There was the seven (fingers bleeding by the end) Peter Pan fairy costumes. Two Halloweens ago an adorable Hoot Owl . Last years Olaf and Elsa. Tulle and I are friends. Inexpensive, easy, with endless possibilities....
This year the baby doll has been dreaming. Dreaming of mermaids... or "wormaids" as she pronounces it. She is dreaming of red flowing hair and a shiny green tail. However, one thing I truly cannot stand about tulle is how messy bunches of it can get. I have tried everything to keep it from bunching up. Its usually a catastrophe. The Elsa dress was fabulous, but by the end of the night it was a ball of static electric leaves and crud.
I kept thinking about this as I began to formulate a plan for the wormaid tail of a little girls dreams. After playing around a bit... this is what I came up with. I used this technique for fairy costumes and it was a hit. I have had numerous dance teachers ask how this was done. I am finally getting to posting a tutorial. By far my favorite. A little tedious, but totally worth it! The best thing (besides its not a fluff ball) is that she can use this tail for dress up after Halloween!
For a child size tail.
*4-6 rolls of 25 yard tulle. You can do solid colors or mix up a few.
*Measuring tape or ruler
*Sewing thread and needles
*Hot glue gun and sticks
*Ironing board. Not necessary, but will make life much easier.
1. Start by taking two measurements. One of the waist and one from the waist to the floor. Add a few extra inches to both of these so the waist can be tied in a fancy bow and you have material to work with on the bottom. Double the waist to floor length so you can fold the material in half, securing it to the waist piece in a slipknot. This is how a basic tulle skirt is fabricated. If you are new to skirt tying Ben Franklin Crafts has a quick and easy tutorial here. Use your waist to floor measurement to cut multiple strips before beginning to tie.
2. You can tie all of your strips onto the waist band first or take it in sections. I find sections easier. You will be braiding three strands and stitching braids together. The excess tulle will get in the way. Its really up to you. I have done it both ways.
3. Taking three strands create a braid. Keep even tension. Use a tape measure or ruler to decide where your braid will end and the flared portion of the tail will begin. I like to use safety pins to secure the bottom until they are stitched together. This will also help you keep your braid ends consistent and even.
4. Take two completed braids, secure your thread at the top of the braid closest to the waist band and use a simple whip stitch to bind the braids together. When you get to your safety pin at the bottom whip stitch the ends of the tulle braids as well to prevent them from coming undone. The third picture in the frame below shows how this is done. Each braid has a straight line of stitching along the bottom.
5. Secure the end of your thread. I found that the bottom was not quite thick enough, and could be fluffier. Simply add an additional strip of fabric to the backside of the skirt as shown above.
6. Continue tying, braiding, stitching (I just noticed the typo in my photo) and gluing until the desired width is achieved. Once it is wide enough to go around that wiggly little body you are done! You can stop there, or flip it over to the front and add some bows and additional length and thickness on the front. Your little one will adore you! Tie the excess tulle on the waist band into a fancy bow. I did not apply fixed fasteners on the back. I found looping extra tulle through the braiding secure, adjustable and flexible enough for her to run around in! Trim any long pieces from the bottom.
The stitching portion could be done with a sewing machine for added strength, or just to be a bit quicker. Someone more talented than myself with the sewing machine could probably accomplish this. I found the sewing machine difficult. Once you get the hang of it, the whip stitching goes pretty quick!
What is your go to material? Have a safe and Happy Halloween!