I didn’t think I wanted a veil. But shortly after I found my dress, my mother decided to experiment with making me a simple and unadorned one.
She purchased a wide (about 108″) width of soft tulle (from our favorite cheapy fabric store) to practice, along with some clear plastic combs from Michaels. She cut a straight edge across the bottom (rather than rounded–it’s easier and was my preference) by folding the fabric lengthwise twice, then cutting it.
Then she attached the tulle to the comb by first gently gathering the fabric on one of the long ends, and then stitching it to the comb with some clear thread.
She brought the stitches through the veil, around the ‘spine’ of the comb, and between the teeth. [The red thread in the image shows you approximately how to place the stitches–you, of course, will use a white, ivory, or clear thread!] She kept the gathered veil on ‘top’ of the comb to prevent the comb from showing when it is slid into the hair. (So as you fold the comb under the veil to put it on, you do not see any stitching or edges.)
I was very satisfied with the outcome of the plain, cathedral-length veil, but was a little iffy about the straightness of the cut edge at the bottom. So I found some vintage Chantilly lace border online to cover it up and add a little ‘something’ to it. But I was a big dummy. Because I didn’t measure the width of the veil correctly, so the lace was about six inches too short. Plus, it was too white for the ivory tulle.
So, armed with exact measurements, I set out to find more lace for the bottom border. It was very difficult to find the right length and width. I needed at least 108″ across and preferred to have something at least 7″ high. The fabric shops were a bit pricey, so I felt lucky when I found this lace for about half the price of retail on eBay. It was the right amount (plus some).
Though not Chantilly, the Alencon (also known as re-embroidered) lace was just as nice, though a bit heavier. But once again, it wasn’t the right color (the “diamond white” was too white–I don’t know what I was thinking).
Frustrated, I forgot about it for a while. In the meantime, I saw a veil that I fell in love with. It was a beautiful modified mantilla—that is, it had lace all around the edges of the veil. But in this version, instead of the laying flat on top of the head, the veil has gathers at the crown. I’ve also seen another version where there is no lace at the gathering, but it starts about six inches down from the comb.
So I found some more lace to go along the sides of the veil. This time it was the right color, and also the delicate Chantilly I wanted.
I decided I wanted to mix the two (Chantilly along the sides and the Alencon for the bottom border). First, because there wasn’t enough Chantilly to go along the bottom border, and second, I wanted a large, wide border at the bottom to anchor the veil. I didn’t mind that they were two different types of laces, but the colors were very different.
You might not be able to tell from this image, but the piece at the top (the Alencon) is lighter than the one at the bottom (the Chantilly).
So I decided to tea dye the Alencon. I boiled about five tea bags (just plain Lipton black tea) and tested the color with small pieces of the lace. I adjusted the darkness by diluting the “dye” with water until I got the right shade.
After finding the right proportions, I dunked the whole nine feet of lace into the pot of tea.
I hung it to dry overnight then brought it to my mother to stitch onto the plain veil.
Here is a sneak peek at the finished product (please ignore my creepy 3/4 face staring at you)! Again, notice that the lace starts below the gathering at the comb—so there is no lace at the top. We found that the lace sat weird when sewn into the gathers, so this was an easy and cleaner solution.
The image at the very top shows the mix of the two laces. They blend rather nicely (thanks, mom!) and I’m really, really happy with how well the colors of the different laces match!
Are you making your own veil? Share your DIY tips with the hive!