage sides together and then, fold again.  So, if your tulle was 72" wide to start, you'll have a folded piece that's 4 (or 2) yards long and 18 inches wide. 

Now, lay the folded tulle on your cutting mat and use a rotary cutter and ruler to slice sections in decreasing widths, beginning with 15", then 14", 13", 12", and so on, until you run out of tulle.  Each new cut is one inch shorter than the previous cut.  (If you're doing a bigger tree, the same principle applies, start with the widest cut and then do each cut after one inch less)

Note: these cuts don't have to be military precise, just pretty close.  It won't matter if you're a little off.  

If you're fussy, you may want to note the size of each section you cut with a piece of  masking tape, so you'll know the correct order for later assembly.  I didn't do that, but you could (I'm thinking of people like my sister Kelly, who would never accept just eyeballing that step).

When you're done cutting your ever-decreasing pieces of tulle, it will look like this:

Step Three:  Sew and gather the layers

Next, you have to fold each piece of tulle in half, long sides together and sew along the raw edges.  So, you'll have a bunch of sections that are 72" long and 7.5 inches wide, 7 inches wide, 6.5 inches wide, and so on.

Hand sew a long gathering stitch along the open end of each section.  Don't sew on the folded side - that will be the outside of the tree.  It's all starting to make sense now, isn't it?

I found using hand quilting thread in a matching color works well for this step.  You could also use embroidery thread.  It's important to use thread that's pretty sturdy, as this makes the structure of the tree possible.  

After you've sewn a wide stitch all along the top, pull on each end to gather the section.  Don't tie off yet - that comes next. You'll end up with a big pile of puffy things like this - I put mine in a bag after I gathered each, to be sure I didn't lose any.

This is a good TV-watching craft activity.  It's the step of the process that takes the longest.  You could probably do this on a sewing machine, but I didn't want to fiddle with tulle and a gathering stitch.  

Step Four: Assembly

Place the dowel inside the sturdy container you're using for the base.  I found an old candlestick that could hold the dowel and keep everything nice and straight.  You could also use a pail or even a mason jar full of marbles or rocks.  It won't be a super heavy tree, so you're just looking for a sturdy base.

Now, starting with the largest puffy gathered section, begin to tie each section to the dowel. (Now's when labeled sections would come in handy.  Or, just eyeball it like I did.)

Tie a knot in back of the dowel, and then wrap the string around once more, and knot again for extra strength.  Adjust the tulle until you're happy with how it looks, and then cut the ends of the gathering string.  Continue all the way up the dowel, adding the next smallest section each time.

When you're all done, you can add a bow or even a tree topper of some sort.  I'm on the hunt for a good one to match my tree.  Until then, I just tied a ribbon to the top of the dowel.

Feel free to share photos or the tutorial on your blog, just please link back to this post.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  And, if you make a TuTu Tree, please add it to my Quilted Cupcake Flickr group. 

Linking to:

Making the World Cuter
Dittle Dattle


Kristina @ ReMadeSimple said...

Very nice! Thanks for the clear tutorial-I had found another one but wasn't as clear. Stopping by from Skip To My Lou!

Brit said...

Great tutorial! I am in love with this cute little tree, and know my daughter will love it equally :) So glad I found you :)

Urban Stylist In the Country... said...

All I can do is :) so LOVE it!


Nikki Monet said...

Cute!! Thanks for sharing. New follower here. Would love it you would stop by and share this at my linky party :)

Also, PRETTY PLEASE check out Random Acts of Kindness Week going on right now!! Would love to see you be a part of it!

LisaAnn said...

You can use the strip dies for your AccuQuilt too :) If you have leftover they crochet up quickly to make scrubbies!

Carrie @ My Favorite Finds said...

This is so cute! I love taking things I find on Pinterest, and remaking them to fit my liking. This would be a great post to link up to my Pinterest Favorites. Come on over!

Jackie said...

Very, very cute.

Lori said...

So cute....thanks for sharing! Glad you linked up with the 25 Days of Christmas cause that is how I met you. I'm a new follower, so stop by and follow too if you like. Warm wishes