Tulle is a fabric that stirs up images of flowing garments with lots of movement. The material brings to mind floaty ball gowns, ballet costumes, and luxury netting.
Tulle has a sheer, delicate appearance with an even, soft texture. You can find tulle garments available in lots of different colors, as well as ones that are treated with beautiful embroidery.
You’ll find out more about tulle in this post, including what it is, some of its uses, and advice on caring for tulle garments, to make them last as long as possible.
Tulle: The Basics
Tulle is a fine, delicate, and soft material. It can be made from both natural fibers, like rayon or silk, as well as artificial ones, like polyester or nylon.
The tulle that’s often seen in fabric stores tends to be synthetic, polyester tulle. This is cheap to purchase and is available in lots of different colors. Tulle made from natural fibers is usually more expensive.
Different types of tulle can vary a lot. The tulle can be slightly opaque or sheer, based on the hole size and weight of the material. The holes in the fabric mean that it’s very hard to find completely opaque tulle, though you can address this by adding a lining or using several layers.
You can embroider tulle for decorative purposes. The fabric can be available in bolts as small as six inches, or as wide as 108 inches.
Tulle has a soft, delicate texture which helps to bulk up tutus and costumes. Less expensive tulle can feel scratchy on the skin, while expensive tulle feels more comfortable.
If you’re thinking about creating tulle garments, run the material on your skin before buying it to ensure it’s comfortable.
Difference Between Netting And Tulle
Netting and tulle look like each other, which is why the terms are often used in place of each other. However, tulle is more expensive than netting and has a softer feel, which is why it’s a better choice for clothing.
Netting works best for craft purposes which need a stiffer material. Tulle can be too delicate for robust craft tasks and can easily be damaged, if not cared for properly.
Popular Tulle Uses
Here are some common uses of tulle:
- Wedding Veils and Dresses: Some of the most popular tulle garments.
- Evening Dresses: Can be partially or fully made with tulle. Tulle works well to make dress skirts, as well as sleeves and bodices.
- Overlay: Tulle fabric overlays can look amazing on top of gowns and children’s dresses.
- Lining: Tulle can be used as a fabric lining, helping to add more movement to decorative pieces.
- Dance Costumes: Often made with several tulle layers, as this enhances movement and softness.
- Petticoats: Lightweight tulle layers to add bulk without adding any excess weight.
- Tutus: Ballet tutus are traditionally made from tulle. The material can also be used for ballet costume sleeves and collars.
- Flower Settings: Tulle is used to dress up flower arrangements. A simple bow or fabric flower can make a bunch of flowers seem more elegant (see also ‘14 Amazing Elegant Vintage Dresses To Enhance Your Wardrobe‘).
- Crafts: Tulle is a multipurpose material that is good for creating bows, gift wrapping, and home decor. Craft enthusiasts often use the material to create fabric flowers, bows, and even hats.
Different Types Of Tulle
Tulle is available in many different types, which are:
- Silk tulle is extremely delicate and soft. It’s created with 100% pure silk, which is why it’s often expensive to purchase. Upscale evening dresses and wedding gowns can be made with silk tulle.
- French silk tulle is delicate, lightweight, and soft. Adding layers of French silk tulle can make a garment seem fuller without adding too much weight.
- English silk tulle weighs more than polyester or nylon tulle, which is why it’s more robust. This is a good choice of tulle for embroidery purposes.
- Italian silk tulle feels coarse and rough compared to other types of tulle.
- Micro tulle has very small holes which are sometimes used to make mosquito nets.
- Bridal illusion tulle is a mix of nylon and polyester. It’s generally used to make bridal wedding veils. Illusion tulle is more affordable, which is why it’s a nice choice for big craft projects. Designers also favor illusion tulle as it holds its form better than other types.
- Polyester tulle is rigid, making it a nice choice for craft tasks.
- Nylon tulle is affordable and easily accessible at craft stores.
- Glimmer illusion tulle is shiny with a light sparkle to it.
- Stretch illusion tulle is made with spandex to help the fabric stretch. It’s often used to line dresses, as it has more give.
Advice On Caring For Tulle
Here are some tips to help you take care of your tulle garments.
- Tulle is best washed with a light detergent, but look at your tulle garments tag’s laundry symbols before washing it. A lot of tulle garments are dry-clean-only, particularly if they have beading or embroidery.
- Tulle should never enter a washing machine. The fabric’s fibers are too delicate. Hot water, as well as tumble dryer heat, can damage these fibers, breaking down the fabric as a result.
- If you want to iron tulle, always use the lowest heat setting. Never leave the iron to rest on the fabric. Place a pressing cloth between the tulle fabric and your iron, as artificial fabric fibers tend to melt. Keep moving the iron and never let it stop in one place.
- If your tulle garment is particularly creased, hang it up in a steamy shower room. The steam will smooth the wrinkles out of the fabric. If the tulle has a lot of creases, or wrinkles that are particularly deep, it may need to be dry cleaned.
Now you know some more about tulle! This lightweight material is incredibly versatile, as it can be used to make many different garments, home decor, and craft pieces.
There are lots of different types of tulle, but if you’re planning on embroidering it, opt for a stiffer variety, like polyester tulle. Other types of tulle can be very delicate, as needle stitches can easily damage fine mesh fibers.
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