Let me share with you my experience with making my own veil. Why did I bother? I didn't want to spend $100+ on a veil that looked so simple to make!
I initially wanted a mantilla veil but decided after reading general guidelines on how to pick veils that my dress was too busy (and lacking of lace) to go with a full mantilla. So I kinda did a mini mantilla. But these instructions would work for both versions.
- Sewing machine (optional but I highly suggest it)
- Thread that matches veil material
- Pattern paper/fabric (the fabric I found was for making quilts and had a light grid on it)
- Sheer material (use any kind you like, it should matchish your dress)
- Edging material (I used a thin lace, use whatever you'd like)
- Side hair comb (the one I used was 2 inches wide, you can use wider if you want a longer veil)
Put your dress on and have someone measure the distance from where you'd like the comb to where you'd like the veil to end on your dress. The general rule of thumb I read was that you wanted your veil to end where the detailing of your dress began. In my case, that's the bodice, so my veil was very short, about 18 inches.
Using the pattern fabric, cut out a mock up of your veil. For my veil, I ended up cutting out a rectangle with rounded sides. I used the length we measured from the proposed comb placement to the beginning of the back of my dress as the height of the veil and for the width, I used that measurement * about 2. So it ended up being about twice as wide as it was tall. This will let the veil fan open. This took me a couple mock ups to figure out. To make sure you have the right amount of fabric and shape for your veil, bunch/pleat the fabric at the top, where the comb will be, kinda like an accordion and use a big fat safety pin the hold it together.
Pin the cut out of pattern fabric to veil material and cut about 2 inches off the edge of the pattern fabric.
Then pin the lace/satin/ribbon/nothing on the other side of the sheer material (so there's no pattern fabric between lace and the sheer material.
The finished product will end up looking much like this…
Making the corner is the hardest part. You'll have the pleat the lace material.
Oh and don't forget to drink during the process. A good glass of wine makes the world go round…
Sew a test strip. Using a scrap piece of lace and sheer material and the sewing machine, sew the scraps together to make sure the sewing machine will work with the two fabrics and to determine the proper stitch setting.
Sew the real deal! Taking your time, sew the sheer material (with the pattern fabric still attached) and the lace together. The pattern fabric gives the sheer material some stability, so I left it in. It can be torn away after the stitching is done.
I sewed the lace to the sheer material in two rows. First on the inner edge of the lace as shown in the picture below and secondly on the outer edge of the lace. Because the sheer material is prone to fraying, this gives the veil a little more strength.
If you're a novice (I know I am), just remember to guide with both hands and take your time.
When you're done sewing the lace onto the sheer material, tear away the pattern fabric and trim the excess sheer material to meet the lace, being careful not to get too close to the outside edge stitching.
Using the back of the comb you bought, measure a rectangle out of some extra, sturdy, fabric. I used extra fabric left over from my dress alterations. So it not only matches the color of my dress, but it is made of a heavy satiny material. Remember to leave room for hemming.
Pleat your sheer fabric and attach it to the rectangular piece of fabric. To do this, lay the veil (yep, lets call it a veil at this point) down flat. Locate the center of the top part of the veil, where it will be attached to the comb, this should have been left void of lace/satin/edging. Sew a single stitch from the center of the rectangular piece to the center of the top of the veil.
Once the center is secure, pleat the fabric (kinda like an accordion) on top of itself, on either side of the center, until you've scrunched up all the material at the top of the veil.
I ended with one section of lace attaching to the rectangular piece of fabric mainly for strength but also, this way the lace material will start from behind the comb, so there won't be any section of lace-less edging showing. Attach pins so that your pleating doesn't fall apart. Sew the pleating to the rectangular piece of fabric. And make sure this is good and secure.
Attach your veil to your comb! I used thread, but you can also use a hot glue gun or whatever suits your fancy, just make sure it's secure.
Ta-da! Finished product!
Need some inspiration for your DIY mantilla veil?
…or maybe you just decided it's too much of a pain in the ass? Here are a few of our favorite mantilla veils from the artisans at Etsy: