What the Tulle? A guide to net fabric

Halloween is just around the corner and what better fabric to create a statement with your costumes this year than dress net?  We get asked a lot about both tulle and dress net and there seems to be some confusion about this family of fabrics and whether tulle and dress net are actually the same thing (they’re similar, but not the same).  We thought we’d put together a fabric guide to help you decide which type of net is best for your project, along with some tips on how to handle this fun and holey cloth!

Dress net hem
Option for finishing dress net raw edges

What’s the difference between Tulle and Dress Net?

It’s all in the drape, softness and size of the holes! Tulle is much softer to the touch than net and has smaller holes and it generally isn’t as stiff as regular dress net. Tulle is used for soft support, net is used for a stiffer look.

Tulle Fabric: Tulle is much softer and has smaller holes than dress net, it has a much better drape than traditional dress net and is often used for bridal veils, petticoats and can also be used as an interfacing. Tulle can also used for ballet tutus but will be starched. Tulle can be made from nylon or silk, and nylon tulle is much crisper than silk.

Dress Net Fabric: Net, or dress net is an open-mesh fabric with larger holes than tulle and it can be made from rayon, silk, nylon or cotton but commercially it’s usually found in nylon, unless you’re shopping for bridal fabric. Dress net can range from very sheer to very heavy and most of the dress net fabric available commercially is made from nylon and is quite stiff and is perfect for costume making where structure is required. It can also used in evening gowns, petticoats, millinery and for underlinings and net makes great ruffles which add volume to a garment.

Dress net skirt
Dress net makes fun costumes

Sewing with Dress Net & Tulle

Layout & Cutting

Net & tulle do not have a true grain, but there is more stretch in the width than the length. Despite not having a true grain it is advisable to cut conventionally with the lengthwise grain arrows parallel to the lengthwise grain of the fabric. Using a rotary cutter with net will give you the most accurate results. Follow the “Without Nap” cutting layout.

Machine needles

Use universal or sharps needles in sizes 60/8 – 80/12, depending on the weight of your net.

Stitch length

Use stitch length 1.5-2.5mm. You may need to lower the tension on your machine, always test on a scrap first.


Use a good quality polyester or cotton thread

Machine feet

Use a wide straight stitch or roller foot. You may also benefit from using a small hole needle plate if you have one.


Safety pins or tailors tacks are a good choice for marking on net. Remember to use a contrasting thread for tailors tacks for ease of visibility!

Seam Finish

Net and tulle do not unravel so seam finishing is not functionally required, however for aesthetic reasons you can choose plain seams, french, bound (with chiffon or tricot), rolled hem, you can even use a narrow satin stitch. Seams should be as narrow as practically possible. You can also overlock net fabrics; reinforcing with seam tape when overlocking  would be a good idea just in case the net rips. Use a bound seam at the hem to prevent dress net from itching or scratching the skin.


Don’t use button holes as they will pull out of the fabric. You can use instead button loops or small, reinforced snaps.

Other Top Tips for Sewing With Net Fabric

  • Place a small square of water soluble stabiliser between your machine foot and the fabric at the beginning of seams, and at the beginning and end of darts to stop your machine chewing your net.
  • Hold on to the top and bottom threads at the beginning of your seam to avoid the fabric being pulled down in to the needle plate.
  • Careful with the iron! Most commercial net fabric is made from nylon and will melt under high heat so ensure your iron isn’t too hot and that you use a pressing cloth.
  • Make a test seam to determine your stitch length and use tissue paper if your feed dogs are tearing the fabric
  • Stitch slowly! This will help to prevent unwanted puckers or gathers.

Have you ever sewn with net or tulle? Have anything to add? Do share your tips with us , we love to hear from you!

Dress net ruffle
Dress net adds volume to a hem

What Is Taffeta Fabric? A Fabric Guide

We’ve been getting lots of enquiries about taffeta fabric recently and we’re putting it’s popularity down to the fact that both wedding and prom seasons are upon us and taffeta is a very popular choice for posh frocks. With it’s crisp finish and subtle sheen, it’s not surprising it’s often a go-to choice for special occasion garments. Taffeta’s uses don’t stop at evening wear, it also lends itself well to home furnishings such as cushions and curtains where a glamorous feel to a room is desirable. Here’s a quick summary about taffeta fabric and some sewing tips…


What is Taffeta Fabric?

Taffeta is a fine, crisp, noisy woven fabric with a lustrous sheen that rustles when you walk!  The word “taffeta” derives from the Persian word tafta, which means “glossy twist” and originally the fabric was woven with highly twisted silk fibres. It’s the highly twisted yarn that give taffeta its characteristic crispness and these days taffeta can be found made from a variety of modern fibres such as nylon, viscose, polyester, acetate, or even a blend of these fibres.


Taffeta fabric belongs to the “Ribbed Weave” family of fabrics. What’s a ribbed weave I hear you ask?! These fabrics are created by using thick yarns in one direction of the fabric weave and much finer yarns in the other direction. Other fabrics in this family include poplin, broadcloth, and douppioni silk, to name a few.

What Can Taffeta Fabric be used for?

Taffeta is very versatile and can be used for dresses, bridal wear, evening dresses, prom dresses, suits, blouses, lining, trimmings, lingerie, costumes, hats, bags, curtains, upholstery and lampshades.

