Tulle is all the rage right now. Lucky for me (and you) it is super cheap, photographs well, and it’s appropriate for everyone from boudoir clients, to seniors, to children. I was originally inspired by Sue Bryce and her style of tulle dresses but I came up with my own similar process. It’s nothing new – tutu style skirts have been quite popular for a while now – but I’m going to show you how to make an adjustable couture style tulle skirt that will fit an array of ladies passing through your studio.
You’ll need a bolt of tulle (the one I used was 40 yards, I could have easily used more for a larger woman) which is available in most fabric and craft stores for around $1.50 /yard (can go up to $4/yard depending on how boutique the store is) and full bolts can be found on Amazon for significantly cheaper. I got the tulle for this particular skirt from tulleshop.com. You’ll also need scissors, satin ribbon, pins, and either a sewing machine or a needle and thread and a lot of patience.
The first thing you must do is measure the length of tulle you want. For this skirt, which hit mid-shin, I unrolled the tulle bolt 4 times before cutting. If you want a floor length skirt, you’ll probably need to unroll the bolt 5 or 6 times depending on how much you want it to pool at the bottom.
Keep the tulle folded in half, just like it came off the bolt, and grab the center of the folded side. The idea is to hold it like you would when you are putting tissue paper in a gift bag. Pin it to the center of your ribbon. Continue this process with all the tulle cuttings, alternating sides you are pinning to keep the skirt centered, until you have reached desired fullness or run out of tulle.
Get your sewing machine ready and stitch the pieces of tulle on where you pinned them. I used a zig-zag stitch on this skirt, but I think I prefer a straight stitch better. The tulle can get heavy and after a while the zig-zag stitches seem to pull some but I haven’t noticed it as much with a straight stitch.
Now all you have to do is find a willing model. They should be in abundant supply since everyone loves these skirts. Little girls think it makes them look like a princess and big girls think it makes them look like a model. They are just as fun and whimsical to wear as they are to photograph!
Sarah Vasquez, Washington
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Sarah Vasquez is a commercial and editorial style photographer living as a Texan transplant in Seattle with her handsome husband, 3 daughters, and fat little dog. She specializes in children’s concept photography, heavily inspired by vintage Americana, childhood, and the magic of storytelling, her photos tell a story filled with whimsy and nostalgia to enrapture imaginations.