How to Gather Tulle

Written by andrea hamilton
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How to Gather Tulle
Gathered tulle provides a graceful, whimsical flair. (Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Whether you are creating your own wedding veil or a sumptuous ballerina skirt, gathering tulle is a useful skill to learn. Doing so can be accomplished in two ways, depending on whether your garment requires some stretch in order to fit. Multipurpose thread provides an ideal base for creating stiff gatherings, though the addition of an elastic cord helps add shape and custom fitting for everyday garments. Both methods require the use of a sewing machine.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tulle yardage
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Elastic cord

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    Rigid Gathering

  1. 1

    Place your tulle's edge under the presser foot of your sewing machine and sew a basting stitch across the top. Do not knot the edges of the seam before you sew. This process will create some gathering on its own, particularly if you are sewing a single layer of tulle.

  2. 2

    Pull the tulle from the sewing machine and cut it free, leaving long threads attached to the material. Hold both pairs of thread in your hands and pull them taut. Gently push the tulle along the seam to even out the gathering of material.

  3. 3

    Sew another seam across the top of the former basting stitches in order to lock the gathers in place. Ensure that you knot both the beginning and ending stitches this time. Cut the tulle free from the sewing machine.

    Gathering With Stretch

  1. 1

    Pin your length of elastic cord to the edge of the tulle you wish to gather.

  2. 2

    Sew a wide zigzag stitch over the top of the elastic cord, ensuring that the stitches stay clear of the cord itself. This will leave the elastic cord free to move back and forth in your garment for the time being.

  3. 3

    Pull the elastic taut and push the edges of the tulle toward the middle. When the gathered tulle reaches the measurement you desire, release the strain on the elastic cord while holding the gathers in place with your free hand. Pin the elastic cord in place at the edges of the tulle and stitch the cord at those points. Trim away the excess elastic.

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