Why tulle is not just tulle?

Looking around in different online shops and Facebook groups you may notice a quite universal use of the word “tulle” in “tulle dresses” or “tulle skirts” or “tulle veils”. As if they were all the same. But they are not!

After years of experience and experiments with different manufacturers we have come to a clear understanding of how many different tulles there actually are and which of them are good for what purpose and why. For example, we (usually) use a different kind of tulle for couture dresses, Froufrou skirts, Mi Butterfly skirts or wedding dresses. They are all different to touch, their patterns vary and most importantly – they behave differently. Before ordering or using any new tulle fabrics, we need to touch it and feel it with our hands because that is the only way to know what is right. 

The tulle of the Froufrou skirts must be soft and fall nicely without being too sticky. A stiff kind of tulle would create an unwanted Christmas tree effect. However, honeycomb-lycra, often used in figure skaters’ outfits and frilly skirts, is too heavy for a light, soft flow in such a long skirt.

This kind of tulle is also great for long, wavy skirts with a great flow but not much volume. It’s the perfect material for a wedding dress that moves and glides but doesn’t need much pouf. The same goes for our couture dresses. The best example here would be our airy Robinette dress that flutters when it’s twirling, but doesn’t have a ball gown silhouette. It is also perfect for layered gipsy-style skirts.

The tulle for our Mi Butterfly skirts and many wedding dresses is what we are most particular about. Having tried a number of different producers, we’ve been disappointed in many of them because they’re just not right. The classic naked tulle skirt (no other fabrics on top) has to have volume and needs to be able to keep structure for a nice A-line shape, yet it has to be soft enough to not look or feel like a poultry net. It has to move freely and not stick to the wearer or to itself. If it’s too soft, the skirt will fall out of shape and look like an old lamp shade. Again, the hand knows what is right!

Couture dresses need something in between – not exactly structured, but not too soft neither. The tulle has to be thin enough for us to crimp it up in unimaginable amounts to create the perfect ball gown shape even when we support it with crinoline. For example, to make this small  Katarina dress, 40 metres (!!!) of tulle has been used! And it’s a dress for a three-year old … ;)

This type of tulle has to be light, so it wouldn’t be too heavy to wear. The tulle we use in our couture gowns is not suitable for Froufrou or Mi Butterfly skirts :D

We avoid the poultry net style thick, heavy tulle like plague. It’s cheap and it is very easy to achieve volume with it, but it does not work well with other fabrics, it doesn’t move and it is scratchy and stiff to the skin. A bride whose underskirt was made of such tulle (because she didn’t know any better) told us that she didn’t even want to sit down in her wedding gown because it felt like sitting into a pile of needles We also avoid hoops, which is another easy, cheap way to create volume in a skirt. They are too stiff and too universal (if the hoop is too high, the trim of the dress will fall) and they only work when you’re standing still (alone). Dancing or standing next to someone (the groom, for example :D) who wants to get close to you is not possible! Unless you have unlimited resources available to create a super professional hoop skirt with joints and cover it with innumerable expensive fancy fabrics (as the dress of the last Cinderella movie ;), it’s not what you want. 

All this is only superficial knowledge. It all depends on the shape, structure and flow you want your dress or skirt to have. There is no universal underskirt, no universal tulle or one solution that fits all. It is essential we have very good communication with someone ordering a skirt or a dress  so we may feel their style and see what silhouette or shape fits their personality and wishes the best. 

Write to us with whatever tulle issues you might have at lizkizcouture@gmail.com :) We KNOW how to make your dreams come true ;)

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