How To Hem a Dress with Tulle or Netting

Several of you have been wondering how to hem tulle.

This post will explain how to hem either a dress or skirt made of tulle.

Usually, I will get a dress from a customer that has the tulle only on the bottom of the dress.

This time, I received an entire dress of tulle!

Haley Henckel's tulle dress hanging by the front door

It might seem very intimidating to hem a dress made of this material, but it’s actually quite easy!

First, I pinned up the lining of the dress:

Dress Lining Pinned Up

In order to pin the lining, I had her stand on my coffee table!

Then, I pinned up the excess fabric so that the lining was one inch off of the ground (or coffee table, in this case…which represented the ground).

The dress itself was 6″ too long.

The bride informed me that she wanted the hem of the dress to be 5″ longer than the ground!

I had never had a request like that before! I have seen dresses like that, but I’d never been asked to do it myself.

But here’s the thing, no matter how long the dress needs to be, just pin it up to that point using a seam gauge.

tulle pinned up to desired height

Once you have the length where the bride wants it, measure the distance from the waist line seam to the bottom edge of the dress and record that measurement. (If you don’t have a waist line seam going horizontally, tie a string around the bride’s waist and make sure it is horizontal to the floor. Then, use the string as your seam line and measure down from there.)

Measure at several points including the center front, center back, and both side seams and record those measurements.

You may also want to record the measurements in a few more places if the skirt is full, that way you’ve got more points around the hemline and that will help you be more accurate with the final hem.

You are now ready to do the alteration.

First, I make a rolled hem on the lining fabric. I like to get the lining done first.

And then I put the tulle skirt on the ironing board.

I feed the skirt so only the one layer is on the ironing board at a time. (I am using a dark skirt at this point because the tulle was too difficult to see against the ironing board and wall. Just follow the instructions here for your tulle dress.)

Dress on ironing board

I pull it on so that the lining is out of the way and just the skirt remains.

Next. I measure from the waist line seam…

Measuring the dress from the waistline seam

to the bottom edge, at the center front…

Measuring the black dress for the hem on the ironing board

Let’s say the hem edge measures 35″.

At the 35″ point, I will start cutting toward the left side seam, in this case.

Before you start cutting, you might want to put a pin at the measurement at the center front, side seams, and center back as well as any other measurements you took.

You Do NOT want to take an average of all the measurements and go with that. That will mean that the dress is too long in some areas and too short in others. If all the points measure the same length, then do go ahead and put a pin at the same measurement all the way around the dress.

You want to be sure to pull the skirt taut (but not too tight) before you measure.

Once you have pins at each point, you can start cutting.

Tulle is very easy to cut, just make sure you go slowly and keep the dress pulled as you cut around the skirt.

And that’s all there is to it! There is no sewing involved!!! Isn’t that GREAT?!!!

As I mentioned before, this bride wanted her hem longer than the floor.

I think the extra length gives a soft, feminine feel that matches the look of the dress.

Haley Henckel's Finished tulle dress - front
Finished dress - back

It’s just what she wanted!!!

Update: If your dress or skirt has more than one layer of tulle, there are a few things to consider. If the circumference of the layers are equal, then you can cut them as one layer. If the circumference of each layer is different, I would cut them one at a time. You can cut 2 or 3 layers at the same time, but I wouldn’t cut more than that. If you have 6 layers, like one of the readers says below in the comments, I would put 2 or 3 layers together and cut those and then repeat until the entire skirt or dress is done. If one layer is narrower than the next, and you cut them together, they won’t hang correctly.

I also have a post entitled How To Alter a Dress with Tulle or Netting that I think you’ll find also very helpful.

Check it out!

I hope these posts give you more confidence to tackle a dress or skirt made from tulle!

To leave a comment on this post, or ask a question, please scroll to the bottom of the page and leave it in the reply box. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.