When I began this tutorial, I had my plan all ready to go when I realized I somehow ordered 8 inch tutu tops and not the 10 inch ones and knew that a smaller band wouldn't fit my daughter, so I had to figure out a way of making it larger. Normally, when I order my supplies, I make sure to get two of everything in case a back up is needed. I apparently was having an off day because not only did I order the wrong size bands, I only ordered a pink and a white so it kinda stumped my original idea and I was left wondering what to do to make the correct size band that I needed. To do that, I folded the pink band in half and then sewed it to the top edge of the white band. I then tied the tulle strips to form the skirt and decided that the dress was too much like "Hello Kitty". It wasn't until this moment when I remembered I actually DID have a 10 inch band in my supply bins, except it was in Ivory... but it turns out that it worked perfectly! But trust me when I say to double or even triple check your shopping cart so that you can skip all of this drama and the extra work I made for myself. With that said ~ Let's get started!
First, you'll need to gather your supplies.
You'll need tulle in your chosen colors, two rolls per color. I chose pastels because it's Easter colors, after all.
Your Tutu Top - I like the lined tops because it doesn't allow skin to peek through and the material is soft against the skin. (in the correct size of course! My daughter is 4 and requires a 10 in band. Younger children may be able to use a smaller one.)
Ribbon - in your chosen color, 7/8 inch, 2 rolls
Bunny ears & tail set
Marabou puffs in your chosen color - I used 4
Floral Shabby Bow Leg warmers - optional - I chose the Pastel Polka Dot ones but THBC has a couple really cute Easter options to choose from.
I also ordered a few rhinestone buttons in hopes of using them as "eggs" but didn't end up using them, which you'll read about later on. You can still use these if you choose.
Measuring tape / measuring mat
Child sized dress form OR a cardboard T-shirt form in child size, found at craft stores.
Sewing needle and thread - optional
Fabric glue or I use E6000 glue
Bunny felt pieces were from a friend of mine (her group page is called Felties by Rhia and it can be found on Facebook) or you might be able to find some in a craft store or you can come up with your own design!
Rhinestones - These I already had on hand but can be found in craft stores
1. Place your crochet band on your dress form or t-shirt form with the seam centered and facing you. This will be the back side of the dress and your starting point.
2. Measure and cut your tulle strips. To do this, you'll need to measure your child to determine how long you'd like the skirt to be. I find a good start point is the top of their pants waist band, down to where you want the skirt to stop. Got that number? Good, now double it! To ensure you get the correct length after tying the tulle strips, you MUST double your measurement. For mine, I knew I wanted the skirt to be a bit shorter than I normally do so that I could show off those adorable leg warmers! So starting at my daughter's waist (top of jeans) I measured to where I wanted it to end and got 7 inches. But since we need to double, I would be measuring out and cutting my tulle at 14 inches. Before I began cutting, I like to go around the band and count all of the empty spaces along the bottom row to help determine how much tulle I'll need to cut. Now this was before I remembered about the 10 inch band I had, so I technically counted the spaces on an 8 inch band and my count was 50. I also had 5 colors I was using so I knew that I would need 10 strips, per color for each layer of skirt I decided to make. I always make at least two layers, which is what I did for this dress. The more skirt layers you do, the fluffier the skirt!
3. Now you can decide your color pattern and start tying the strips onto the bottom row of your crochet band. Starting next to the seam, take a tulle strip and fold it in half lengthwise and then fold it the other way while lining up your ends, and forming a loop at the top. Place the loop through the space and pull the ends up through the loop and back down to form a slip knot. Do this around the entire band and when you reach the seam again, simply move up to the row above and make your second skirt layer. Then 3rd layer or however many you want.
4. Once the skirt is finished, you can leave it as is or you can wrap the waist using ribbon. I like to wrap it because I think it just gives the dress a more finished look. To do this, start again at the seam. Unroll the entire roll of ribbon and tie a small knot in one end. This knot will help in pushing the ribbon between the tulle and fabric top. Push the knot under the band, behind the tulle strips and up through the empty space above the top skirt layer. Pull most of the ribbon through, but leave about a 10 inch tail hanging. Taking the knotted ribbon end again, repeat that process with the next space and so on.
Pull the ribbon tight enough that it will fold itself over the knots of the skirt but not too tight or it will just be smooshed and bunched up. Continue the over-and-under process until you reach the seam again and then tie your ends into a knot, as small as possible while again, not pulling too tightly and cut off most of the length of ribbon, leaving a few inches on each side in case it comes untied.
