In most cases, bride veils are easy to make...even for those with minimal sewing skills. I'm going to cover the veil-making techniques and ideas first. Let's start with tips.
Veil Making Tips
There are veil-making kits sold at craft stores, and while these will save you less money than making it from scratch, it is still a savings over buying a veil in a bridal shop.
1. Don't use hot glue guns, especially if you will be having a summer wedding. The glue used in them doesn't mix well with the hot summer sun, and you may end up with a mess of melted glue. Instead, you can use fabric glue. This has some drawbacks a well, and in most cases, causes a stiffer edge. Sewing (by hand or machine) the veil is the best option especially if you will be adding a trim. While lace is easier to work with, be careful of snags and holes with tulle/netting and lace.
2. If you are a novice sewer, you can still make your own brides veil. There are veil-making kits sold at craft stores, and while these will save you less money than making it from scratch, it is still a savings over buying a veil in a bridal shop. There are also patterns available which will show you how much fabric you need, how to cut the fabric as well as how to make the style you want. These are great if you know how to work with a pattern. Making a veil without the aid of patterns or kits is quite easy as well. Buy twice the supplies needed and make a practice veil. You'll probably find that the first is quite adequate for your purposes, but will have the extra supplies handy in case it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to.
3. You can buy a veil used or at a thrift shop to figure out construction. If you like part of the veil, but not all of it you can use parts from the veil you've bought and replace those parts you don't like. My own veil was found at a thrift shop for $5 so you may get lucky and find one that you love at a price you love as well.
4. When ironing tulle/netting make sure that you iron on the lowest possible setting (and this applies to some laces as well). Lace and tulle/netting can melt when using too high a setting. You can also end up with a huge hole, so be sure to be careful. Another option is to steam the fabric. You can do this with a steamer or you can place the veil in a large plastic bag (dry cleaning or trash bags work) and place it in the bathroom with a hot shower running.
5. Be careful when washing tulle/netting (and some laces) especially if they are older. I suggest cutting a very small piece and testing first whether or not it will hold up. Both lace and tulle/netting can disintegrate in water (and detergent/bleach) especially if they are older. If you fear that this might be a problem, you can try to have it dry-cleaned (more expensive) to remove yellowing from age and to straighten wrinkles.
6. When cutting tulle/netting or lace, I prefer to use a rotary cutter. The fabric is sheer and the rotary cutter will allow you a straighter edge. This is an especially helpful tip if you own a cutting mat as well.
The above are some things to consider when you decide to make a veil or to use an older one for parts. Veils come in many different styles and lengths. How much fabric you buy will be dependant upon both the style and length of veil you are trying to make. Below you'll find a few ideas on making veils without the aid of patterns or kits.
General Veil-Making Ideas
1. The first time I made a veil, I did it the easy way. I bought two yards of tulle/netting in a 45" width. I folded it in half, and then sewed with a gathering stitch (over, under, over, under, etc.) about 4" from the fold. This was then gathered (the string was pulled) and tied off. This gave me the basic veil without much work. You can then add a hair comb, headband, hat, tiara or whatever else will form your headpiece. You can attach by sewing it on or by using fabric glue. Then you decorate with our choice of notions. In this case, I used a hair comb and decorated with white appliqués and white silk roses. The fabric can be cut (before sewing the gathering stitch) to the length you need, and you can purchase four yards if you'd like a longer veil. You can also round the corners before sewing. This makes a fluffy veil, so you may need to cut the width if you prefer a less "full" effect.
2. Trimming is optional, though some brides prefer it. Trim is such things as a satin ribbon edging the tulle/netting/lace or seed pearls on the material itself. If you'd like to add trims to the material, do so before you gather the material and sew it. If adding seed pearls, I suggest using glue instead of sewing them on unless you are a good sewer. Since lace/tulle/netting snags and tears easily, you should only attempt to sew them on if you can be careful with the fabric. It also takes more time and patience if you choose to sew them on. Gluing them on does have a drawback though; you are more likely to lose some of the pearls, because they aren't attached as well. A small tip for gluing them is to dip straight pin or toothpick into the glue rather than the pearl. This will allow you more control over how much glue is used, and the results will be more professional. Fabric glue works, but super glue works better (to allow a stronger hold). If you choose to use super glue though, you can't attach the pearls while working at a table or on the floor unless you devise a system for holding the fabric off the table. You don't want the glue to attach to the table/floor as well as the fabric! Adding a ribbon edge should be done before the veil is gathered as well.
If you are a novice sewer, then this will be the most difficult aspect of veil-making. Carefully pin the ribbon onto the edges of the veil, making sure that the placement is straight. Also make sure that half of the ribbon is on the back and half on the front. Then carefully iron the ribbon edges (with pins still in place) so that you have a sharp edge. You can either stitch this on (recommended) or can glue the edges down. If you decide to glue it on I suggest that you place a stitch every so often to insure that the ribbon won't come of while wearing it. Once again, use the straight pin/toothpick trick in order to have complete control over the placement of the glue. You don't want a bumpy appearance and need to apply the glue thinly.