Taffeta dress

Tips for Sewing with Taffeta Fabric

  • Needle size: It’s best to use a Sharps needle with taffeta for both machine and hand sewing. On a sewing machine it’s best to use sizes 60/10 – 80/12 – depending on the weight of the taffeta
  • Stitch length: Use 1.7-2.5mm. Hold the fabric taught when sewing to help prevent puckering.
  • Thread: All purpose cotton or polyester thread.
  • Machine Feet: use a wide straight stitch foot or roller foot.
  • Layout: Use the “With Nap” layout when cutting out a pattern especially if your taffeta is iridescent
  • Fabric markers: Any type are suitable EXCEPT wax. Mark lightly and a little as possible. Ensure your test on a scrap of fabric!
  • Pins: pins can permanently mark taffeta so you may wish to consider using weights or clips but extra fine pins can often be used. If you find your fabric has pin holes these might be removed by gently scratching the fabric where the hole is. These extra fine pins are amazing and highly recommended!
  • Pressing: Use a warm, dry iron and press on the wrong side where possible. Always use a press cloth if pressing the right side of a garment as it’s better o be safe than sorry. Always test press on a fabric scrap before pressing your garment.
  • Taffeta does not ease well so choose a style of pattern that allows for this. Curves like princess seams might be an issue. You may consider reducing the ease in a sleeve cap if you’re having trouble setting in a sleeve.
  • Taffeta can crease easily which can be greatly reduced by underlining a garment with silk organza or net.
  • Interfacing: It’s best to use sew in interfacing with taffeta to offer more stability and because iron on interfacing require steam , which taffeta doesn’t like.

Taffest Skirt.jpg



Well I hope you taffeta sewists found that helpful! Are you planning on using taffeta on a project soon? Please let us know how you get on, if these tips helped you and do feel free to send us some photos of your creations! We always love to see them….



























































































































































































































and the best way to handle this luscious cloth.

A beginner’s guide to fabric basics

Firstly, let me just brush away the cobwebs that are all over this blog. It’s been a while folks! What can I say…. Moving house and relocating the business have been rather time consuming and sewing and blogging are always the first things to go by the wayside, you know how it is. I do however now have a lovely new marketing assistant (hello Harry!) so who knows, maybe there might be a bit more appearing around here before long. (I hope I don’t regret that last sentence)

In the past I’ve written quite a number of fabric guides  but none have really gone back to the very basics. For some of you this post will be teaching you to suck eggs, but for those less experienced I hope this is a useful resource to help you demystify some of the terminology and help you choose the right fabrics for your project.

Fabric Composition

Continue reading “A beginner’s guide to fabric basics”

We Are Relocating!

There’s never a dull moment over at Plush Towers. I write with big news – we’re on the move! Unfortunately the time in our Edenbridge warehouse has come to an end, we’ve looked for commercial premises within the vicinity and there is very little currently available, and what there is isn’t suitable or is twice the price we’re used to.  Continue reading “We Are Relocating!”

And The Winner Is….

Congrats to Susie Risley who has won the signed copy of Lynne Goldsworthy’s book “Quick & Easy Quilts“. We’ll get the book posted out to you Susie as soon as we have your address (check you email!)

For everyone else, don’t forget that Lynne’s book is available on Amazon, and is currently on the number one best seller in quilting list no less!


Thanks to everyone that entered, fingers crossed for the next one.

Win A Signed Copy Of “Quick and Easy Quilts” By Lynne Goldsworthy

Did you see? Did you see?! The lovely Lynne Goldsworthy from Lily’s Quilts has a new book out this week and we have a signed copy to give away for one lucky reader, whoop!



I love the idea behind this book, I mean who doesn’t want to whip up a quilt that’s quick and easy? If you’re not familiar with Lynne’s work, this is her second quilting book, her first book was the fantastic  500 Quilt Blocks: The Only Quilt Block Compendium You’ll Ever Need co- written with Kerry Green from Very Kerry Berry. As well as being a published author Lynne designs many of the free quilt patterns from Makower and also helps out Dashwood Studio with their quilting needs so really she’s a bit of a quilting rock star. Continue reading “Win A Signed Copy Of “Quick and Easy Quilts” By Lynne Goldsworthy”

A Quick Tip For Cutting Out Slippery Fabrics

Despairing this morning when I realised Little Plush had zero leggings that fitted properly (how do they grow sooo fast?!) I decided it would be quicker to sew some up than actually get to the shops. If you’ve not tried sewing leggings – don’t be scared – they are SO easy and are super quick to boot – win win. Continue reading “A Quick Tip For Cutting Out Slippery Fabrics”

Hot Water Bottle Cover Tutorial And Free Pattern

Make the winter’s night more cosy by learning to make this hot water bottle cover. Free tutorial and pattern.

Isn’t it typical that as soon as I get around to making a hot water bottle cover the weather warms up again! Well at least I’ll be prepared for the next cold snap. I fell in love with “Mori Girls” as soon as I saw it and knew I had to make something with it. I decided to team it up with some super huggable plush/  minky fabric (read here why we call it plush and not minky fabric)to make a gorgeously soft, tactile and luxurious cover to make the winter nights even more snuggly . What nicer way to warm up your feet and get those toes cosy on a cold winter’s night?

You could chose to make this in just plush, or just cotton, or mix and match however you fancy!

DSC_0622 Continue reading “Hot Water Bottle Cover Tutorial And Free Pattern”

Easter Bunny Garland Tutorial

I’ll ease back in gently to 2016 and kick off with a cute tutorial for Easter which was first published last year in Love Sewing magazine


Easter Bunny Garland Tutorial

This is a great a scrap-busting project which will add a touch of adorable to your Easter celebrations.

To make this cute Easter bunny garland you will need Continue reading “Easter Bunny Garland Tutorial”

Pssst! There’s 15% off Kona until Saturday!

Good morning lovelies. I thought I’d just quickly let you know that we have a whopping 15% off Kona cotton until this Saturday 15th August. Grab your Kona at only £6.80 whilst you can.

We’ve sold out of some colours already but do have another delivery arriving today or tomorrow so just get in touch if you can’t see the colour you’d like…

Happy Shopping!