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How To Make a Bridal Veil


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Bridal Veil | A Practical Wedding

Ah, the veil. That sweet tulle accessory that somehow costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a single piece of fabric. When I was a flower girl (I didn’t even get a pink puffy dress… don’t get me started), the bride took me aside and made me promise that I would never buy a veil full price. Because they were so easy to make, it was a sin to pay a gajillion dollars for one. (I’ve got Practical Weddings in my bones.) As long time readers know, I opted out of a veil at the last second and David and I made a hair flower instead. But working on these lazy girl posts, I finally got to help make a veil, just as I promised I would when I was a flower girl. Turns out it’s just as easy as I was told.

First up, pick your tulle. Softer, more flowy tulle will give you a pretty, draped effect. Stiffer tulle will be more structural, but have less movement. For this one we went with the softer kind. Tulle can pretty much be bought at any craft or fabric store, like Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, or something more local. You’ll want to measure how long your veil will be (and add about an inch and a half to that length for safety), but don’t forget to also measure how wide. A width of at least thirty inches is wise, but realize that this may be limited by the width of fabric on the bolt, so please don’t stress too much.

Now, before we get into folding the veil, let me just remind you that this is really simple (though it might requere a bit of trial and error). If it just sounds complicated in print, go back to the pictures and don’t get stressed.

  • First, find the center point of the top edge of your veil by folding the tulle in half and hold the comb there for a second to measure how deep your pleats should be (your folds should be 1/2″ wider than the width of your comb).
  • Now, trial-and-error accordion fold the veil, from that center point to the outer edges. Make sure you tuck in the outer edges before basting it.
  • Once everything is folded, baste the tulle in place along the gathered edge. (Hint: the thread will be completely hidden by the comb.)
  • On the underside, line up the comb so that it sits about a 1/4” below the basting, prongs pointing toward the bottom of the veil.
  • Sew the comb to the veil by loop-stitching around the top of the comb and between prongs. Be careful to avoid the outermost layers of tulle or they will look weird and bunchy.
  • Fold in side edges at the top of the comb to hide comb and sew to secure edges, then fold the top edge over the comb. Sew down the pleated bit, again making sure you don’t sew the outermost layers of tulle.
  • Cut off the excess tulle and you’re done! TA-DAH!
  • P.S. If you really hate sewing, you can substitute that part for hot glue. Just remember that hot glue can be a little messier, and if you decide you don’t like the way it looks, you may rip the tulle trying to take it apart, so buy extra.

Now, aren’t you glad you are freed from spending $500 on a veil that the bridal shop lady says you just have to have? Us too.

Photos by Emily Takes Photos, Crafting by APW Editor Kate, with help from Lowe House Events, Graphic Design by Michelle Edgemont (all APW advertisers)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Another Meg

    Wondrous. I spent $75 on a (SALE! are you kidding me?) veil that I ripped nearly in half right after the ceremony. I laughed it off at the time (which I recommend for pretty much anything you can’t control on your big day), but right now I’m kind of disturbed.

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    I totally did this! I made a tulle veil (with a bonus beaded comb!) for my wife and a birdcage veil out of russian netting for myself. I spent less than $10 and an hour to make both. This is awesome!

  • http://www.foxesinsockses.com Sarah

    PUPPYBOMB! :D

    • meg

      PUPPY BOMB.

      • Martha

        Always appreciated.

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ KA

    I tried to make a veil using a tutorial that was not as helpful as this one. It ended with me giving up and shoving the tulle back in the Joann’s bag, hooking it over the hanger of my dress and forgetting about it. As I, fully dressed, was walking out the door to our first look, we decided to see how a long veil would look. In less than 3 minutes, my friend/stylist/savior folded the tulle around a hair clip, stuck it in my hair, and cut it to length as the photographer snapped pics:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/393394_10100477093512605_3409221_54056037_938125880_n.jpg

    Best wedding DIY ever.

  • One More Sara

    wooooooooooooooo!!!! cant wait to try this!!! maybe i can even get my (very good at sewing/crafting) oma-in-law-to-be to bedazzle it for me :)

    • Maddie

      If anything bedazzled is born out of these how-to posts, I want to be notified AT ONCE. I love me a rhinestone, I do.

      • meg

        Maddie, you should do a follow up series. Lazy Girl Crafting (with rhinestones).

