Whether you are making a wedding veil, a tutu, or a ball gown, sewing with tulle requires patience, skill, and attention to detail.
By following the tips and tricks we provide in this article, you can avoid some of the common pitfalls and achieve beautiful, professional-looking results.
So, let’s dive in and explore the challenges and solutions of sewing with tulle!
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In many ways, tulle is like sewing chiffon. So, you should also check our article here about how to sew chiffon without trouble.
Sewing tulle can be a challenge even for experienced sewers. Tulle is a delicate fabric that is lightweight, sheer, and prone to snagging, tearing, and shifting.
Sewing with tulle requires special techniques and precautions to achieve the desired results.
In this article, we will discuss some of the common problems that arise when sewing tulle and provide tips and tricks to help you overcome them.
Tearing and Ripping
Tulle is a delicate fabric that can easily snag, tear, or rip.
This is especially true if you are using a regular sewing machine with a standard needle.
To avoid this problem, use a sharp needle with a smaller size, like a size 60/8. It is also important to handle the fabric gently and avoid pulling or stretching it too much while sewing.
This is also why you find tulle on our list of the most difficult fabrics you can sew.
Tulle can be a challenging fabric to sew because it tends to shift and move around while you are stitching. This can result in uneven stitches, which can be unsightly and weaken the fabric.
To avoid this problem, use a straight stitch plate and adjust the stitch length to 3-5.
Also, lower the presser foot pressure by 10-15, depending on the number of layers, and adjust after test sewing for the desired look.
Delicate Fabric to Work With
Tulle is a delicate fabric that can be difficult to work with, especially for beginners. It is important to handle the fabric gently and avoid pulling or stretching it too much while sewing.
Also, use cotton thread to help with static build-up and avoid ironing or pressing the fabric directly to prevent damage.
Difficulty Hemming Tulle
Hemming tulle can be a tricky task, as the fabric tends to fray and unravel easily.
To hem tulle, try using a rolled hem foot or a narrow hemming foot to create a clean and neat finish. Alternatively, you can use a strip of bias tape to bind the raw edges of the fabric.
Tulle has a slippery surface that can make it difficult to handle and sew.
To prevent the fabric from shifting or moving around while you are stitching, use a layer of tissue paper or a stabilizer underneath the fabric. This will help keep the fabric in place and make it easier to sew.
When sewing tulle, the fabric’s delicate and lightweight nature can cause multiple layers to shift during sewing, leading to misaligned seams.
To counter this issue, baste the layers together with long, loose stitches or use fabric clips to hold them in place. This extra care will ensure a smoother and more polished result, preventing potential problems caused by layer shifting.
Tulle’s fine, open weave makes imperfections like uneven stitches and puckering more visible.
To achieve a professional finish, practice sewing tulle scraps to perfect your technique, ensuring consistent stitch length and tension settings.
This hands-on experience will help you avoid potential issues when working on your final project.
Difficult to pin
Pinning tulle securely can be challenging due to its delicate structure.
To avoid damaging the fabric, consider using fabric clips or small binder clips instead of pins. These alternatives will provide a secure hold without piercing the material or leaving visible marks.
Requires a sharp needle
Using a sharp, fine needle (e.g., size 70/10 or 80/12) is crucial when sewing tulle to prevent snags, tears, or damage to the fabric.
A sharp needle easily pierces the open weave of tulle, creating clean, even stitches while minimizing the risk of ruining the material.
Incorrect tension settings on your sewing machine may lead to puckering or loose stitches when sewing tulle. To avoid this, test on tulle scraps to find the right tension balance that will provide a smooth, even stitch without pulling or distorting the fabric.
Proper tension settings will contribute to a professional and polished appearance.
Sensitive to heat
Tulle is sensitive to heat and can be damaged by high temperatures during ironing.
To protect the fabric, always use a pressing cloth and a low heat setting. Be cautious when applying steam and avoid pressing down on the fabric too firmly.
This gentle approach will help maintain tulle’s delicate structure and appearance.
Tips for Sewing Tulle
Here are some good tips for sewing in this fine material without ripping it.
#1 Place Tissue Paper Between the Sewing Machine Feed and the Tulle to Stabilize
When sewing tulle, it can be difficult to keep the fabric from slipping and sliding around.
One way to combat this is to place tissue paper between the sewing machine feed and the tulle. This will help stabilize the fabric and prevent it from shifting as you sew.
#2 Choosing the Right Needle and Thread
Using the right needle and thread is important when sewing tulle. A needle that is too small can cause the fabric to bunch up, while a needle that is too large can create holes in the fabric.
A lightweight needle and thread are recommended for sewing tulle.
We have a good guide here on issues with getting the right needle.
#3 Using the Right Stitching Technique
When sewing tulle, it’s important to use the right stitching technique. A straight stitch can cause the fabric to bunch up, so it’s recommended to use a zigzag stitch instead.
This will help keep the fabric smooth and prevent it from puckering. (something we also see as a problem when sewing minky fabric)
#4 Using Proper Cutting Techniques
Cutting tulle can be tricky, as it tends to shift and move around. To prevent this, it’s recommended to use a rotary cutter or sharp scissors.
Make sure to cut slowly and carefully, and use a cutting mat to protect your work surface.
#4 How to Handle Tulle Care (to Prevent Damage)
- Store tulle in a cool, dry place to prevent it from becoming brittle or discolored.
- Avoid ironing tulle, as it can melt or become damaged.
- Use a low heat setting or steam to remove wrinkles.
- Handle tulle gently to prevent tearing or snagging.
One of the main problems with sewing tulle is that it can be difficult to control due to its lightweight and slippery nature. It can easily shift or bunch up during sewing, resulting in uneven or crooked seams.
Additionally, tulle is prone to snagging and tearing, which can ruin your project.
To avoid these problems, it is important to use the right tools and techniques when sewing with tulle.