Let’s face it, the economy doesn’t seem to be improving and sometimes stay-at-home moms’ options are very limited when it comes to trying to provide a second income. More and more women are turning to home-based businesses to help ease some of the burden on their spouses.
Putting your creativity to the test and selling your creations can be a way to make money.
I started selling tutus on Craigslist, eBay and word of mouth. The response was amazing and I was making close to $500 a month when I started. It may not seem like a lot, but for a stay-at-home mom, that extra cash has gotten us through some tough times. My husband was self-employed and worked from home, so the income he was earning at the time was not stable. Those extra few hundred dollars would cover groceries.
So whether you just want a little extra cash or want to make it a full-time business, making tutus for sale may be the home business you’ve been looking for.
Keep in mind that everyone and their moms make tutus, but there’s always a market even when you’re just starting out. Eventually, you can create your own tutu designs that will set you apart from the competition. Viewers immediately notice the lack of quality. Put a lot of effort into perfecting your technique and make sure you pay close attention to detail when making your tutus.
The great thing about learning how to make tutus is that even if you fail to sell them, you can still make the best gifts and save money since tutu materials are relatively few expensive.
Here are some of the materials you will need to make a tutu
Tulle Rolls: 6″ rolls by 25 yards are best
Optional: cutting mat, rotary cutter and lip edge ruler: the rotary cutter and mat make clean, even cuts. You can use fabric scissors if you can’t find the rotary cutter, mat and ruler. It will however take much longer to cut.
Roll of elastic 1/2″ wide. You can use an elastic headband for the waist if you want a 100% seamless tutu. No wrap elastic is best. I wouldn’t go wider than 3/4 ” elastic width
Needle and thread: Sew the ends of the elastic together or use the stretchy headband for a seamless waistband.
Elastic waistband construction:
1: Measure and cut the elastic 2-3″ smaller than the measurement, this way the belt will fit snugly around the child’s waist. Overlap the ends of the elastic at least 1/2-1″ and sew both ends of the elastic together. This is the only time you will sew. If you can’t sew, use a stretchy headband.
2: You will need between 1-3 rolls for a baby/toddler tutu. From 4 years old, start with 3-4 rolls. This estimate is for tutus slightly above the knee. Adjust the number of rolls accordingly.
To cut the length of the strips, you can place at least two rolls evenly on top of each other on top of the cutting mat and roll out the tulle. Line up the edge of the tulle with the 0″ mark on the cutting mat and cut the tulle to the desired length using a rotary cutter. Place a quilter’s lip edge ruler where you want to make your cutting and rolling the rotary cutter using the edge of the ruler as a guide can help prevent accidents.
Tutu length can be calculated by multiplying your desired tutu length by 2, then adding an additional 2″ to compensate for the knot you will be tying. Example: Tutu length (12″) x 2 = 24 + 2 = 26. Cut each strip at 26″ long. Your measurement may be different.
3: Fold the tulle strip in half to look like an upside down “U”. Bring the folded end behind the elastic waistband. This will create a loop behind and above the top edge of the elastic.
4: From the folded strip you will notice two hanging “tails”. Take both ends of the tulle strip through the loop you created and pull down to tighten. Be sure not to overtighten as this can stretch the elastic too much. It takes a bit of practice to get it right.
5: Double knotting is another way to attach your tulle to the waistband. Keep tying your knots until you reach the other side. You can tie additional knots to fill in any bare areas. Try to tie at least 4-5 knots per inch of your original waistline. So if you have a 20 inch belt you should be able to fit between 80 and 100 strips.
If the waistband stretches too much, cut the elastic and sew it back to the original waist measurement.
Embellish your tutu once you have completed the above steps.
Once you have perfected your technique, you can start thinking about selling your tutus. Look around online and compile a list of tutu sellers and see what they charge. This will help you determine a fair price.
Start by selling online or posting photos of your tutus to your Facebook account. You are bound to get word of mouth advertising there. Advertising at local ballet schools could be one way forward. Just make sure it’s not just a basic tutu. Take great photos because no matter how beautiful a tutu is, no one will see it against a poorly lit and cluttered background. Find what catches your eye and improve on it.
My new favorite site for finding ideas is Pinterest. Use it and when you build your website, you can start using Pinterest as a marketing tool.
One more important thing about selling…Make sure the materials and tutus are labeled according to the new CPSIA labeling laws for children’s products. Since February 2009, all children’s products sold must comply with all aspects of the law and safety standards, including new limits for lead and phthalates. This is governed by the CPSIA.
Most tulle manufacturers must state on their website if their tulle meets CPSIA standards.
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