Wednesday, January 29, 2014

KCW January 2014: Pompom Tutus

I can hardly believe it, but for the first two days of the January 2014 Kids Clothes Week Challenge I have actually surpassed the goal of sewing for an hour each day! Hooray! Disappointingly, neither of my finished objects are for my children and, embarrassingly, they are (very, very late) Christmas presents. As a side note, I also just mailed the first batch of our Christmas cards. Merry Valentine's Day!

My niece got an American Girl doll for Christmas this year and I thought it would be fun to make matching skirts for her and her doll. I debated what kind of skirt to make and actually cut out a cute circle skirt but then I rediscovered this pin and scrapped the circle skirt plans. (The circle skirt hem was going to be a real pain due to the filmy fabric, so this was probably faster anyway.) A quick trip to JoAnn yielded some soft tulle in lavender, grape colored elastic (on clearance!) and three bags of assorted pompoms. Two evenings and a great deal of cursing later, I had these:

Tulle is a bitch.

I love the way they turned out but I have reaffirmed that I do not like sewing tulle. It is shifty and sticky at the same time, delicate enough that it tears and it attracts the cats like nobody's business. (The last one is clearly not the tulle's fault but it still pissed me off.) The original tutorial is in Dutch but has great pictures so I used that as my jumping off point and just improvised the waistbands.

Both skirts are essentially a long (long, long) piece of tulle, folded in half along the long edge to create a pocket. For the doll skirt, I gathered the tulle and then used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to attach the gathers to the elastic waistband. I inserted the pompoms into a small opening before finishing the waistband seam. If anyone cares, I used an 11" piece of elastic, overlapped 1/2 to give a final waistband of 10" (this is super stretchy knit elastic). I used a 24" length of tulle and the skirt length is ~5". I don't have an 18" doll and free tutorials for their clothes are few and far between (I made my assumptions based on this size chart), so hopefully this will fit well and these numbers will help someone else. I will update with a picture of the skirt on the doll if I can.

Tiny pompoms.

For the little girl's version, I created a waistband casing that was the width of my elastic plus ~3/8", leaving an additional 1/2" seam allowance. Because I had a lot of my elastic, I actually inserted it while sewing to keep my waistband seam even, and then pulled out the excess to gather the waistband when I was done. This was likely not the best method and was quite frustrating to accomplish while keeping the elastic flat, but it eventually worked and I am standing by it. I inserted all the pompoms as I sewed the waistband in an effort to distribute them uniformly around the skirt. After joining the elastic and closing the waist, I evened out the gathers (which took FOREVER - btw, did you know that The Office is on Channel 38 in Boston at 11:30 pm and midnight? Neither did I but it sure made fiddling with the waistband less awful.) and then fluffed out the seam allowance to create a small ruffle at the bottom of the waistband.

Shut up that's cute!

They are both super cute, if I do say so myself, and I am so pleased with the end result. Here's hoping that the cuteness and the ability to match her doll distract my poor little niece from my inexcusable tardiness.

Be well,



  1. the cursing tutus are aDORable. love them.

  2. Very cute, and I'm sure your niece will be thrilled. I've had a half-finished pompom tutu sitting around for a few weeks, and will hopefully finish it off today in time for KCW.

    1. She has actually been wearing it as both a tutu and a crinoline, which is awesome! I hope you finished your tutu and its recipient was duly excited to receive it.

  3. Oh my gosh, these are just the cutest things I've ever seen...totally adorable with those pom poms! You are the best aunt a little girl could ever hope for!