How to Add Tulle to a Dress

    by Louise Harding

    About the Author

    Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.


    You don’t have to break the bank to dress your little one -- or yourself -- in tulle. Adding tulle to a dress or skirt is a sewing project that you can complete in an afternoon, with plenty of time to get ready for an evening's dressy event. To get a fluffy thickness, increase the layers of tulle. Three layers of tulle is a nice fluffiness if you’re adding to an existing dress. No matter how many layers you choose, your tulle addition is sure to be a hit.

    Things You'll Need

    • Dress with a full skirt
    • Tape measure
    • Scissors
    • Straight pins
    • Sewing machine
    • Thread
    • Elastic
    • Needle

    show more

    Place the dress flat on a table with the front facing up. Measure the widest part of the skirt, usually the hem. Measure the dress straight across and then double the measurement to get the diameter of the skirt. Double this measurement for the width of the tulle needed for one layer.

    Measure the dress from the waist to the hem. Add 5 inches to this measurement, which allows 2 inches for the elastic casing at the waist and 3 inches to protrude from the dress hem. Triple this length measurement. You will be folding the tulle over three times to achieve a full skirt.

    Cut a piece of tulle the width measurement from Step 1 by the length measurement from Step 2. Fold the tulle over three times, each fold measuring the length of the skirt from waist to hem plus five inches. Fold the tulle in half vertically. Pin the open length side for a side seam.

    Sew a straight seam, using a 1-inch seam allowance, along the pinned edge, forming a loop. The top is the edge with the most folds. Pin along the top. Use the scissors to cut the bottom edge so there are no folds. Slide the scissors into the fold and cut along the crease.

    Fold the top edge over 2 inches and pin. This will be the casing, or tunnel, through which the elastic will be fed. Sew the folded edge using a 1-inch seam allowance and a straight stitch along the top, leaving a 1-inch casing for the elastic. Leave a 3-inch gap between the sewing starting and stopping points. This will be the opening for the elastic in the casing. Remove pins.

    Measure the waist of the flat dress, double the measurement, and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement. Thread the elastic through the 3-inch gap in the casing until it emerges from the other side of the opening. Sew both ends of elastic together and sew closed the 3-inch gap.

    Turn the dress inside out. Slip the tulle skirt over the dress and align the waists of the dress and tulle skirt. You can opt to leave the tulle as a removable skirt if you desire at this point or proceed. Stitch, with the needle and thread, the tulle waist to the waist of the dress. Turn the dress right side out.


    • Couture Sewing Techniques; Claire B. Shaeffer
    • Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls; Jennifer Paganelli