Tulle is a lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, usually with a hexagon-shaped mesh effect. End-uses include dance costumes and veils. It is most commonly used for veils, gowns (particularly wedding gowns), and ballet tutus. It comes in a wide array of colors and it is readily available. It can be dyed at home if it is made from nylon, rayon, or silk but not if it’s made from polyester.
The name comes from Tulle, a city in the southern central region of France. The city was well known as a center of lace and silk production in the 18th century, and early tulle netting probably originated in this French city. Tulle netting certainly appeared earlier in Parisian ballet costume than in most other nations, suggesting that it may have been more readily available there than elsewhere.
Modern-day tulle (also known as bobbinet) was first produced after a complex weaving machine that could efficiently produce the fabric was patented in 1809. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it gained in popularity.