Tulle makes beautiful tutus, petticoats and even formal wear; however, it can be challenging to sew. If you have a serger, it can make sewing tulle easier than you might expect and allow you to create professionally finished garments and home decorating projects. Sergers can be used to gather tulle, seam tulle and create neat rolled hem finishes quickly and easily.
Set your serger to a three or four thread overlock stitch. Choose a soft, slightly bulky serger thread for the loopers to create a softer seam for garments and effectively enclose the rough edges of the tulle. Use your regular presser foot to sew tulle with a serger. Take advantage of the cutting blade on your serger to create a neat and even edge when you sew tulle, particularly since this fabric can be difficult to cut straight.
Gather tulle for tutus, petticoats, garlands, skirts and other projects on the serger. Set the differential feed on your serger to the highest number available and do the same with the stitch length. Keep your upper and lower looper tension normal, but increase your thread tension to the highest setting on your serger to gather tulle. If you have a gathering foot for your serger, take advantage of this, but it is not essential. Feed the tulle through the serger, working gently to allow it to gather snugly. Seams may be sewn before or after the tulle is gathered, depending upon the garment.
One of the most useful serger tricks for sewing tulle is the rolled hem. Hemming tulle on a standard sewing machine is challenging; however, a rolled hem on the serger is easy. Disengage the cutting blade and stitch finger. Remove the second needle from the serger and set the serger for a rolled hem setting (typically R on both the stitch length and width). Serge tulle, creating a neat rolled hem, by passing the tulle through the serger. If desired, add fishing line along with the tulle to create a hem that stands out on its own.
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.