When adding drama and flair to a piece, few fabrics do the job better than tulle. For decades, this has been a beloved fabric in the world of fashion and décor. Known for its soft touch and airy layers, tulle is perfect for creating dreamy, romantic silhouettes.
From dramatic tutus to iridescent ballgowns, tulle is always at home when the occasion calls for a show-stopping piece. So, whether you’re a seasoned designer or new to the sewing world, it’s vital to know all about what tulle can do for your garments. While this might be a notoriously difficult fabric to work with, there are some tricks that make it much easier.
In this blog post, we’re reviewing everything you need to know about sewing with tulle fabric, from how to gather it into layers to how to select your colours. Let’s get started!
Understand the Tulle Types
Tulle fabric comes from a small town in France of the same name. It’s an offshoot of bobbin lace and, over the years, has taken on a life of its own. As a sheer, almost net-like fabric, the tulle weave can result in a stiff or drapey fabric, depending on what kind of fibres it’s made of. The most common fibres used to make tulle are cotton, nylon, polyester, rayon, and silk.
At the Fabric Shop, we offer nylon tulle because of its versatility. Nylon tulle is less absorbent than silk and cotton, meaning it can hold its shape very well. This makes it excellent for layering and shaping structured garments. On top of that, it’s much easier to wash and dry than cotton or silk tulle.
Create Dimension with Layers
Speaking of layering, one of the best aspects of working with tulle is the ability to layer the fabrics over each other. This adds a ton of volume, shape, and colour to gowns and dance recital uniforms.
Tulle is prized for its ability to add dimension to garments, so it’s important to know how to gather the fabric.
How to Gather Tulle
To gather your tulle, you’ll need to hand-sew long gathering stitches into the netting and draw the threads out to make bunches in the fabric. Since the tulle holds its shape so well, the result will be a structured pleating that increases in volume the more you gather the panel. Think of it like drawstrings on a pair of sweatpants, drawing the waistband tighter.
From there, you’ll need to secure your tulle’s new position by running a stitch along the layers. Make sure to use a gathering foot if you’re using a sewing machine so that the fabric doesn’t catch and bunch in ways you don’t want.
Play with Colours
One of the most fun parts of working with tulle is the ability to layer colours over each other to achieve different effects. A monochromatic garment with a pop of colour under the skirt takes the dress up a few notches.
Think of tulle fabric like watercolour paints. If you layer the colours over top of each other, you can shift the colours as if you’re mixing paints together. For example, a bright pink layered beneath a crisp white will create a softer, more muted pink with spots of vibrancy.
Careful Finishing is Essential
Finally, tulle is a bit finicky to work with. It’s a type of netting, meaning the raw edge will have loose threads and possibly poke if left to its own devices. Though you can leave a raw hem on if you’re short on time.
Therefore, it’s important to know how to finish your tulle layers when you’re working on a garment. You can either use a simple folded hem with a running stitch along the edge or finish the edge with ribbon, horsehair, or hem tape to make it feel extra clean.
Consider using a strip of extra tulle in the same colour to reinforce your seams. This won’t affect how sheer it is, but it will help your garment to hold up for longer. This is especially useful if you’re sewing for high-movement pieces like dance recital uniforms or pieces that might need to be washed often.
With all these tulle tips and tricks in your toolbox, you’re ready to start making greatness! As with any piece, make sure to carefully plan before you start cutting. As they say, measure twice and cut once to avoid wasting any valuable fabric. Finally, take things slowly. Tulle can be fussy, and it’s okay to take your time and work with the intention to make sure you get the best results.
If you’re unsure whether tulle is the right fabric for your project, don’t worry! We’re always here to help. Get in touch with our experienced team, and we’ll help you select the right fabric for your project.
Give your garment the dimension it deserves with tulle
Our stunning tulle fabric range is perfect for everything from dance recitals to incredible bridesmaid dresses. Add a flair of drama and playfulness thanks to our wide selection.
Spoilt for choice? Get in touch with the team at The Fabric Shop, and we’ll be happy to run you through your options.