A handmade veil adds such a special touch to momentous occasions such weddings and first communions. In addition to creating a special memento of the day, making a veil can also be much more cost-effective while allowing the lucky lady to have exactly what she envisioned.
For this project, I created a wrist length veil for a petite bride who wanted to wear it more towards the back of her head, as opposed to on top. We started with a 29″ length of tulle to achieve the right length for her hairstyle and stature. Before actually making the real veil, I made up a quick veil, minus the comb, with a very visible rolled hem edge so she could see the exact cut of the tulle, for her to try on and play around with. When working with brides, especially from a distance, this added step can be well worth it. Tulle is relatively cheap so it is easy to play around with, but making the actual veil is a bit more time consuming. Keep in mind that a bulky wedding up-do can make a veil appear a lot shorter.
Since this is a tutorial for a simple, single-layer veil, it would work quite well for a First Communion veil as well. Often First Communion veils are a bit less full and shorter than this style of veil, but the measurements are easy to adjust as you cut.
basic sewing supplies – needle, thread, scissors, etc.
bridal illusion or a similar tulle in the desired shade
comb (I found some curved plastic ones with satin already sewn around the top at Joann Fabrics)
supplies for edging of choice – This tutorial features lightweight pre-strung plastic pearls, but you could use narrow satin ribbon and glue, or serger for a rolled hem. Just read the directions all the way through before starting, because you’ll want to change the order of the steps slightly and add the ribbon or rolled hem before you gather and sew.
STEP ONE: CUT
To get started, I folded my tulle in half lengthwise. Tulle can be difficult to cut because it slides around and is difficult to see. I put mine on a cutting mat on a dark table and used tuna cans as weights to keep the tulle in place. The edges nearest me weren’t perfectly even, but that part doesn’t matter as much because that is where I was going to be trimming it off. The fold of the tulle is on the left in this picture.
With the edges of the tulle lined up, I cut a 29″ long section of tulle to use for my veil. The width is approximately 50″ and the tulle is still folded in half at this point. In the picture below, the fold is on the lower side.
The next step, is to cut a curved edge on one of the corners opposite the fold. The more curve that there is in that corner, the more flowy the veil will be. To get a uniform curve between my practice veil and actual veil, I used the curve on this hula hoop as a template and lined it up with the raw edges opposite the fold and the raw edges at the bottom. The hula hoop here measures 30″ across. In preparation for the next step, I put paper under the tulle to protect the cutting mat.
I then used a fine tip sharpie to trace a curved line around the outside edge of the hula hoop as a cutting guide and ended up with this. As you can see, the marker slipped several times due to the texture of the tulle, but all of that will be cut off anyway.
Now that the line was in place, I was ready to cut carefully just inside the black line. You need to be careful to get all of the line cut off – you don’t want any black edges on your veil! After the veil is cut out, construction can begin.
STEP TWO: GATHER
Next, I used my sewing machine to sew a row of stitches and then gathered up the tulle to the exact length of the 4″ comb. I hand-tied the threads at both ends so that the gathering stitches would stay in place.
STEP THREE: SEW
Next, the veil needs to be attached to the comb. For this particular design, I did not want the raw edge showing while the veil was being worn. I carefully pinned the veil to the ribbon covering the comb so that the raw edges were along the outside of the curve of the comb and the gathering stitches were lined up along the top of the comb.
Next, the veil needed to be carefully stitched by hand to the ribbon along the top of the comb. There are lots of tiny stitches holding the gathers of the veil in place.
STEP FOUR: TRIM
When making a veil with a rolled hem, the edges of the tulle need to be finished BEFORE gathering and sewing the veil to the comb. The same is true for ribbon edgings. In fact, if you are doing a ribbon edging, it is easier to cut the the veil with an extra 1/2 inch all around so that you can glue the ribbon down a bit away from the edge and then you can just trim off the extra tulle close to the ribbon after the glue has dried. Gluing the ribbon a 1/2 inch away from the edge is much easier than trying to get it perfectly lined up right at the edge of the veil. (Thanks for the tip, Alisha!)
However, for this beaded edge, I wanted to add it during the last step – carefully hand-stitching it in place so it would lay just right. I started at the edge near the comb and secured the first bead out of sight. The lightweight strung pearls that I used we attached to the string, so I didn’t need to worry about bead spacing because they don’t slide around. Make sure your strand of pearls is longer than you think you need – you don’t want to run out! I stitched the beads to the edge of the veil by hand using tiny stitches. Under every bead is a short running stitch, and between every single bead is a small, straight overcast stitch. Using this method of attaching the beads, there was no puckering or pulling and the veil ended up perfectly symmetrical. When the strand of pearls was sewn around the entire edge of the veil, then it was just a simple matter of securing the last bead and hiding it out of sight on the comb.
The final result was a gorgeous and lovingly handmade veil that matched the bride’s dress beautifully. The perfect gift for a lovely bride and a wonderful keepsake!
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