Tips for sewing with tulle

We all know that sewing with fine, slippery fabrics can be a nightmare! First of all, cutting accurately without it slipping around everywhere is tricky, as is copying all pattern markings. Then you get to the actual sewing part and that can be a minefield as well!


As I am a sucker for punishment, I’m currently working on my #sewfrosting dress which is Simplicity 8545. I am making a slip dress from black crepe and then view E in a black, embroidered tulle. In my head it’s going to be fabulous! In reality, it has the potential to be a disaster!

simplicity 8545

If this dress turns out as great as I’m hoping, then it will be my works Christmas party dress. With that in mind, I want it to be as perfect as possible! I’ve done a fair bit of research on sewing with tulle and other slippery fabrics and these have helped to make the process of making this dress far more enjoyable. Here are my top tips!

  1. Cut the fabric out in a single layer – this does make the cutting out process longer but it is totally worth it as it stops the fabric from slipping and sliding everywhere. I’ve also read that using newspaper or tissue paper can help stabilise it, although I didn’t do this. Don’t forget to turn your pattern piece over when cutting on a single layer so you have a left and a right piece. If you have a piece that should be cut on a fold, cut around the edges (except the foldline) then flip the pattern piece over (keeping the foldline in place) and continue cutting. The pattern piece should be upside down.
  2. Use a rotary cutter and LOTS of pattern weights – you cannot use too many weights to secure the fabric. Using a rotary cutter will stop the fabric from getting distorted by adding pins (similar to jersey) and minimise any movement that can be caused by scissors.
  3. Use a lot of paper – using a layer of magazine paper or tissue paper when sewing stops the fabric from puckering and keeps the tension perfect. Place the paper under the fabric and sew your seam as normal, then carefully tear the paper from the finished seam. It also stops the fabric getting chewed by the machine. Possibly the best tip I discovered!
  4. French seam your seams – as with all fine fabrics, French seams are a necessity. Tulle can fray easily so this will protect the raw edges of your seams and this also makes your garment sturdier as you are in effect sewing the seam twice! French seams are also neater which is important in a sheer fabric! The insides of your garment will be on show and a French seam is neat and narrow.
  5. Use a fine needle  – I used a brand new size 60 needle which was the finest needle I had. Fine needles will minimise any damage whilst sewing as the hole they need to create is smaller. Also, using a brand new needle will help as it will be sharper.
  6. Use a pressing cloth – tulle can melt easily under a hot iron so a pressing cloth is needed for pressing seams. As seams are visible in sheer fabrics, pressing is more essential than usual! I just used a large fabric scrap I had left over from another project when pressing the seams. I recommend that you test using an iron on a scrap piece of tulle first before pressing the real thing so you know how much heat it can stand.
  7. Have patience – sewing with tulle or any fine fabric can be a slow process and not a fabric to take short cuts with. If you find yourself getting tired or frustrated, walk away! Your patience will pay off in the long run.


These tips have so far made my life easier and prevented me from making mistakes. I’m really enjoying making this dress and cannot wait to share the finished item soon!

If you have any further tips that I’ve yet to discover, please comment below! I’d love any more advice! Also, please share your makes for #sewfrosting. I’ve seen so many amazing items!

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