About a year and a half ago, I used my McCall’s fashion doll clothes pattern 4400 (shown above) to make the pretty purple seashell dress you see on my vintage 1977 Superstar Barbie below.
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?
You don’t have to hem tulle, but when you do, it can make the edge of the tulle stand out. That’s what I did with this New Year’s celebration skirt, which fits Lammily dolls:
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:
Here’s an example of a wedding dress, from McCall’s fashion doll clothes patterns 4400, which uses tulle for the wedding gown’s veil:
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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And don’t panic if it seems like too much to take on right now — sometimes our lives get really busy. I get that. But for any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to sign up any time soon. Just sign up when you’re ready.
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Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
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.
2 thoughts on “Ah, the power of tulle! #FunWithFabric #DollClothesPatterns”
Hi Chelly: I have been making dolls so Dr I was a little girl. I have taken a copy of a men’s jacket, pants and shirt. Then I made a pants, shirt, and pants pattern through a trial and error method. If I knew how I wou!d send pictures of my fashion dolls.
I actually have a gallery, here on ChellyWood.com, showing all the photos of my followers’ creations. Please send me photos! I love to see them!
Here’s a link to my “Share your creations” gallery, where you can learn how to send me your photos: https://chellywood.com/want-everyone-to-see-what-youve-made-send-a-pic-to-chelly/