Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Dog Tutu Tutorial

Halloween is quickly approaching and I have been scouring the internet in search of creative costume ideas for Athena.  One thing's for certain, whatever we decide to dress Athena up as, she will be wearing a tutu as part of her costume!
There are a ton of tutorials online for making tulle tutus, however most of them show how to make a tutu for a child.  These tutorials are great, but I was looking for a more "dog friendly" tutu option.

I decided that I would put my crafty skills to good use and create a tutorial designed specifically for making doggy tutus.  With a velcro elastic band for an easy on/off, and a tulle-free belly for comfort and soil prevention during potty time, these tutus will make any dog win this year's costume contest!

Here are the steps for making your very own dog tutu in 30 minutes for less than $10:

1. Gather the materials:

    • Scissors
    • Piece of Cardboard
    • 1" No-Roll Elastic = $1.79
    • Sew-In Velcro = $3.99
    • 1 Spool of 6" tulle = $3.99 (one spool comes with 25 yards of tulle and can usually be found at any craft or fabric store.  Sometimes it's located in the bridal department)
Spool of 6" Tulle

2. Measure your dog's waist:

Decide where you want the tutu to sit on your dog's body and measure the circumference of that part of the body.  I decided that I wanted Athena's tutu to sit about 3/4 of the way down her back so that the tutu would sit snug and not fall down past her waist.  To measure Athena for the tutu, I simply used the piece of elastic and wrapped it around her body where I wanted the tutu to sit.  I made sure not to stretch the elastic during this measurement.  After measuring the piece of elastic, I took off an extra two inches to allow for stretching.  So, if I measured Athena's waist to be 20", I cut the piece of elastic to actually measure 18".
Somebody had a hard time sitting still for their measurement =)
3. Sew-In Velcro

Next I cut a 1" piece of velcro (so, 1" of hook and 1" of loop that velcro together).  Using my sewing machine, I secured the hook and loop pieces to opposite ends of the elastic making sure to backstitch for durability.
It is important that you place the hook and loop pieces on opposite sides of the elastic so that when you velcro the two sides together, it will create a perfect elastic band.

4. Cut Pieces of Tulle

This is when you decide how short or long you want your tulle to stick up from your dog's waist.  A tutu for a small dog will need shorter pieces of tulle than a tutu for a large dog.  To make Athena's tutu, I cut 16" pieces of tulle.  Once attached to the elastic using a knot, the tulle will stick out about 7 inches from Athena's waist.

It is easy to cut tulle from the 6" spools by simply wrapping the tulle around a flat object that measures half of the desired length of your tulle pieces.  For example, I wanted 16" pieces of tulle, so I cut a piece of cardboard to measure 8".  Using my 8" piece of cardboard, I can wrap my tulle around and around and then make one cut to produce a stack of 16" tulle pieces.
Wrapping my tulle around the 8" piece of cardboard
I make one cut along one end of my piece of cardboard to get...
A stack of 16" pieces of tulle
5. Tie Pieces of Tulle to Elastic

Once the tulle has been cut, it's time to start tying it onto the elastic band to create the tutu.  Because the tutu will be worn by a dog, it's important that no tulle is tied to the underside of the elastic band.  This ensures comfortability for the dog when they sit and lay down as well as prevents soiling of the tutu when your dog has to go potty!

To start tying the tulle onto the elastic, I connect the velcro pieces to create an elastic band.  I then use my leg to stabilize the elastic as I tie on the pieces of tulle.  Start tying tulle onto the top of the elastic band and continue around 3/4 of the elastic.  Note that the velcro will be on the underside of the dog and will not have any tulle covering it.

