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    You will need:
  • Heavy gauge wire
  • 1.5 yards of tulle or other “net” fabric
  • 4′ wooden dowel, approx 3/4 inch diameter
  • Twine – I used the hemp kind you get at a garden store
  • Packing tape
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • I am the very busy mom of two very young and spunky girls. So, my apologies for not publishing this before Halloween, but I’m lucky I got all my sewing done in time. This was the first year since having children that I attempted to make costumes for the whole family. My 4 year old chose butterflies. So she and I dressed as the afore-mentioned winged insect while my 1 year old went as a caterpillar, and my husband, naturally, was a butterfly catcher.
    I searched the interwebs for one of those fabulous huge nets, but the cheapest one I found was over $30. Not in the budget, I’m afraid. So, in my abundant spare time, I decided to make one. I had most of the supplies and tools I required, all I needed was a nice wooden dowel and some tulle.
    Off to the fabric and hardware stores I went, and $5 later, I was ready to begin. I bought 1.5 yards of tulle which gave me a roughly 54″ by 54″ square. I folded it in half, cut off one corner at a 45 degree angle and stitched it closed on the long side. I have a serger so I used that. A normal straight stitch would work fine too.
    I now had, essentially, a tulle bag. I folded the edge of the opening over about 1″ and stitched along it to create the pocket for the wire frame of the net. I had some heavy gauge wire leftover from a previous project and I used it to create the frame for the net. It’s important to take the time to get the exact shape you want at this stage because once you get the bag on, it’ll be nearly impossible to make substantive changes. Remember that our tulle bag has a circumference of approximately 54″ so you want to cut the wire with plenty to spare for the tang (ooh! S.A.T. word of the day! Is it still called the S.A.T.?) Once you’ve got the shape you want, before bending both ends of the wire to create the tang, thread the wire through the bag’s pocket. This way you can make sure the tulle fits the frame snugly. A pair of pliers is helpful in turning that right angle from the circle to the tang. I also found that putting another 90 degree bend in the wire at the bottom of the tang (perpendicular to the circle) helped keep the frame from twisting and becoming unstable (see photo on left). Once I got my net threaded and the wire bent to create the tang, it was time to attach it all to the dowel. I used a piece of packing tape to hold it all together and then wrapped hemp twine around it to make it secure and give it a more finished look. I started with a standard slip knot so that I could get it really tight and then, maintaining a very firm pressure, wrapped the twine around in a single, snug layer until I got to the end of the tang and then continued wrapping back up to the top. I used the tail from the slip knot to tie the end of my twine to. Trim the excess twine (but don’t get too close to the knot or it’ll come undone!) And, voila! We’re done! Time to go catch yourself some GIGANTIC butterflies!


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    If you haven’t checked out www.CorsetsandCrinolines.com, you should do so right away. They sell vintage and antique clothes. Their selection of mid-century underpinnings (garters, bras, hose, girdles, etc.) is divine. The only downside is that they are located in Great Britain. They do ship to the US but when you have to pay in pounds and add the cost of shipping, it becomes a little more than the average girl can cough up.

    On the plus side, they have a very nice timeline of fashion from the beginning of the Victorian Era through the end of the Edwardian, complete with photos of actual garments from their collection. This is a great costume history reference to keep in your back pocket.

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