Queen Victoria revolutionized wedding attire in 1840 by wearing an accented white gown and a veil of silk tulle. Prior to this, wedding costumes followed the fashion of the day and were typically gray or lavender. Tulle became, and remained, closely associated with wedding attire, but its weight, strength and variety of colors make it a suitable fabric for other garments, costumes (especially ballet tutus), home decor, crafts and even as insect netting.
Around 1700, French manufacturers began knitting a lightweight netting in the city of Tulle, then known for its lace and silk production. Modern tulle, known as "bobbinet," was developed in the United Kingdom during the early 19th century. Encyclo Online Encyclopedia notes that many of today's bobbinet machines are based on the original 1806 design.
Although tulle's hexagonal design is strong, snags can happen. Using a sharp, slim needle when mending tulle will help make the straightest stitches. Schmetz, a German needle manufacturer, recommends using a Microtex needle for tulle, as it was "developed for the modern micro-fibers and polyesters." Other brands, including Singer, Klasse and Dritz, also sell sharp, thin needles. As a general rule, however, thin needles are fragile and wear quickly, making it a good idea to buy more than one at a time.
You can mend a rip in plain view with a whipstitch, or oversew, technique and a light monofilament or polyester thread. This stitch joins two fabric edges together by inserting the needle up through one side and looping over to the other side in a repetitive, circular motion. The stitch is almost invisible when done from the wrong side of the fabric, close to the tear's edge and kept loose to prevent the fabric from gathering.
If time allows, dabbing a touch of clear nail polish over the tear before sewing will create a more seamless mend. With layered tulle, you can easily disguise tears with clever overlapping of the material or a few light stitches to rejoin the edges.
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