        • Alyssa

          YES PLEASE.

          Also? I did this exact same thing, but sewed stones on the top edge.
          Which you could not see at all.
          But they were THERE and I had the sparklies I wanted and that’s all that mattered.

          • http://www.michelleedgemont.com Michelle

            Did someone say RHINESTONES??

            You’re speaking my language.

          • meg

            Michelllllllleeeeeeeeeee now you’re making me get ideasssssss.

  • Jessica

    So pretty! Can someone show us how to make one with a blusher? Pretty Please?

    • Paranoid Libra

      From what I see of my set( that I was guilty into getting when I got my dress by sheer I felt weird telling the bridal salon no) just make 2 combs. Make the blusher shorter than your veil and on your wedding day put the veil in your hair first and the blusher comb goes just above that.

      Damn it, I wish I would have said no to the veil. I knew it had to be easy as cake to make.

    • Granola

      Why yes I can!

      My mom and I used this tutorial, and so far it turned out lovely. It’s a circle veil, which isn’t as poufy as a lot of other veils that have multiple layers of tulle. (I didn’t want the height.) There are also instructions for how to sew a satin ribbon edge on the veil, which is super easy.

      http://www.chicaandjo.com/2008/04/08/make-your-own-wedding-veil/

      A couple caveats – We made a fingertip length veil with a blusher out of 108″ wide bridal tulle from Joann’s, and bought 2.5 yards of tulle, about 8 feet (96 inches). Hence when we unfolded it, the veil was WIDER than it was long. This knowledge is key, as the diagram in that tutorial shows the opposite (it may have used narrower tulle) which gave me a crisis of confidence such that I refolded it the wrong way, started over, and then cut off too much to even it out so it ended up not being full enough. Had I left it how it was originally, I think it would have been great.

      Either way, $34 worth of material for two trials is going to beat $330 for the one from the store, and make me feel WAY better about only wearing it for the ceremony. Guilt = gone.

  • JEM

    My mom and I made my veil, it was awesome. $40 for chapel length, 2 layers, and BLING!!!!!!

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    APW does it again! I’m doing this FOR SURE. Veils are possibly the biggest rip-off in the wedding industry, and that’s really saying something.

    • meg

      True and ’tis.

  • Emily

    This is fantastic! I had my heart set on using my mother’s veil, but we found a tear. I was completely heartbroken. But I bet I could use it as a fabric to make a (slightly shorter) veil this way.

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    My sister made my beautiful veil for me in 10 minutes for less than 5 bucks. And I got a million compliments! Every!one should make their veil

  • Bluejay

    Also? Really good silk tulle can cost up to $80 a yard. Really good silk gauze costs around $5 a yard. Unless you have a magnifying glass, or REALLY REALLY care, you won’t notice the difference.
    Though gauze isn’t as stiff, so if you want structure it’s not as good.

    • meg

      Oh yeah, you TOTALLY don’t need silk tulle. (And I’m a sucker for really expensive fabric….)

    • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

      Good to know! Thanks!

  • http://rachelsaul.blogspot.com Rachel

    It’s funny the things you don’t know about until you decide to get married. The ridiculous highway robbery of veils, and the fact that almost everyone wears a homemade one (really, every other bride I know but one has told me that they or some relative or friend made theirs) is one of those things I was completely oblivious to until I started planning. I made mine recently with some slightly stiffer white tulle, though my process was a little different. I folded it over about an inch on one edge, sewed it across loosely on my sewing machine, and then pulled the loose thread ends to make it bunch up. I then hand-sewed it onto a comb (my comb had fabric on top, so I sewed right into that), folded the sides under about a quarter-inch and seamed those, and did the bottom seam in a decorative zig-zag pattern on my machine. I also plan to hand-sew a few beads onto the top of the comb.

    I wasn’t even going to wear a veil, but then I randomly got pulled in. I had to stop myself from going all “oooh, cathedral! lace, beads, layers!” which would end up looking busy and out of place with my straight, flowy dress and end up caked with dirt at my woodsy camp wedding. So I went for a one-layer, just below the shoulder one, and I love it.

  • KW

    One of my friends had one of those weddings that looks super WIC, 400 people, etc. Little did anyone know/care, her veil was two $10 veils from the Dollar Tree. Bam.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Veils are emblematic of how wedding retail has changed in a single generation.

