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!
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:
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.
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.)
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…
to the bottom edge, at the center front…
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.
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.
If there are multiple layers of tulle do you cut them individually or all at the same time? I’m going to be getting some tulle bridesmaids skirts to hem next week. I think there are 6 layers of tulle per skirt!
That’s a great question! If the layers are all the same circumference at the bottom, I cut them together (except in your case, I would cut only three layers together. Six layers might shift too easily. If they are all various circumferences, I would cut them separately.) Hope that helps!
I’ll let you know how it goes!
When doing a hem on tulle, I used the rotary cutter. Works terrific
Yes, I can see that would work well. You must not mind moving and adjusting the cutting mat. 🙂
I’m tackling a wedding dress with a train for the first time. It’s a very special one for my daughter-in-law to be and I found your beautiful site very informative and a big help. Thank you!!
Thank you so much for leaving this comment. I’m so glad it is helpful to you. I popped over to your website and it is just beautiful! You are a very gifted lady!!
Thank you Linda for your lovely comment! You’ve put a big smile on my face 😄 Today is horse hair braid day – first time for everything!
I use my serger without thread to cut my edges even after measuring up to the appropriate length plus 1/2″. So if it needs to be 4″ shorter, I cut the raw length at 3.5″ and use .5″ seam allowance on the serger. Makes perfect edges quickly.
Great idea! One more tip on this idea….make sure your serger blades are sharp!
I was needing this for my prom dress Thankyou
Thank you so much for letting me know. Have a great time at prom!!!
I’m hemming a prom dress with a tulle underskirt as well as a lining. Do I cut the tulle underskirt and lining a few inches shorter than the outside layer and if so how much shorter?
Great question! I usually like to make each layer a little shorter, the closer you get to the body. This is especially important if the tulle is really full and heavily gathered. Use your judgement, but if the outer fabric is not see through, you can make the tulle layer and the lining one inch shorter than the outer layer. If it is see through, I don’t make it quite as short. Also, if the bride is concerned about tripping on any of the layers. I cut shorter than one inch so that she’s comfortable. Peace of mind is priceless. Hope that helps!
Thanks for this post. I have been asked to hem my granddaughter’s prom dress — four layers or tulle (maybe two layers and then two layers of “net” on the inside gathered for some width), and then two layers of satin — both on the inside.
My thoughts were since this was a pre-purchased dress, once I measure how much it needed to come up, I could just measure that same length from layer to layer….but I’m still a bit uneasy as it wasn’t a cheap dress. Wish me luck!!
You’ll do just great! At least it’s for prom and not a wedding! It’s good practice and I have full faith in you and your abilities!!
Ha!! True, but it still cost me $250 for this silly dress and I don’t want her to end up with a crooked hem or one that’s not where it’s supposed to be!! I really appreciated your info here; it did help me feel like I was moving along the right “lines”!
Oh wow, yes, they can be really expensive! So glad this post helped. Send me a photo of her in it by email when you’re finished. I’d love to see it. It sounds beautiful!
My daughter wants a front leg slit put in her dress. It’s got a satin underskirt with tulle attached at the bottom. Would I cut the underskirt and tulle a little more than the slit to keep it from showing and then do a top stitch slit? Will it be hard to do this without the underskirt showing when she walks? Also, prom is in two weeks…
That is a great question! Usually, I love to have a photo of the dress, but I think your explanation was really good and I think I totally understand what you are saying. (But, if you want to email me a photo, that would be even better. To answer your question, yes, I would cut the underskirt and tulle a little higher than the slit, but you make a good point. I don’t know how all that is going to perform once you do that and the underskirt and tulle seams might show when she walks. I would try doing just that and then if it shows, fold back even more of the underskirt and tulle to the left and right of the slit. In other words, maybe turn under two extra inches to the right and two extra inches to the left of the slit. You might need to slip some extra fabric at the top of the slit area to make this happen. Don’t cut off any excess fabric to the right or left until you see if you like how it hangs. This folding back may cause the underskirt to look lumpy underneath. or it might look just great. But, I think it’s worth a try if your daughter agrees once you give her the options and the possible outcomes. Let me know if you have any questions on what I wrote. If you do go ahead, I’d love to see a photo of it! Thanks!
I have a tulle dress, but I cut it too short and you can see my ankles! What can I do now? I need at least an extra inch or two at the bottom.
Hi. I am sorry this happened. I can think of two options. You can add an additional layer of tulle from the waist area that is longer. With this method, you would have two layers of tulle. The second idea is to take out the layer you have and add a different skirt of tulle, IF that is possible. I haven’t seen your dress, so I’m not sure if that would work. If you’d like to send me a picture of your dress, then I can give you a better idea of what to do.
Thank you so much for this excellent post. It’s so helpful! I’m about to hem a prom dress with layers of tulle on top and this will be so useful.
You’re welcome, Joanna! Thanks for posting a comment. You are getting that prom dress done early…good for you!!