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How to embroider tulle

Updated April 17, 2017

Though lightweight and delicate, tulle netting can be embroidered without damaging the fabric. Whether using a pattern that reflects the rich detailing of old world wedding veils or creating a simple design for chair back and tabletop decorations, embroidery can add dimension, colour and intricate detail to any shade of tulle.

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  1. Paint the entire fabric using acrylic paint the same colour as the tulle. Protect your hands with gloves and slowly wave a blow dryer above the fabric to help it dry.

  2. Draw or trace your design on the fabric using a gel pen. If the tulle is black, use a pen that is a lighter colour so you will be able to clearly see the pattern lines.

  3. Begin to embroider the tulle using a hoop with a free-motion embroidery machine. Though any type of thread is workable, choose a needle that is made for elastic fabrics or metallic threads. Use only water when washing this fabric because soap will lift the paint off.

  4. Cut a water-soluble stabiliser into small pieces using a ratio of two to one. For example, if you are embroidering a wedding veil that is one yard in length, cut two yards of the stabiliser.

  5. Dissolve the small pieces of stabiliser in a glass baking dish that contains water. If the stabiliser appears resistant, warm it in the oven at 121 degrees Celsius or less or on the hob at a low temperature. When the stabiliser turns to liquid, set it aside to cool.

  6. Place the tulle piece on a clean table and slowly pour the liquid over it, making sure to cover all of the fabric.The liquid should remain clear on the fabric; if it begins to look white, spread the liquid more evenly.

  7. Dry the fabric with a blow dryer, but do not hold heat on it for long periods of time. Work in short intervals instead. Wait one hour while the tulle develops into a clear plastic-like fabric, then carefully peel it away from the table. It is now ready to use.

  8. Sketch your design onto the fabric using water-soluble gel pens or washable markers and begin to embroider. Afterward, trim away any excess solution and hand wash the piece. Use an iron on low heat to press the item, working from the backside of your design.

  9. Tip

    Tulle is frequently used to make wedding veils, ballet skirts and decorations used to drape or cover items. While embroidered patterns and designs can certainly enhance this fabric, the project does requires patience, often taking anywhere from several hours to several days to embroider one yard of tulle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Machine Embroidery:
  • Acrylic paint
  • Gel pens
  • Gloves
  • Blow dryer
  • Hoop
  • Free-motion embroidery machine
  • Thread
  • Needle suitable for elastic fabric or metallic thread
  • Hand Embroidery:
  • Water-soluble stabiliser
  • Scissors
  • Baking dish
  • Blow dryer
  • Gel pens or washable markers
  • Iron

About the Author

Donna G. Morton

Donna G. Morton lives in Atlanta and has been writing for more than 27 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from East Tennessee State University and spent 15 years in radio and corporate advertising, winning 10 Excellence in Advertising Awards for creative writing.

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