Monday, March 12, 2012

Couture techniques & a mystery netting

I am having very very busy days on all fronts, but today there is something I had to share with you! Look at this:

I was looking for this fabric  for months, on eBay, on Etsy, in online stores, in the Garment District. In vain. But last week I passed by one of my favorite stores and asked them if they had Swiss Illusion. - They had no idea what I was talking about. - Netting in flesh color, maybe? - They discussed it and said that they had an unidentified bolt in their storage, which may be what I was looking for.

Ten minutes later.... Yay! That was it, can you imagine! They said they had no idea what it was - a close-out piece that was bought along with bolts of other fabric. Well, I packed my three-yards of this this weightless treasure and hurried home.

So, what is it? I saw it for the first time in a beautiful vintage garment, and then, again, in Baltimore - Susan Khalje brought a small piece of it to demonstrate how she works with Chantilly or Alençon lace. She calls it Swiss Illusion -  a sheer but strong netting used as a lace underlay in mostly close-fitting styles.

Some of you may have used organza to underlay fragile lace, so you may ask what is the difference. Well, the main difference is that organza is a woven, and Swiss illusion is a knit. So, organza would give a stronger structure, while Swiss Illusion will remain some flexibility. Also, in my opinion, organza is more opaque than Swiss Illusion, so if you want to achieve that nude effect - use it.

This fabric is relatively expensive at $30 a yard, so, if you find it, use it sparingly. But for details, such as lace yoke, or sleeves - you won't need much, and a yard will take you a long way.

What about your readers, how, or do you underlay expensive lace. Share your thoughts!


  1. what a score!  Good for you!!

  2. Thanks for these tips...not that I would know where to find this fabric! I look forward to seeing what you make with it. 

  3. Marina, you're a genius! I'm in the planning stages for a fabulous 50's style dress with a lace overlay on a close fitting bodice and have spent all day trying to find out what fabric I should use to support the lace. I think you've found it! Can you confirm what it's made of please? I'm based in the UK and have found a supplier of illusion who supply it for those very fancy latin dance  costumes. Would this be the one?

  4. Hi, again, a quick update on my search for a uK supplier. I've found a company specialising in swiss tulle, which I assume is the same thing. It's also known as bobbinet tulle, details of which are on Which reminds me, didn't Gertie blog about that fabric a while back? Hope I'm on the right track.



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