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  • Embroidering on tulle netting

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    Original text by: Marina Belova 

    Judging by the craze on the web, everyone suddenly wants to embroider on tulle netting (of the starch kind). At a certain point in the past, long ago, I, too, made a couple of shots at it, but did not succeed and ditched the whole thing. But the fact the etched in my memory was that this netting is very fragile and breaks very easily. 

    Today I laid my hands on this material at last. I have 2 kinds of tulle netting with different mesh size: bigger and smaller. I don't like this material by touch, it reminds me of plastic and doesn't stretch much. Seeing it, I can hardly imagine where it can possibly be used. But if there are so many varieties on the market, there are people who want to buy. And the fact that people keep trying to find a way of embroidering on it means that tulle netting is indeed used. 

    Of course, the first thing I did, was to check if my tulle was fragile. It turned out that it tears effortlessly. And it is not important, whether the mesh size is big or not: 



    And because it tears easily, one should hoop this material with extreme care — tighten the screw just a bit too much, and the mesh will split up. Nobody wants that, for sure. 

    Remembering my own experience of embroidery on the ordinary netting, I decided to spare myself a headache and hoop the tulle together with a water soluble film. Because my experiment then showed that it would be right. I took a thin film, despite the relatively big mesh size. 


    What I didn't like in hooping was that the tulle turned out to be very slippery: it kept being loose and escaped out of a tightly screwed hoop. I created a simple low density embroidery design and reduced the density of satin columns by 20%, so as not to pull the fragile mesh. I used 2 edge runs for underlay to all stitches, just to maintain the outline. Ordinary rayon threads were used, and the result was the following: 


    It turned out that the main mistakes you can make while creating a design on tulle as well as on an ordinary netting are: 

    • Thin outline that may reveal the understitching. 
    • Small elements (the size of a mesh cell) — they don't have enough support. Unless you embroider on the most dense water soluble film possible. 
    • Small distances between the objects (less than the size of a mesh cell) — the stitches hit the mesh cell from different sides, stretch it and this results in a hole. 

    A simple design hardly pulls the tulle at all, the mesh is not damaged by a needle, despite the fact that I use a standard one (SES), which is not suitable for the embroidery on tulle netting. The resulting embroidery is soft and does not resemble a bullet-proof vest. All I have left is to make corrections. 

    In the course of altering the design according to the rules listed above, I decided to add density to the fills, because it seemed not enough, and increase pull compensation up to 0.5-0.6 mm. My second attempt resulted in this: 


    I increased the density so that the fills looked less transparent, but not so dark as satin columns. I wanted to play with light and shadows, but did not quite succeed: 


    Summary: It is quite possible to embroider on tulle netting, but you should choose simple low density designs, without small and thin elements (less that 2 mm thick). I would recommend a dense water soluble film as a stabilizer or a cutaway stabilizer in order not go get rugged edges like I did (see the photo above). You should hoop the tulle netting together with the stabilizer. The hoop should be wrapped (read about it here). You should choose a thin #70 needle, with a light ball point

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