    When my mom got married in 1978, she got her dress at JCPenney, and the veil she liked there cost as much as the dress. So she wrote down all the measurements, and her future mother-in-law (my paternal grandmother) made it. Getting the supplies, however, was quite the chore. Though I’m sure there were more fabric stores in those days, only one in Portland, Ore. carried veil-making supplies.

    Now wedding dresses are in specialty shops but veil-making supplies are everywhere.

  • http://www.ktmade.com Katie

    I hadn’t even been considering wearing a veil, but now I sort of want to.

    • meg

      I mean, I did not. This is STAGED ;)

      • blimunda

        Doesn’t that dress make you feel you want to get married again? If I was already married and I had that dress, I would. (sorry. I really love your polka dotted dress. and you look awesome in the last picture ;o) )

    • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

      I debated a veil but didn’t get around to making one (and didn’t try any on because I got my dress via APW). So I ordered some little hair flowers from etsy and called it good. My friend ended up making me a cape, so it worked out better that I didn’t have a veil.

      TL;DR: feel free to wear a veil if you like, but don’t feel pressured to wear one if you don’t want to.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        Try one on with your dress. (Even if the damn thing is $300, remember you don’t have to buy it.)

        Then decide. I tried one and loved it. And then they tried to flip the blusher over my face and I freaked out. So when I decided to make mine there definitely isn’t a blusher!

  • Martha

    This is almost exactly what we did, except with more folds. I basically decided that I wanted a veil two days before the wedding, so Mom and I went to JoAnne’s, found some tulle and one of those hair-comb things, folded the tulle in half, hand-stiched the comb to the middle, trimmed the edges into semi-circles, and went off to get married. I love that my mom made my veil, I loved wearing it, and I loved that we spent about 20 dollars and 1 hour on it (including the trip to JoAnne’s).

  • ambi

    I think I am going to make one of these (maybe in pink?) just to wear around the house with my jeans or PJs while I do dishes or laundry (or just watch tv). :)

    I think it has been said by others recently, but APW IS ON FIRE!!! I can’t put into words how amazing this site is. You’ve built such a phenomenal community of smart funny women who discuss huge issues in a really supportive and respectful way. Stir in some gorgeous photography and now craft projects, and I think all that may be missing are cocktail recipes (or did I just miss those?). LOVE APW!

    • Sarah

      I totally wore my veil with jeans around my mum’s house to “practice” for the wedding : )

      Seriously though, you should practice or the first time you sit down wearing it you’ll yank it off your head.

    • meg

      COCKTAIL RECIPES. How about I make you a deal: when I finally get those non-wedding projects worked out, we’ll have cocktail recipes. As long as we don’t have to have REGULAR recipes (not my thing…).

      • http://www.stefaniedebestphotography.com Stefanie

        Woah woah! Cocktails recipes are definitely not non-wedding related! We’re doing his/hers (possibly diy depending on our liquor laws) cocktails at our wedding. Plus, those are one of the diy projects that I’m most looking forward to practicing and testing out… possibly while doing other diy projects…

        Seriously, though, these diy posts have been great!

        • meg

          Oh true. But I’m not really interested in doing wedding related cocktails. I mean, seriously, you can just serve straight booze and everyone will be happy.

          • ambi

            Yeah, I was about to post about how wedding cocktails are great, but how about some pre-wedding keep-you-sanity-and-chill-the-fuck-out cocktail recipes . . . and then I realized those recipes would only have one ingredient (whiskey, for me).

            But I second Stefanie’s idea that drinking and crafting is a fun combination!

  • http://gonetobudapest.wordpress.com Emily Rae

    I spend the night before my wedding reading APW and making my veil. Short, went across my head like a old-timey nurse’s cap. My advice is to buy more tulle than you’ll need — I made one, but it was too poofy. I had a coupon, so my veil cost me 80 cents. Oh yeah. I cinched and sewed the ends together (as shown above, just on both ends) and used bobby pins to hold it in place. My fine hair doesn’t hold combs.

  • amc

    I made a veil for my wedding too, although the online tutorial I found was not nearly as helpful as this one. I think it cost me around $15.

    I had a hard time cutting the tulle to length. I’m not the craftiest lady so a balanced, rounded bottom edge was challenging for me. After a few tries, my wonderful mother suggested that I ask my tailor to do it. What a great idea! Turned out perfectly.

