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How To DIY a Mantilla Veil

September 4, 2012

I always loved the look of a mantilla veil. I think they are so romantic looking, as well as classic. They make me think of tradition, which is not out of place at a wedding. Even though my dress is simple and straight, I still wanted a long mantilla veil. I felt like it would truly make me feel like a bride. So I started searching for one that I liked, and I was shocked at the pricing for these veils. There was just no way I was going to drop as much as my discounted off the rack dress cost on a veil. Many were even more expensive! The cheapest I found were on Etsy, and they weren’t exactly what I wanted so further customization would make them more expensive. I decided, dun dun dunnnnn… to DIY.

Important note: Make sure you match your fabrics to your dress BEFORE you start this project. I didn’t and I am very sad. However, the color has nothing to do with the tutorial, so the directions are still A-Ok!

It actually was not all that difficult, skill-wise. It’s just very, very tedious. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Decide what length of veil you want. There are several “standard” lengths, elbow, fingertip and chapel among the most popular. It wasn’t until I went veil shopping in person that I even knew chapel-length existed. I thought I wanted cathedral, but after trying one on, I decided chapel was the way to go. Since I was going to make it myself, I made it a little shorter than a typical chapel, so ¬†just a few inches drag behind me.

    Standard veil types. With a mantilla, a blusher is not typical, but if you do want one, simply add a second piece of tulle in the length you want your blusher to be before sewing on the lace edge. Do not edge the blusher in lace, it’ll look cray cray.

  2. Measure from the place on your head where you want the veil to start (for me it’s more on the back of my head, not on the crown) to the place that you want it to end. For me that ended up being almost exactly my height, 64 inches.
  3. Go buy your tulle and lace. I could not find scalloped lace, so I purchased some regular lace trim where I liked the design and I felt it had a line I could trim to, and trimmed it so it would have a scalloped edge on both sides.

    The lace I purchased and the imaginary line I used to trim it to the design I wanted.

  4. Lay your tulle out on a flat surface. Since I was making a long veil, I used the floor, and to make pictures as well as sewing easier, I laid a dark colored blanket down first. Fold it in half length wise, and cut it to the length you want. Then decide on your shape, and cut it into an oval. For my veil, I wanted a graduated oval that was skinny at the top and wide at the bottom. Round your corners.

    The pink lines show the negative space where I trimmed the tulle to the shape and size I wanted.

  5. Unfold your tulle and lay the trimmed lace around the edges. Pin in place. Use a LOT of pins.

    Lace trim laid in place

  6. Hand sew the lace onto the tulle using nylon (clear) thread. Nylon thread SUCKS, but it is worth it because you can sew all terrible like I do and it won’t show. White thread WILL show mistakes. Be careful not to pull too tight and pucker the edges of your lace. You want to sew around the inside scalloped edge of the lace so none of the scallops go flopping around as you walk down the aisle. You will have to sew in several sections because it’s just impossible to sew with the length of thread you’d need to go all the way around in one go. Tie good but small knots as you start and end each section. Do NOT worry about this being perfect. I found it easiest to sew while it was still laid flat on the floor, so it stayed as flat as possible, but when the veil is pinned on your head and flowing down your back, it won’t be flat. No one will notice if the lace isn’t perfectly flat around the edges or if the tulle puckered a little here and there. Trust me.
  7. Once you’re several inches away from the end, try to match up the two ends of the lace as best as you can and then re-pin. Continue sewing around and then sew the edges of the lace together. The seam will be barely noticeable if you match up the scallops correctly. I suppose you should probably make sure it’s going to line up properly at the very beginning, but I didn’t and it worked out just fine.
  8. Sew on a hair comb to the center of the top of the veil. Try on and feel pretty. Yay! 
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