If you are stitching the ribbon on by machine, you'll have to be careful that the needle doesn't catch the material. You may be lucky if it catches once or twice, but this too can cause snags and tears. If sewing by hand, don't gather the material too much with the needle. If the needle gets "stuck" in a spot or two, you may have runs or snags of either the tulle/material or of the ribbon you are using. You also need to be aware that adding a ribbon edge by hand is very time consuming. After you've finished adding the ribbon, remove the pins (unless you did it while sewing). You then need to iron the edge again on a low setting. This will take out any bumps caused by the needles. If you have glued the ribbon on, make sure that the fabric glue has been given time to completely dry or else you may have glue seeping out from the ribbon, because of the heat of the iron.
3. There are a multitude of choices to consider when choosing your headpiece. Hats come in a wide variety of styles and are a good choice if you are looking for the easiest method. There are straw hats, baseball caps and pillbox style hats. Any of these would work as a headpiece. Another advantage of using hats is that you can change the style of veil by the placement of your material. See the picture to find out how a veil looks when fabric is placed over a straw hat. By using a few stitches to attach the netting to the hat, you'll have a blusher, which can be thrown back into a double-tiered veil. You can also place the material under a hat. You can also place the material so that it will cover the sides and back or can even use a regular veil style in the back of a hat. Another option is using a headband. Headbands are very versatile as well. You can wear one as you would normally, and stitch the veil to the back of the headband, following the curve. Along the same vein, you can stitch it underneath the headband to give a totally different look. You can convert the headband to a wreath style (best with thin headbands), stitch the veil onto the ends of the headband and place on your head to wear. Or you can use a wreath in the same way; the only difference is that you stitch/glue across the entire back of the wreath. A hair comb can be used and can be hidden under hair by placing under a bun/curls, etc. You simply sew the veil to the comb.
Tiaras are a popular choice and add height. The simplest way to use a tiara is to attach the veil near the bottom or top row of the tiara. You can also use a hair barrette. Pick up a hair barrette for long hair (they are much longer and hair more space on the inside of the barrette) and attach the tulle/netting with glue (super glue works well for the metal parts). You'll need a larger barrette or else you won't have room to attach it to your hair when finished. You can also remove the metal curved "cushion" in order to have more room. This is a good option unless you would like a very full and fluffy veil. Depending on the length of the barrette, these can be placed near the top of your head or at the nape of your neck. Finally, wire (check with your local craft shop to find out which will be best for your purposes) can be used to make your headpiece. Wire is used in most commercial headpieces and is harder to use than the other options, it's not difficult though. Shape the wire into the design you prefer (one example is a v-shaped headband), cover with white florists tape (then material...silk or satin if you like) and add the tulle/netting/lace. Wire can also be used to make your own tiara. Just add beads (faux pearls) to each section.
4. Once you have decided on the headpiece style, it's time to decorate. You can use everything from bridal appliqués, fabrics (such as damask or silk/satin) to cover, silk flowers, pearl sprays, beads (mine has bugle beads on it), lace or even more tulle/netting. This part is simpler than it appears to be. Take your veil and place (with a straight pin if possible) the notions on the headpiece. Once you are satisfied with the design, simply sew or glue them on.
Adding Height To a Veil
There are a lot of different ways in which you can add height to a veil, especially if you are using a plain piece of lace or tulle/netting. I've already mentioned a few of the options above including using hats or a tiara style headpiece. There are many ways to make a form for the other options as well. These forms will raise the height of the veil no matter which style you decide you'd like. You can easily make a form with items you can find in your household. Heavy cardboard or plastic can be cut into the shape you need for your style of veil. You then cover with fabric to match the headpiece and rest of the veil. You could even use the same lace you are making your veil out of if you want the form to be hidden or less noticeable. If you'd like to make the entire headpiece as a form, you simple need to make to pieces. The first will be placed on your head with combs or bobby pins attached to it. It should curve around toward your ears, and the fabric you use will help...just glue the fabric so that it causes the form to bend slightly. If you use a flexible material for the form, you can bend it by simply placing the combs or bobby pins in your hair. The second piece will attach to the first and can be constructed in the same manner. These pieces can be as simple as two lengths of cardboard which are cut into strips. You can round the corners or cut into a v-shape if you'd like.
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While I haven't included every veil style, I hope that I've given you a clearer picture of the construction of veils. Veils, as with most craft-related items, can be made in a number of different ways and a variety of styles can be obtained by practicing. This is especially true where decoration of the veil is concerned of for a long veil. One last idea is to find a doll pattern with a veil in it. You'll be able to practice making veils and will waste a lot less fabric. It will give you the basics without costing as much as practicing with a full-size pattern will. You can then apply what you've learned with more fabric, bigger decorations, etc.
Original article by Rachel Shreckengast.
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