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Tulle netting is type of mesh textile made from silk, rayon, nylon or sometimes cotton. It is often starched so that it will be stiff. There are many uses for tulle, with most well-known being veils, tutus and wedding gowns. Tulle comes in a wide array of colors, and it can be easily dyed to change its color. It is readily available from most fabric stores.
The name of this textile comes from Tulle, a city in the southern central region of France. Tulle was well known as a center of lace and silk production in the 18th century, and early tulle netting is believed to have in this French city. This type of netting is known to have appeared earlier in ballet costumes in Paris than in most other nations, suggesting that this product might have been more readily available in France than elsewhere.
The majority of tulle is actually bobbinet, a specific type of tulle netting that was invented in Britain in the early 1800s. Bobbinet is made by wrapping the weft thread around the warp thread, creating a strong hexagonal design that tends not to twist or fall out of shape, because the wrapped threads maintain a state of tension. The result is netting that is lightweight and is surprisingly strong and durable for its weight.
One of the most common uses for tulle netting is in clothing and accessories. Tulle is often used as an accent to create a lacy, floating look. It also might be used in underskirts or petticoats to create a stiff bell shape. Gowns are often puffed out with the use of several layers of stiff tulle. Tulle also is used to make veils, because it obscures the features of the face while allowing the wearer to see through it.
There are other applications for tulle netting. Finely woven tulle is excellent for insect control, for example. The netting can be stretched over potentially vulnerable plants to keep out insects, and it can be used to create an insect tent over a bed to protect a person while he or she is sleeping. The starch keeps the netting from collapsing, and the holes allow air to freely circulate through the material.
Decorative ornaments also can be made from tulle netting. Another use is as a wrap for party favors and gifts, especially those for weddings or baby showers. Scraps of tulle are sometimes used in quilting and crafts to add texture to a project. Multicolored tulle netting is often used by crafters to create tulle flowers and other ornamental accents.