My good friend, Katie Meier made her first Communion last Saturday. For us Catholics, it’s kind of a big deal, the first rite of passage into becoming a young adult, and a full feldge Catholic. You get to fully participate in the mass. Plus you get to wear a pretty white dress AND a veil.
Katie and her Mom asked me to make her veil. See, back in another lifetime, I used to design and make bridal headpieces and veils. So, I know a thing or two about putting one together. I know this sounds smug, but it’s actually a pretty easy process.
We started by trying on a couple samples I still had from my veil making days, to figure out the length, fullness, edging, etc. Because she has extremely thick hair, they were going to just use a basic satin covered headband as a base for the veil. I also suggested that we cut the width of the tulle in half (my stash is 108” wide), otherwise, once we gathered it up, it would overwhelm her small frame. So, then it was off to work creating the veil:
I pulled out my stash of white tulle, and cut three lengths of it. We had decided to do a triple layer veil. The sample I had was a standard waist length veil, which is about 30”, so I used those measurements. The bottom layer was 30”, then the second layer was about 27”, and the third layer 25”.
Next the corners needed to be rounded, so you get that gracefully curve when it’s gathered up. I had this basic pattern that I made on hand, so it made shaping it really easy.
Then before you gather up the veil, I sewed on a ribbon edging, far easier doing it while the tulle is still a flat piece of fabric. The best and easiest way to achieve this looks, is to machine sew the ribbon on about a ½” in from the edge then, trim away the excess. I also gave the edge a nice press to smooth it out.
Now comes the hand sewing. To get a nice clean finish at the top, you use a basic overcast stitch. You knot both ends of the thread together, once it’s threaded on the needle. Then fold the corner of the tulle where you are starting from over. Pass the needle through the fold, then back through your double thread, and then you can start your overcast stitch, stitching about ¼ – ½” in from the top edge. Once you get to the end, you just pulled your needle and thread, and start gathering the tulle, making sure to evenly distribute the gathers. You can secure the gathers by making a couple slip knots at the end.
Once the veil was gathered, I just sewed it to the inside of the headband with another basic hand stitch.
And the finished result.