Here's how to make the knot to attach the tulle to the elastic:

Find the middle of the piece of tulle

Slide the tulle under the elastic band

Make a knot by pulling both ends of the tulle through the loop

Tighten the knot by pulling the two ends of tulle toward your body

This is what the knot looks like if you turn your elastic band over

Your tutu will begin to look like this as you tie more pieces of tulle to the elastic band

6. Add More Fluff

Once you have tied tulle pieces around 3/4 of your elastic band, your tutu is essentially finished and ready to wear!  Personally, I like a very fluffy tutu, so I added more pieces of tulle on top of the tulle that I already attached to my elastic band like this:

The finished product:

7. Wear it Out and About!

Now you have a very comfy tutu that your dog can sport out on the town or when trick-or-treating on Halloween!  Here are a few pictures of Athena wearing her tutu (this bright blue tutu is part of her Halloween costume...can you guess what she is going to be?):

Please leave a comment below or e-mail us at if you have any questions or suggestions for improvements to this tutorial!

Check out our tutorial on how to make a DIY Dog Collar Fabric Flower to add to your dog's stylin' wardrobe!


  1. So easy and so adora-bull! Now if only my sewing machine and I got along lol. Awesome tutu-orial :-)

  2. How cute! I can't wait to see what she looks like in her full costume!

  3. This is amazing! I can't believe you figured out how to make one! I like that it is pitbull friendly (Miss M has one from the little girl's department and I know the belly is really itchy for her). So us more!

    1. Thank you! It was pretty fun to create the tutorial and now I'm obsessed with making different colored tutus for Athena to wear out and about!

  4. Athena is ROCKING that tutu. I need to email this to my mom as she handles all the crafty things for my kids...

    1. Let me know if your mom ends up making some tutus for your girls! I want to see pictures!!

  5. Love it! Thanks for the heads-up on this Emily. I pinned this. Hope that is ok.

  6. Man, I just saw this...we picked up a tutu from an etsy shop for Tess's birthday extravaganca last weekend ( Wish I would have seen this first!!

  7. This is an awesome and informative tutorial! I can't wait to make one for my Shepard to celebrate the 4th of July! Thank you for this.(:

  8. I just found this and started making one for my pittie last night. Mistake #1: Silver-Glittery-Tulle. Everything I own is currently covered in glitter.

  9. I just made one for a friend of a friend. Their dog is going to be in their wedding and I'm sure she will be rocking it!

  10. Thanks so so much for this tutorial :) just made a red one for my 5 month old, white cockapoo :)

  11. My dogs and I are attending a local pit bull rescue/advocacy's fundraiser tomorrow, and the theme is Superheroes! With your help, I made them all girlie superhero costumes...

    Bushi, Betty and Polly :)

  12. Great tutorial. And your Athena is an absolute Diva ... what a beautiful girl.

  13. I just stumbled across your blog via pinterest and I love love love it! I have a lab/pit princess and I can't wait to make a tutu for her. She's going to be a bridesmaid in our wedding!

  14. Love this Love this Love this ☼ I just have to know what Athena was for Halloween???

  15. Love this tutorial. About to go use it! Hope this goes as easy as your pictures make it look (I'm sure it will be, lol).

  16. This is the best doggie tutu tutorial I have EVER found! The pictures are fantastic and your explanations are clear, yet concise. I used to teach school and you definitely have the knack for explaining with words and pictures how a task is accomplished. Thank you! Up until now, I have not been motivated enough to actually tackle this project but I am now ready. My dog is a therapy dog who goes to children's hospitals to visit sick kids. She is small and so she is allowed to be in the bed with the kids. They love it when she is wearing different cute stuff so I keep enlarging her wardrobe. They love her tutus, especially, but now I will be making them myself!

  17. Thank you! I am definitely going to have to try making one, or two, or three...

  18. Thanks for making efforts for thiis post.Your article is really good. We can use various accessories and other decorative items for making our dog's cloths more attractive.

  19. Beautiful!!!!! Adorable!!!!!!! Was Athena a ballerina girl for Halloween?????

  20. Awesome Tutorial! Why did you take dog? This wasn't good idea.

  21. I just made some of these for my dogs using your technique. Brilliant & easy!!

  22. Que bacana! Vou fazer um igual para a Mafalda, minha bulldog inglesa. Obrigada por compartilhar!

  23. Que bacana! Vou fazer um igual para a Mafalda, minha bulldog inglesa. Obrigada por compartilhar!

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