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How to add a Tulle Overlay to Just About ANY Dress!

Adding tulle to a dress can seem daunting but its actually super easy! Follow these steps and you’ll be adding tulle to all your dresses like a pro in no time!!!
 
First things first, pick your fabric and construct your pattern as normal but DO NOT attach the skirt to the bodice just yet. We need to get the tulle ready!!!
 
This method will work with any pattern as long as the bodice and skirt are 2 separate pieces.
I'm sewing up the Isla from Simple Life Patterns and my daughter chose Spiral Rainbow Tie dye top and our Happy Rainbow Tulle skirt! Can you tell she’s into rainbows?

SKIRT LINING: Use what ever the pattern calls for, if its knits, use knit if its woven use woven!
Print or solid? Doesn’t matter! I personally prefer solids because a. I just like the look and b. They’re cheaper!
 

Let's get down to business!
 
Step 1: Let's figure out how much tulle you need!
 
Measure the length of your pattern piece and add 1/4
Ex. My skirt length is 14” so my measurement is ->14"+ 1/4"= 14 1/4”
Now for the width…. I usually just do the width of tulle, mine is usually 60” if yours isn’t very wide I recommend adding 2 layers. So for this tutorial I'll be doing 2 layers but you can use 1!
 
Alrighty, let's get cutting!
So since I'm doing 2 layers, Im going to cut out four rectangles (two for the front and 2 for the back). If you’re doing 1 layer cut out two rectangles using the measurements you calculated in step 1.
 
EX. My rectangles are 14 1/4”X width of tulle
 
Cut off the selvages and mark the middle of each piece. While you’re at it you can go ahead and mark the middle if your skirt and bodice! (Very important for even gathers)
Step 2: Time to start sewing!
Lay all of your tulle pieces on top of each other and sew a seam on both short ends (If you’re using rainbow tulle like this and you’re doing 2 layers you are going to make sure you match up the colours)
Then turn it right side out, you should have a big circle of fabric! 1 layer will be 1 layer of tulle and 2 layers will be 2 layers of tulle.


Step 3: Ok time to gather!
Start by sewing 2 straight stitches along the edge of the fabric…KIDDING!
Head to your serger and adjust your settings to mimic mine! (needles, differential and stitch length all the way up and loopers set to 0)
Start with a super long ‘tail’ like 15” (this is going to leave us room when/if we need to loosen the gathers). Start sewing/gathering with 1/4 Seam allowance. It's going to pull your tulle in pretty fast so make sure you’re guiding it through at a good pace and not putting any resistance on the tulle this will cause uneven gathers. Once you get back to the start, you’re going to want to go as close as you can to the tail and create another long tail 15”or so. DO NOT let your knife cut the thread from the starting stitches OR go over your starting stitches with your needles. (SEE PHOTO) HANDLE YOUR GATHERS WITH CARE! They're very delicate!
***NOTE: Make sure you don’t cut off your middle markers during the gather process, we need those!
Step 4: Let get this dress Finished!
Attach the right side of the tulle and the right side of your bodice at the side and middle points, GENTLY move around the gathers so its the same width as your bodice. (Sorry, I forgot to grab a photo here but you can see how the gathers are the same size as my bodice). When you’re happy with how it looks tie your tails together to secure your gathers. 
Next add your skirt lining, right side against the wrong side of the tulle and clip the side and middle points. Then add a bunch more clips, then add more! Take it to your serger and lets get this skirt attached! Before you start sewing your skirt on, gently pull the tulle layer out 1/4” so when you sew the round you’re cutting off the gathering stitches. Sew the round and you’re done!!!