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  • Writer's pictureLonda

1st Birthday TuTu & T Ensemble

Special Occasions call for Special Clothing

Birthdays are special – but for a little girl’s #1, a sewist pulls out all of one’s skills for the occasion.  Such has been my delight – as I’ve shared in posts HERE    about my daughter’s first birthday hand-smocked dress 34 years ago, and the beginning of HER daughter’s special birthday finery, and HERE with details about the Onesie.

Here’s my #1 Grandbaby, Kenzie in her Mama’s Liberty of London hand-smocked 34-year-old dress that I’d made…

Kenzie _ in 34_yr_old_dress

AND…. here she is in her ‘finery’ of 2017 for her own #1 Birthday….


Tu-Tu Details

The Tu-Tu had some ‘refinements’, and I wasn’t sure about it, but once we put it on her, she smiled with delight and seemed to love wearing it most of the birthday party day.  Here are some details that might come in handy if you want to make a Tu-Tu for your little princess…..


I actually bought several types of barely off-white and white tulle.  Some were sparkly, most was not.  I purchased yardage, though I know many like to use the spools of tulle that are available.  I just wanted a mixture instead.  In addition, I had a 3 yard spools of each of the ribbons you see plus 1/2 yard of yellow organza.  Honestly, I was flabbergasted when I checked out at Jo-Ann’s, buying everything at sale prices AND with a Senior Discount Day – it still came to $54 for the Tutu and Pantie and Trim!!!  A first granddaughter only turns 1 one time……..  BUT, I did buy the Onesie at a discount store for less than $2. 🙂

Length of pieces:  I cut each strip of tulle about 8″ wide and double the length I wanted plus 3″.  You really need to just play with it and figure it out for your project and your little girl.  MIne were cut 21″ long, as to get 5 pieces out of each of the 3 yard ribbon bolts, that is how long I could cut them.  Believe me, the instructions are plentiful out there on the internet, as there are Pinterest Boards and Facebook GroupslALL about Tutu’s!

For the ribbons and the yellow organza, I cut 5 strips of each.

Elastic:  I had 3 choices available – but went with the buttonhole Elastic, mainly because it was the softest, and it seemed that when tying on the Tulle and Ribbon with Lark’s Head Knots, that any elastic would fold – and the Buttonhole Elastic did that the best.

elastic options

First Fitting

Though I questioned it, my daughter wanted it to be MORE, and thicker – so I added a 2nd layer of tulle only on an additional circle of the Buttonhole Elastic.  You can kind of see those 2 layers in the picture below.  Note also in the lower right hand corner of the picture, you can see that on the woven organza fabric, I used the  wave cutter blade in my rotary cutter.

side tutu view

Then…the issue was to ‘connect’ the layers.  I did that with a double layer of the yellow organza pieces combined with a tulle piece as you can see in this picture.

tying layers together

Kenzie really did seem to think she was quite the star in her tutu – and you can see her ‘fluff’ as she starts to empty a cupboard in this picture…

side view showing fluffiness

PANTY Diaper Cover

For the panty, I downloaded a ‘diaper cover’ pattern online.  This definitely took a ‘fitting’ to get the elastic the right circumference!  All I can say is that the baby for which the pattern was made had to be twice the size of my princess.  A few of the chiffon flowers from the pre-made trim I bought at Jo-Ann’s trimmed up the Onesie and created the headband along with the ruffle edged elastic.  If I were to make it again, I’d do 2 rows of the pink and 1 of the aqua in the middle, and forego the heavier pleated white trim.


ANYWAY – here are some hints for construction….

  1.  Clip to balance the bulk in those elastic casings as you can see I’ve done in the photo below. 

2.  To locate the back trim, I decided where I wanted it, marked, and stitched the curve on the wrong side of the fabric.  That created a line I couldn’t lose when stitching on the trim on the outside.

adding tri on outside

So – the ‘special clothes’ are a part of MANY pictures.  I’m not sure that the 2017 Tu-Tu Outfit quite measures up to what I consider ‘heirloom quality’, but the 34 year old dress is carefully packed away again in acid free tissue and a special box.  One only knows if it – and/or the Tutu will see the light of day on another generation.  I just know I am a blessed mom and grandma to have had the joy and privilege of creating special clothes for my special ones on their very special days!


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