How to Embroider on Tulle – Removable Tattoo’s!

February 12, 2017By Angela WolfEmbroidery, Tutorial 16 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Designing your own fabric with embroidery can be really fun and it’s easy to do! In celebration of National Embroidery Month, I thought I’d show you one of my favorite fabrics to embellish, tulle. Commonly used for wedding veils and table decorations, but what about embellishing garments such as sleeves for a jacket or dress. Tulle fabric is very fine and see-through, so when we add colorful embroidery and use the fabric for sleeves, the appearance is more of a tattoo or what I call a “removable tattoo!”


Machine used: THE Dream Machine® or THE Dream Machine® 2
Features: Moving, Resizing, and Recoloring Embroidery Designs
Techniques: Hooping Tulle, Embroidering on Tulle

Tulle embroidery supplies



Begin by hooping both the stabilizer and the fabric. With the stabilizer on the bottom and the tool fabric on the top, gently pull the tulle until it is snug so there are no wrinkles within the hoop area. Be very careful when you do this, as the tulle fabric is very fragile and can tear easily.
How to Embroider on Tulle

Choosing A Design

I’ve chosen one of the designs in THE Dream Machine®.
embroidering on tulle 13

The display screen will show me what the design looks like with the originally programmed colors, but it’s simple to change the colors around if you have something else in mind. embroidering on tulle

Changing the Colors

  • Set the design for embroidery by touching the set button as shown two photos above.
  • Touch the color in your list that you would like to change.

embroidering on tulle

  • The menu of color swatches will pop up. Touch a different color to select it.

embroidering on tulle

  • You will see the color change in your line up.

embroidering on tulle

The embroidery design on the screen will also reflect the new color you’ve chosen. Continue changing colors around until you have the perfect combo. What an easy way to see your design before you even start embroidering!

Resizing and Arranging the Design

I’m going to be embellishing the fabric for sleeves, so I want the designs to be as large as possible.
Resizing the design is as simple as clicking on:

  • EDIT
  • SIZE

embroidering on tulle 24
There are many options to shrink or expand the design. I’m going to choose the icon with four arrows pointing out, which will stretch my design, in equal proportions, to the largest size it can be.
Embroidering Tulle 25-26

Next, I’m going to duplicate my design and move the designs around. I am using the center of the hoop as a placement line for the center of the outside of the sleeve. With the touch screen feature, it is real easy to move and adjust the designs.
Embroidering on tulle 27embroidering on tulle 28

Experiment with the other edit features such as Mirror Image and Rotate.
Using Mirror Image is shown here.
embroidering on tulle 31-33

I’m using rayon and metallic thread for this design. Since this fabric is see-through, carefully choose the bobbin thread. With this design I could use a white or light grey thread for the entire design, or use the same color as the top thread. By using a coordinating color for the top thread in the bobbin thread, the design will look beautiful from the front and back side of the fabric. I wouldn’t advice using metallic thread in the bobbin; instead, choose a polyester, rayon, cotton, or silk thread that is a close color to the metallic.
(photo tulle 50 and 51)

When the design is finished embroidering, un-hoop the stabilizer and the fabric and carefully cut away the excess stabilizer.
embroidering tulle 57

Continue to re-hoop the fabric and add additional designs. When the fabric is finished, rinse away the mesh stabilizer.
embroidered tulle 79

You can see how the embroidery design pops out against the skin or against a contrasting color. A great way to embellish!
embroidered tulle 110
embroidered tulle 124
embroidered tulle 100Be sure to share photo’s of your own embroidered tulle items and tag us at @BrotherSews #StitchingSewcial and #AngelaWolfPatterns on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy Sewing!


  • Your tatoo’s look great on sheer fabric. Reading this caused me to forward this question to you. How would you embroider on sheet curtains: same color thread top and bobbin (If I were doing a multi-colored design)? What kind of stabilizer? How large of a hoop should be used? I would like to scatter flower designs on each curtain panel using one color (white on white). These are large panels, I believe, 96 inches. What kind of botanical embroidery designs?
    Your educated response and suggestions, please. Thank you so much.

    • Your idea sounds beautiful Jo!

      Indeed, there are so many different ways to embellish with embroidery! Here are a few thoughts you may want to consider:
      For sheers I like to use the same water-soluble stabilizer that Angela used since it will totally disappear after laundering. However, embroidering such a large area like your curtains may make it cumbersome to dissolve. As another option, you could consider making freestanding floral designs on netting, trimming the excess, and then attaching them by tacking them in place with hand or machine stitches, or even by using special permanent fabric glue. If you visit and search under lace you will find many suitable designs for this technique. At the very least, browsing the site will give you some ideas.

      If you decide you want to embroider directly on your curtains you may want to look for redwork style designs since these will be light and airy. I would use the basic method shown above for this, adding an additional layer of water-soluble on top so you have a sandwich of three layers. Yet another option would be to use one of the “magic” fabric stiffening sprays that stiffen fabric and then wash out.

      As far as hoop size goes, If I am embroidering directly on the fabric I try to stay small when working with sheers. Basically, this means you want to pick a hoop that is as close as possible to the actual design size. Having a lot of extra room around your design makes it more prone to puckering.

      Feel free to reach out again if you need more help and be sure to share your results with us!

    • Hi Jo,
      I like Joanne’s idea of creating lace and attaching to the curtains. Then the back will look as good as the front.
      When I embroidery sheer I would use the same bobbin color as the fabric, unless you want the back side to show the same, then you would match to the thread color.
      Hoop size – I would use as large as a hoop you have with the machine, simply to get things finished faster 🙂 But use the basting feature to go around the designs.
      Hope you share photos – would love to see these curtains

  • Personally, I’d be hesitant to put this much time/effort/materials into embroidery on tulle – due simply to it’s fragility….. BUT: I have been working on a similar thought using power mesh…. these instructions confirm my plans…. I also want to add some accent beading using tambour work…. now: where’s that eighth day of the week, the one with 25 hours in it??
    *sigh* #NeedMoreTime

  • love that, but you only have one sleeve ? I been buying sheer one color scarfs at the dollar store and embroidering them with doodle butterfly’s and other suitable designs. makes cute gifts.

  • How do you avoid stretching the delicate tulle in the frame? I embroidered by hand in a hoop, but when I take it out the tulle is puckered and stretched where the hoop was….

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