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.

Thread

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.

Markings

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.

Closures

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…

Decorativepillows.jpg

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.

purple-taffeta-fabric_1
Shiny!

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”

A Guide To Fleece Fabrics

10599260_955647557783781_4582888173154279906_nI wrote this article a few months ago and was originally published in the November issue of Sewing World Magazine but I’m sharing it here for those that missed the publication at the time. This was the second in a series of four fabric guides I wrote for the magazine, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A big thank you to Emma at Mummy & Millie’s Boutique for helping me out with the fleecey makes! Continue reading “A Guide To Fleece Fabrics”

What Is Cotton Drill? A Fabric Guide

I love cotton drill. It’s very versatile and is a great utility fabric that we stock in some very vibrant colours and best of all it’s really great value too.

Drill has a twill weave which makes it a very strong, dense medium to heavy weight fabric. It’s a really popular choice for uniforms and work clothes but the vibrant colours lends itself to all sorts of other exciting garments including both tailored and casual designs, as well as children’s wear and home furnishings. It’s even used to line shoes! Continue reading “What Is Cotton Drill? A Fabric Guide”

A Guide To Plush (A Guide To Minky Fabric)

I wrote this article a few months ago and was originally published in the September issue of Sewing World Magazine but I’m sharing it here for those that missed the publication at the time (did you know that Sewing World Magazine have been around for over 20 years? Impressive!) Super proud that this was the first in a series of fabric guides I wrote for them, which I thoroughly enjoyed (#ExcitedMuch). I hope you find it helpful and feel free to ask any questions, I’ll surely do my best to answer them. Continue reading “A Guide To Plush (A Guide To Minky Fabric)”