5. For the dress's straps, I forgot to take pictures for this step but I decided on a halter style. To do this, I really didn't measure. I just cut a long piece of ribbon and folded it on a angle to form a V shape at the bottom. I then sewed the V in place and then sewed it to the top of the dress, on the inside. If you can't sew, this can still be done with fabric glue. Just glue the V in place and allow to dry thoroughly. It may help to hold it in place by sitting something heavy on it. Once I had it sewed to the top, I put the dress on my daughter and tied the straps around her neck so I would know where I needed to cut the ribbon to remove the excess. If you'd prefer shoulder straps instead, simply measure from the top of the front armpit crease, over the child's shoulder and down to the top of the back armpit crease. Add 2 inches to that measurement because you'll be sewing or gluing that extra inch on each end to the inside of the dress, both front and back. I found that approximately 2 inches from the side of the neck makes a good shoulder strap placement so that is where you'll want to sew or glue the straps to. If you glue, remember to sit something heavy on it to hold it in place while it dries or stick a pin it to hold.
6. Ready for the fun stuff now? It's time to decorate the dress! Before I start any sewing or gluing of designs, I like to pin it to the form and take a photo so that I have something to look back on in case I forget where I wanted something to be. I knew I wanted my design to look like a meadow or grassy area for my bunny to peek out of. So after I pinned my pieces and took my picture, I determined where the top of the grass (marabou puff) would be and pinned it so I didn't lose my spot. Then taking the roll of green tulle, I completely unrolled the entire thing. Makes for a huge tulle pile, but necessary. Take one end and tie a small tight knot in it - just don't pull too tight or the tulle will rip. Taking the loose end of the tulle, smoosh it a bit and tie it in a small tight knot to the spot where you stuck your pin
7. Taking the loose end of the tulle, I pulled it down on a slight angle and pushed the ends through a space on the dress and weaved it in and out of random spots, all the way around the dress, while pulling through all of the excess so that it takes shape. Just don't pull it too tight or you might not be able to get the dress off the form or onto your child. I tried to make sure that I weaved every row but the tulle can be fluffed a bit to help cover any rows you choose not to weave. If you're working on an angle such as I did, don't forget to work the tulle back up on the opposite side when you get there. Do this for the entire bottom half of the dress bodice and when you reach the end, tie the strip to another "square" of the fabric in a small tight knot and cut off the excess as short as possible without making the knot come loose. You can also weave every empty space if you desire a more "basket" effect.
8. Once the green half was done, I then did the same exact thing on the top of the dress bodice except with blue tulle to make the "sky". Don't worry about all of those white spots showing. I have a plan for those too!
9. Once the top of the dress has been weaved, we can move on to the actual design. Before you start gluing it is a good idea to place a piece of wax paper between the dress and your form so that any glue that seeps through won't glue the dress to the form.
10. With the front of the dress facing you, start where you began the green tulle, or wherever you stuck your pin. Add some glue to the back of the bunny's head and allow it to sit a minute or two so that the glue becomes tackier. Then place the head where you want it and pin it in place. I then followed this by removing the clips from the marabou puffs, then adding the glue and placed the marabou puffs directly below the bunny's head into a big egg shape. Pin in place. Follow this by gluing and pinning the bunny's feet where you want them.
11. As for those white spots all over the dress, I decided to cover them using the pink rhinestones that I had on hand. (I'm pretending they're sparkle eggs.) To do that, I squeezed some glue out onto a piece of paper and allowed it to get tacky for a minute or two then using a toothpick, I got a gob of glue on the end and touched it to the back of a stone to pick it up. Then I placed it against a white spot and holding it in place with your opposite hand, push it against the fabric while pulling the tooth pick away. Press again to ensure it sticks. If not, you may need more glue. Allow to dry overnight for best results.
That's it! Simply add your bunny ears and tail and your little bunny is ready to start hopping! I hope your daughter loves her dress as mush as mine does
*I would like to make a note that I had intended to sew rhinestone buttons onto the marabou puffs to act as Easter eggs but of course, absentminded me glued them to the dress before I sewed anything and I attempted to sew them on once the dress was dry but once dry, that glue is crazy hard to push a needle through and ended up shoving the "eye" of the needle through my thumb. Which as it turns out, hurts a lot more than the pointy end of the needle and makes for a lot of blood, so that would be my reason for why I ended up skipping that part!
*Another note I'd like to mention is that when you take the dress off of your form, you will notice how the tulle that you wove will slacken and appear loose and bunched up. Don't worry! It will smooth back out once you put it on your child!