  • Ashley

    so great – a perfect DIY! …if you want rounded edges at the bottom, use a CD as a template – just place it in the corner and follow the edge as a guide for your scissors.

  • suzanna

    You ladies are the best. That is all.

  • meg

    Also, can we talk about how my hair looks all fancy and curled, when really I just didn’t brush it? Emily is a wizard.

    • Kess

      The time I get the most compliments on my hair? Never ever when I actually try, it’s usually the “didn’t brush it, hasn’t been washed in a day”. I think that the world is trying to tell me that “natural” beauty is pretty much the best!

  • http://www.stefaniedebestphotography.com Stefanie

    I just picked up some tulle yesterday to make a veil! I’m going for sort of a birdcage look but it was reassuring to see that it’s probably just as easy as i think it is. It cost me $5. umm, yes!

  • Jessica

    I bought my veil fabric from a really great site that has tulle in over 20 colors!! I was SO close to getting it in bright red, but I lost my nerve just at the end and bought something more traditional…

  • Ruth

    I love this, I used the tulle netting from my mom’s veil, but it was on a funky little ’80’s hat thing that was a bit dated, so my dear mom took the tulle off and put in on a sparkly comb, it was so special to wear my mom’s veil because my parents are such a marriage role model for me.

  • MDBethann

    Sigh. Wish I had this post a month ago. I was going to go veil-less because I felt veils were over priced but hadn’t found a DIY veil tutorial I liked; it also just became something that wasn’t important enough to worry about. But because my gown is strapless, BOTH of our moms insisted I have a veil and they took me shopping for one. It ended up as my birthday present. It’s pretty, but it is so pouffy at the comb and I’m not wearing my hair up, so I don’t know how it will work. Good luck to you ladies who are lucky enough to make your own!

  • Gloria

    seriously, i’m going to do this. i tried on a couple of different veil styles when i bought my gorgeous most perfect wedding dress (mostly at the insistence of my stepmother, although it was nice to see them) and want a plain cathedral length veil. i can’t wait to conquer this. and think about if i want to attach it to a fancy comb or not. yay! thanks meg!

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    Deciding on veil or not veil while standing in “That Big Box Wedding Store” almost killed me.

    The calculus associated with (the meaning of the veil x my age x second wedding) x (but I think it’s pretty *Squared*)/cost was just too much for my feeble brain.

  • Suzzie

    My future mother in law had sent me some lace from India to incorporate on my dress and we had enough left over. So my mom and I bought some tulle (super cheap about $1 a yard) and a hair comb (about $3) at the craft store. Since I wanted it to drape a little bit instead of just falling down straight, we cut a half circle on a big sheet of butcher paper and then cut out the tulle on our make shift pattern. Then took leftover lace, folded it in half and sewed it on the edge of the veil. Looks pretty and covers up the edge of the tulle! Then basted it to the comb. So much cheaper and more personal than a $200 veil at a bridal shop! Love the tutorial and that’s what I would probably do if I didn’t have my wonderful mother (who can sew) helping me!

  • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

    You guys had a TON of fun doing these, didn’t you? You can totally tell.

  • Aurora

    I just read this post at work and immediately did a quick price check online – fabric vs. readymade veils at even the cheapest places. Quickly convinced, I bought $9 of real silk gauze. Told my coworker about it in passing and she immediately asked if I got the right color to go with my definitely darker ivory dress… I just can’t find it in me to care. Am I supposed to care? I’m going to say ‘no.’ I don’t have to care.

  • Suzanne

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I already went slightly over budget with my dress, this will help so much! :)

  • Pingback: My DIY cathedral length veil |()

  • Laura

    Any advice on how much tulle to buy for a cathedral length veil? Thanks!

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  • Eden

    I used this tutorial to make my veil last summer! Soooo happy with how it turned out

    see:

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/19492210860015240/

    Thank you!

    – eden

  • C

    I just want to say that, if you’re looking for a dreamy silk gauze, try Dharma Trading co. I’ve recently bought some for medieval re-enactment, and I wanted a really nice, sheer veil for the summer. It’s roughly the same concept in cutting, hemming, and trimming. I think it’s the perfect white for any veil use, and would look amazing if you add rhinestones to it. People ant to spend so much on a veil when making yourself, if you’re willing to take the time, can come out much nicer. I’m not the only one who’s called Dharma’s gauze dreamy. :)