Sheer Guide: Bra Tulle, Sheer Cup Lining & 15 Denier

Jan 15, 2017 | Tutorials | 5 comments

Hi All!

My post this Sunday is all about the sheer things, which are some of my favourite things! And I know that if you haven’t worked with these fabrics very much, then it can be a little confusing what they are and how you use them, so I made this comprehensive guide to knowing all of the sheer lovelies!

The three fabrics that I’m going to be covering in this guide are my favs: Bra Tulle, Sheer Cup Lining, and 15 Denier. They are all made differently, with different properties and different recommended uses, so I’ll be going over them each in detail!

Here we go!

Of course I’m going to start with my absolute fav first- Bra Tulle! This is what I’ve used for so many of my favourite bras like the Black Beauty, Snow White, Parisian and many more. There are so many great things about this fabric for bra making!  What I love most about it is that it’s deceptively easy to sew, and it almost feels like you’re being supported by a completely weightless fabric, because it’s so light and airy!



Here is what it looks like, so you can identify it in the wild:

Above is a single layer of tulle on it’s own, and you can see that it’s not like a regular craft tulle (which would be really itchy anyways!), it has a more rounded honeycomb shape rather than the diamond shaped holes in craft tulle- and then when you double-up on the layers – like in the photo below) it makes this amazing pattern that’s super pretty, stronger and still very sheer.

And now we have the stretch test- which for the tulle, I wanted to show the two directions of stretch, because there is a low/no stretch direction, and a slight stretch direction- and by stretch I mean mechanical give- non of these fabrics have any spandex.

Above is the low/no stretch direction- and I should say- I’m really giving a strong tug on all of these (you can probably tell by my nail beds and how they’re white from the strain). The tulle is only giving a really slight bit, and the holes are not getting any bigger, they’re more just flattening out.

Then in the other direction, you can see that there is more give, and the holes are growing bigger- so basically it’s all about the shape of the holes in the tulle, and in one direction they stretch open more and give more ease to the fabric.

As I mentioned before, if you’re looking for a super low-stretch and supportive bra cup, using a double layer with opposing direction of grain (which you will see in many high-end RTW bras) is really perfect 🙂



Next up we have Sheer Cup Lining! 

This is something that is new to my shop (YAY!) and that I’ve been using in my last few bras.

As you can see, this definitely has a different structure, it’s more like a grid- and this stuff is tough! It’s fantastic to use for the frame/cradle/bridge of a bra- and especially if you are making a low-cut partial band bra, where everything hinges on that tiny little bridge between the cups!

As you can see in the stretch test below- there is no budge in this fabric! And it has much less drape than bra tulle.



And last but not least we have 15 Denier!

Which I love for extra softness and comfort

15 Denier is similar to the fabric that stockings used to be made from (before we had the super stretchy stuff that we have now!). It’s a knit fabric, and it has so much flexibility and ease, which makes it super soft and relaxed with lots of drape.

And you can see in the stretch test below how it really relaxes under stretch and curls at the edge, just like you would expect from a knit. But it isn’t a rebounding stretch like a spandex stretch, it’s more of a mechanical give and ease.

I wouldn’t recommend this if you are a larger cup size, and wanting some serious support, but it is nice and gentle for a comfy bra!


So at this point I hope you’re feeling a bit more confident in your knowledge of all things sheer and gorgeous in bra making!

And of course I’m going to add a cheeky little plug to my Etsy Shop, where I just put up my listings for the new arrival of my gorgeous Sheer Cup Lining!! YAY, I’m so happy with this new fabric, and I’ve been testing it in some of my recent bra makes 🙂


Which of these fabrics are you favourite? Do you use them the same way that I do?


Are there any other fabrics & findings that you find a bit confusing and you’d like me to make a guide for?


Hope you’re having an amazing Sunday!






  1. Agnes

    Hi Erin!
    I’m writing from France.
    I’ve been reading your above post, and I have a question about it :
    I’ve got some beautiful stretch lace that I plan to use for making a bra. I must line it, because it is too stretchy for bra cups.
    Which of those sheer fabrics do you advice me to use?
    Tanks for your answer,

    • Emerald Erin

      Hi Agnes!

      I would say bra tulle if you want more support, or 15 denier if you want a more relaxed support. Thanks!

  2. Julia Power

    Thanks so much for this post! I am planning on purchasing some Sheer Bra Lining in New York City and was wondering is that’s what it is called in the stores. I’m planning on going to Spandex World, Spandex House, Mood Fabrics and others. Does it go by any other names? What about 15 Denier and Bra Tulle. Do I ask for these by their names as well?

    • Emerald Erin

      Hi Julia, I do know that Sheer Cup Lining can also be referred to as Marquisette, and that bra tulle is simply a very sturdy and soft variety of tulle. But what I’ve found is that all fabrics can be very different depending on the manufacturer and the contents, going by the name can be a little tricky anyways so it’s best to really feel your fabrics, and test them out a bit. Have fun in New York!!

  3. Nina Paul

    Thanks for sharing this. It is of great help.


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