Double Hand-Pleated Tutu Skirts

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a single- pleated tutu skirt and one that has been double hand-pleated? Not being super-knowledgeable about the methods used in hand pleating tutu skirts has left me with a few questions.

The internet offers very little information about the differences in construction regarding double pleating. Good example photographs were also very scarce. I decided to go ahead and check in with Costume Creations to find out more about these two different pleating methods.


Double Hand-Pleated Tutu Skirt by Costume Creations UK
Double Hand-Pleated Tutu Skirt by Costume Creations UK

Standard Hand Pleating

A standard single-pleat consists of fabric, or in this case tulle, being tucked and folded once at regular intervals around the circumference of the tutu skirt. Single-pleated tutu skirts have less weight to hold them down. Although single pleating can be used successfully, it takes  great skill to pleat the tulle at the correct depth.  Single pleating on tulle can produce thin and droopy skirt edges when the tulle fans out.

Single hand-pleated tutu skirts tend to bunch up at the top layer which is another reason that many dancers and designers prefer double-pleated tutus.

There are some ballet costume designers who skip pleating altogether and only gather the tulle.  Tulle that is gathered actually has more body and weight than the single-pleat method.

Double Hand Pleating

Double hand-pleating a tutu skirt involves folding the tulle over twice at each pleat interval around the skirt. The depths of each individual pleat are determined by the designer according to the needs of the dancer.

Why Is One Pleating Style Chosen Over Another?

Double hand-pleated tutu skirts are chosen over the single pleated style because they look better and lay better. The extra weight of doubled up fabric gives the tutu skirt added body and firmness. The skirt lays flat and the tutu behaves better.
The many facets of tutu creation are amazing. I would venture to say that tutu couture is an exact science that many of us will never quite understand. There is always more than meets the eye when it comes to the business of couture ballet costumes, hand-pleating and design principals. Thank goodness I only have to write about it.


  1. I’m a fashion designer, and I’ve been asked to make some classical tutu’s for a ballet production. I’ve made kilts and spanish costumes, but classical tutu’s are another kettle of fish. I’m sure I can manage the bodice from pictures, but I’d love to get a pancake tutu skirt pattern and tutu panty construction instructions! Do you know where I can get them?

  2. I am very sorry Katherine but every tutu has to be cut differently for each dancer otherwise they will not sit or look right.. It is not just pattern cuttting, the whole aspect of the ballet, the dance, and the dancer requires a lot of consideration and experience.

  3. I’m making my first tutu. Do you double pleat all layers? I have all layers double pleated but am finding some people saying to only do the top 3 so the tutu isn’t too heavy. Don’t know what to do, leave it or take out the bottom layers and just single pleat. I want a strong tutu that will stand up to partnering. My daughter is dancing Aurora and I am making the party tutu and the wedding tutu. Advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  4. My dancer is 16 and dancing with the Asheville Ballet in NC. They are doing the full Sleeping Beauty. Since I already have all layers double pleated, will it work if I use them that way or do I need to redo several layers.

  5. Am waiting for a tutu making course to come up. Meanwhile I’m practising. What width should the double pleats be? It looks like there are different ways of making the pleats double. Is there a correct way?

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