Q: I have quite a bit (2.5 yards or so) of this stretchy dotted white net/mesh fabric (similar to this one [right], but more meshy and tinier dots). I love this fabric, but I can't figure out what to do with it! Everything I've looked at online seems to suggest bridal (either as a veil, or underlined with white to make a dress), but there must be something I can make that's more everyday-wearable! Do you (or your readers) have any suggestions?A: Very fun! Never fear, there’s a LOT you could do with that net and no need for it to look bridal. My main suggestion is to use it as a very pretty sheer overlayer on basically ANY dress out there that you want to make. It’s sheer, obvs, so it’ll just be the trim/decoration on the other fabric that you use. The easiest way to do this is by treating the sheer net as the outer fabric and then using a substantial lining fabric in a color you like.
Here are some examples of this technique from my archives:
- Lace over strong weight cotton twill, no separate lining (bound at neck and sleeve edges)
- Stretch net over a heavy stretch fabric, no lining. I added trim at the neckline to cover the seam allowance where I sewed the net and inner fabric together. NOTE that I put the darts in AFTER sewing net and fabric; they are concealed on the outside, but do show on the inside because there’s no separate lining.
- My friend made these lace and net overlay dresses, with all of her darts showing through the lace and net on these dresses. Look at the black/tan one in particular. You could easily do something like this, but I'd suggest using stronger lining and cutting very carefully. And I recommend putting your darts in last, so they don’t show; if you want the triangles they give when they show, then put them in the dress fabric normally but put them on the “wrong” side of the lining, so they also face onto your body rather than out toward the sheer layer. Then the lining darts won’t show through, at least.
- Hard to tell, but I did the same thing here on this princess-seamed dress, so no darts to worry about, just the seam allowances—but they don’t really show. In this case, with this style of dress, I made the outer net/sequin part and made the lining separately, same as you would do with ANY fully lined dress. Then put them together and it was fine! I used a basic woven cotton lining.
Of course, with most techniques your seam allowances will show through the lace, like on the side seams and at the neck edge, so if that bugs you, then treat the lace as an extra layer (like how you put a blanket on top of the top sheet and then tuck them both in together at the foot of the bed), and put it on top of whatever color you want that is also a fashion fabric layer—and line it with anything.
Here’s an example of this technique from my blog:
- Lace over a fashion fabric layer, lined with a third layer (the white bodice is crocheted lace)
You can use generally either of these techniques with virtually ANY pattern that you like, like I said! Seriously! Here's some ModCloth inspiration: net or simple lace overlays on super basic dress styles:
Of course, you can also use a pattern that’s made for a sheer layer, like one of these, and get a little fancier/show off the net:
But, I think if you want to look less bridal, you may want to stick with any ol' pattern, not one that's meant for a sheer or lace treatment. Just add a net or lace layer, in one of the methods I mentioned!
Okay, readers, what do you think?? What would you make with a bunch of white dotted net, that wouldn't look bridal?