Do you see that cloudy white stuff at the bottom of her skirt? That’s called tulle. In Idaho, where I live, we say the word “tulle” the same way we say “tool” (as in, a hammer, a saw, and other tools).
It’s a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-sew material that offers the impression of lace without the detailed tatting-look that lace usually has associated with it (although it should be noted that modern lace isn’t usually tatted by hand, like it was in the old days; rather, a machine usually makes lace fabrics and trims these days).
I’ve used tulle for lots of different projects on ChellyWood.com over the years. It can be used as a petticoat layer under a skirt, to add fullness to the skirt’s fabric, for one thing. That’s what I did with this wedding dress project:
But it’s especially useful when you are making a ballerina tutu or an ice skater’s leotard, like you see here:
Just wrap it around a hair elastic (a rubber band), tie the tulle in a knot, and voila! You have a tutu:
Little girls love it on the outside of a dress, though, like you see in this bridesmaid’s dress:
See how it makes the outside of a dress look sort of filmy?
That skirt’s tulle is also glittery, which makes it even more festive, and children love doll clothes with a little sparkle!
I bought that red tulle with the sparkles already embedded in it; that’s not something I added myself.
But with the dress you see below, I gathered the tulle and added my own beads to create an unusual texture and lift to the skirt:
So as you can see, tulle has many uses in the world of doll clothing. It’s not just for tutus.
I’ve even used it in hat making:
Truthfully, you could use the tulle for the sleeves as well, but Barbie’s hands are made of hard plastic, which can rip the tulle at the sleeves if young children are dressing a doll. So keep that in mind.
But from that same McCall’s 4400 pattern, I was inspired to make this dress:
And although it looks as if they used lace for the ruffle at the bottom on the pattern’s cover art, I really like how mine turned out with the white tulle beneath the pretty purple seashell fabric:
Which brings me back to the beginning… Tulle is just fun to sew with!
I actually made a tutorial all about tulle, but that was quite a long time ago. Sorry it doesn’t have voiceover, but back in those days, I didn’t have video editing software…
Anyway, here’s that, if you’d like to learn more about tulle:
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Chelly Wood and the ChellyWood.com website are not affiliated with the pattern company or companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly finds inspiration in the doll clothes designed by these pattern companies. To purchase patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, or other pattern companies shown and discussed in this blog post, please click on the links provided here. These links below the “Disclaimer” section do not help raise money for this free pattern website; they are only offered to give credit to the company that made these patterns.