If you’ve worked with tulle before, you may be aware of the fact that this delicate, synthetic fabric cannot go in the dryer or be ironed because heat will cause it to melt. What you might be wondering is just how safe this fabric is when it comes into contact with flame. While you naturally do not want to try this out since your tulle will almost certainly melt, you probably want to know how flammable this fabric is before you use it to create a tutu or wrap a glass candle holder. For the sake of safety, it’s important to understand whether tulle is flame retardant or not.
In truth, it depends entirely on the type of tulle you use and where you purchase it. For example, it is common amongst manufacturers overseas to use chemicals on fabric that are not permitted in the United States, and these may certainly be flammable. But textiles manufactured domestically must meet certain standards, especially where flammability is concerned. And tulle is no exception. If you purchase 100% nylon, which has undergone extensive testing by the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission, you can feel secure knowing that anything you make is going to be flame retardant (although not necessarily heat resistant, so make sure you use it accordingly). It has been approved for use in clothing, costumes, and so on because it has already met acceptable standards.
Polyester tulle, which is more often used for decorative purposes rather than for clothing, is a different story. It may or may not be flame retardant. If you are concerned, you should ask your retailer. In many cases, polyester tulle is treated with chemical products to ensure that it is flame retardant. But depending on what you plan to use it for, this might not be particularly important to you. If it is, look for 100% nylon tulle, which is guaranteed to be flame retardant.
The main thing to remember when purchasing tulle products is that you cannot necessarily trust those that are manufactured and sold outside of North America. The standards for production (and advertising, for that matter) in other countries are very different from the federally mandated quality requirements in the United States, so if you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re getting exactly what is advertised, it’s best to buy from domestic manufacturers and retailers that are bound by U.S. laws.