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cutting tulle

sunnycenter | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hi all,
I have this huge bolt of tulle. It must be 100 inches or so wide and I have to make outdoor bug net panels for someone with it. He wants the entire width X 8 feet tall plus another 1/2 width sewn on. The sewing seems easy. I’ve run some tests and they came out fine with a 1.5 stitch length, but cutting and squaring this stuff has been a test of nerves. I just want them to be accurate and the stuff is so wispy and billowy it makes me want to scream. I’ve made it through cutting two pieces off the bolt but it took me 1 and 1/2 hours for the first one and 1 hour for the second. I’d love to get through this job faster. Any tips on how to efficiently and accurately get it cut and squared?

Replies

  1. rekha | | #1

    For me your question has come at the right time.

    I got some net material to make curtains for the kitchen. I thought I had measured out 1.1m but now putting it together for stitching there is a variation of at least 10cm. This was the end of the roll so I cannot buy any more!

  2. Meg | | #2

    Could you take your fabric to a quilt shop and ask them to help you cut it during a slow business period of time? You might need to bring your own rotary cutter, but it seems as though a rotary blade and ruler would help you get a straight cut.

  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    Netting is tricky to cut exactly in long lengths off of a bolt. It does take a bit of time, but pinning is the key.
    As you unroll it, even up the edges and smooth out the ripples, pinning down the loose edges and the center. Be careful not to pull on it or put it under stress, just give yourself lots of length to work with, but not too much.
    It is probably already folded either in half or in quarters. Keep folding the length in half until it is in eighths, moving the pins as you go. You will only need to pin it every 6 inches or so to keep it from shifting.
    This will keep it together to work on in such long lengths, and make it an easy short cut to make.
    This is how we did it in the bridal dept of the store I worked in.
    May I also suggest a narrow zigzag rather than a straight stitch. It will catch more of the net and is a more flexible stitch that will hold better.



    Edited 5/30/2008 8:27 am ET by ThreadKoe

    1. sewchris703 | | #4

      Laying out and pinning the tulle to the carpet works well also.  Just be carefull that you don't cut the carpet.  We cut long veils and tulle skirts at the shop after hours so we can use the showroom floor as our cutting table.  Also cut longer lengths than you need.  Tulle has a tendency to "shrink up" after it's been cut.

      Chris

    2. rekha | | #5

      Netting is tricky to cut exactly in long lengths

      I had been doing just that but the outcome is that you just can't true the fabric; selvedges are way out. What I have had to do is to pin what is going to be the top and then laid fabric and cut the excess -  terrible waste of fabric!!

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #6

        Unfortunatly tulle isn't square to start with, but Because there is no grain and a lot of stretch to it, it is a fairly forgiving fabric. I'm not sure, but how precise does this project have to be? Are you going to bind the edges or are you sewing them like a curtain with a fold down header? Perhaps a bit of unevenness will not be too critical. I know you want it to look perfect and professional. Depending on the fullness or how it is draped when it is up could make a difference on how much play you have. With much length and width it is going to stretch a bit under its own weight. Let me know how it goes.Edited 5/30/2008 11:58 am ET by ThreadKoe

        Edited 5/30/2008 12:00 pm ET by ThreadKoe

        1. rekha | | #7

          Perhaps a bit of unevenness will not be too critical

          That is so but I tend to work with each project also as a learning experience so it can be incorporated in any future projects.

          I am making a curtain for the kitchen window, hung by a spring wire because the lintel isn't strong.

          Nothing fancy like an header. Its function is purely ornamental which I shall achieve by gathering each vertical half and holding it on the side with a panel (with buttonholes) to keep it in place.

          1. sunnycenter | | #8

            Thank you everyone. It actually sounds like my instincts are homing in on this stuff right. For instance, I've noticed it is best to cut off a larger "rough" piece from the bolt first, then true that up as best I can. I have been marking along the selvages every couple of feet with yarn then folding it then marking along the fold and folding again and then cutting with the rotary cutter. It's still not perfect... but probably the best I can do without winding up pulling my hair out.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #9

            That sounds really pretty. Tulle isn't the easiest to work with, but it sure is worth the effort. Please let me know how it goes as I'm really intrigued.

          3. rekha | | #11

            It was a hard day's work to achieve very little but it is finally finished.

            For anyone working on a similar project forget about truing with selvedges.

             Pick the most important side of the material, in my case the top of the curtain, and pin the whole edge.

            Hold this edge up and lay the fabric on the table. Doesn't matter at the moment if it is hanging  down the table.

            Pin the side edges one at a time.

            I bought the end of the bolt as I wrote before so I had a generous helping of 4metres, else I wouldn't have been able to construct the curtains

          4. sewchris703 | | #12

            They turned out fantastic.  And I really like it that you didn't clean off your window sill.  It looks just like mine.   I think that I watch way too much HGTV.

            CHris

          5. rekha | | #13

            I am glad you do too. I am not house proud.

            Natural dirt never killed anyone. If that was the case there'd be no people in the poor and developing countries.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            Had to laugh at at your answer to housecleaning rekha. I also am Housework Impaired. Just too many other things calling out for my attention...knitting...sewing...garden...friends......tee hee Cathy

          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #14

            The curtains look smashing.  They really look pretty.    You did a terrific job.  Like the kitchen sink adornments too!  Like my place, clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be lived in! tee hee.  Cathy

          8. rekha | | #15

            Well said about cleaning a functional living area

             

          9. Teaf5 | | #17

            What lovely fabric--it'll make all the work seem worthwhile every time you do the dishes!  Thanks for the tips on how you dealt with the slippery stuff.

          10. rekha | | #18

            What lovely fabric

            Quite so and it was dirt cheap - £1.6/m ($3.50).

            The fabric had defects in some edges so I was given 3m more than I required. 

            If anyone is interested I will send the remnants but you pay the shipping costs 

          11. Betakin | | #19

            Your curtains are lovely. I just wanted to pass on a quick way that I cut my large pieces of fabrics. My hands have some problems so I use my serger and just hold the fabric to guide it and the serger overcasts the seam at the same time in either a narrow hem or wide, rolled or just overedge. It is very quick and the serger cuts a straight line better than I. I know this is not something that is recommended in sewing 101 but it works. I have even cut plastic coated canvas this way for some out door furniture for my daughters pool area. 

          12. sewelegant | | #20

            I enjoyed the peek into your kitchen.  The curtains are lovely and I'd enjoy a cup of tea from one of your taupe colored mugs!

          13. rekha | | #21

            Hee, hee!! Indeed

  4. Teaf5 | | #10

    Some great ideas so far! 

    Here are some various techniques I've used:  1) cutting it while it's still on a bolt (or by rolling it onto another bolt) with a razor knife, 2) unrolling it and folding it very, very tightly into ten-inch or so folds, using safety pins to hold it together and then cutting it 3) marking the cutting line with a permanent marker while it's still on the bolt, 4) laying it out, using really cheap, thin masking tape to mark lines and tape it to the floor or carpet, and 5) winging it until the whole thing is finished, then hang it or tape it to a wall and trim the bottom.

    Why so many techniques?  Each time I have to deal with netting or tulle, I'm hoping I'll find a better way.  Please let us know what works best for you!

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