Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Making a No-Sew Doll Leotard, Tutu, Slippers

During October 2016 a "5-minute crafts" video floated around on Facebook illustrating how to make a doll leotard (using a balloon), a tutu (using tulle) and slippers (using Saran wrap and glue).   The above video appears to be the same content as the one several members of my Facebook group used as a guide to create these items for one of their dolls by December 31, 2016.  This post shares the steps I took, with a few minor adjustments, to make Curvy Barbie a no-sew leotard, tutu, and slippers.  Length of time to make will vary, but it requires more than five minutes.

What I Used
Curvy Barbie
Balloon to create the leotard
Tulle cut into strips (I used two colors, light and dark pink)
Ribbon for waist of tutu and slipper ties
Pink acrylic paint for slippers
Paint brush
Saran wrap (large enough to cover both feet, individually); changed to self-adhesive sports tape
Aleene's Tacky Glue

The leotard was a breeze to make.  It only required snipping off both corners of the bottom of the balloon to create leg holes.  For the top of the bodice to be smooth, the top roll of the balloon was cut off.  I used Curvy Barbie because the balloon I used sagged in the back on a Fashionista Barbie.

Creating the Tutu
Cutting several strips of tulle to create the tutu was time consuming.  My daughter saw me doing this and showed me a quicker way to cut multiple strips at a time.  The tulle was first folded in half, folded again, folded once more, then the folded section cut crosswise in strips of the desired width. This was captured in the following photos.

It does not matter that the strips are uneven because they will be bunched up after all are looped individually around the ribbon waistband as shown below (and as the video illustrates):

The tutu is halfway complete in this photo.

The Shoes
I tried the Saran-wrap-and-glue method of creating the slippers, but because I wrapped so much Saran wrap around the doll's feet before applying the glue, the layers of Saran wrap were still loose around the sides of the slipper after the glue dried.  An attempt at gluing these layers together failed.  I devised a plan B of using self-adhesive sports bandage over the doll's Saran-wrapped feet, cut the excess off, left enough in the back to create a tab to thread the ribbon ties through, applied several coats of Aleene's Tacky glue, allowed this to dry, then painted the slippers using acrylic paint.  See these steps in the following photos:

Saran-wrapped feet have one layer of self-adhesive sports bandage wrapped on top, the excess of which is cut away to create the shape of the slippers.

Several layers of Aleene's Tacky Glue are painted on top of the self-adhesive sports bandage with each layer allowed to dry before applying the next.

The glue-painted area of the slippers dries clear.

The excess self-adhesive bandage is cut away to form the shape of the slippers.

The back tab through which the ribbon ties are later laced is shown in this side view of the slippers.  Note that the protective Saran wrap is removed.

More Saran wrap is applied to the feet before the slippers are placed back on and painted pink with acrylic paint. 

After the paint dries, a wide gauge sewing needle is used to create two parallel holes in each back tab.  The eye of the needle is wide enough to thread the ribbon for the ties through the eye.  The ribbon-threaded needle is then used to guide the ribbon through the holes in the tab.  See next photo.
Completed slippers from the back with ribbon ties first guided through the parallel holes in each tab of the slippers before lacing the ribbons around the ankles.

Front view

Side view

A piece of ribbon that matches the slipper ties is added to the top of the leotard.
A piece of the same ribbon used for the top of the leotard and the slipper ties accents Curvy Barbie's side ponytail.

Curvy Barbie remains happy to be chosen to wear the ballerina outfit because she knows size should not prevent a person who possesses the ability and passion to dance from doing so.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.



  1. So cute. She looks really nice in her outfit. That balloon trick is pretty ingenious.

    1. Thanks, Vanessa! I enjoyed the challenge.


  2. You did a great job Debbie! She looks cute in her homemade pink ballerina outfit. All my thanks to your daughter for the cutting trick.

    1. My daughter's trip was very helpful and eased the frustration that was building up due to the slow method I was using to cut the tulle strips.


  3. Wow, this is awesome!! You did an outstanding job! I had never seen this before. I plan to share this with my doll club for an activity. Thanks for sharing Debbie!

    1. Thanks, G.G. and you're welcome! One of the ladies in the group conducted a workshop with the junior collectors of her doll club and shared photos of the girls' and the outfits they made. They all did a great job!


  4. Wonderful job, Debbie! I never would've thought to use a balloon for a leotard..genius!

    1. I thought it was something that I just had to try Farrah Lily. One of the members of my group used a balloon like this one to create her leotard. The "ears" of the ballon became the legs of the leotard, which extended to just above the doll's knees.



Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!