Tulle, Lace, and Two Sisters

My Irish twin sister (we were born in the same year, 10 months apart) got hitched to her main man, Patrick, a few weeks ago.  It was a grand 'ole time, even with the rain that just poured out more blessings from above.  It's funny to me that one day can encompass a whole year's worth (in this case) of planning.  I flew in a week early to help Farrah tie up some loose ends and boy were there lots of them.  Following in the footsteps of her smart, older sister...that's me...Peach and Pat, as they're loving known, went the D.I.Y. route which saved them lots of moolah and still surrounded their day with personalized beauty.  My next few posts will be on their wedding, sharing some of their money-saving tips with other money-saving fiends like us out there.

First things first - the veil.  Farrah had her heart set on a gorgeous, cathedral length mantilla veil...until she saw the $750 price tag.  Seriously?!  It's that much for a bunch of tulle and some lace?!  Well, after showing me the beauty and being the "think outside of the box" girls we are, we couldn't help but try to make it ourselves.  We have basic sewing skills so it should be pretty easy, right?  Well...read on.

So off we went to work searching for the lace.  Mantilla veils are edged with lace, alencon lace being very popular but expensive because it's so intricate and detailed. 
  I scoured fabric stores all around me but there was no alencon lace to be found. I was told numerous times it's hard to find but very expensive when it is found.  Then Farrah hit the jackpot while she was searching for a bridal bolero jacket when she ran across the Rohm etsy shop, where the owner specialized in alencon lace bridal ensembles.  She excitedly ordered her custom, alencon lace jacket and the owner kindly sold her around 5 yards of extra lace so she could make her veil.

So onto the day I arrived in the blushing, to-be bride's presence.  Our first priority was getting this veil made and the minute we sat down with the yards of tulle and lace, the task looked a little daunting.
First we had to cut the tulle.  Farrah's inquiries to the seamstress at a bridal shop provided us with a step-by-complicated-step process on cutting out a veil.  Fold here, cut here, make sure this is a rounded, not squared edge, and it should 'cascade' down the front filled our thoughts and words.  Who knew you couldn't just trace and cut?  Not us!
Update:  I finally wrote a post on that 'step-by-complicated-step' cutting process.  Click here to read!
But we did it...halfway done with the veil...nope, not even close.  Next we attached two combs to the top of the veil using clear thread.  We used two combs because the combs we had weren't very wide so we overlapped them about an inch or so, creating one larger comb that would hold the veil in place better. 

Next up:  the lace.  Before we could start sewing it to the veil, we had to 'cut it out'.  This part required a good bit of patience and detail.  We had to cut as close to the detailing on the lace as we could without cutting too much.

After the lace was prepped and all the cutting done, we started the most satisfying yet most time-consuming part of the whole process - sewing the lace around the entire edge of the veil.  We had originally planned to each start at an edge and just start sewing but with each of us having to continually thread needles while holding the lace in place we found that way wouldn't work.  So, I guided the lace and threaded Farrah's needle while she sewed on the lace...which with clear thread that's hard to see, wasn't an easy task.  We knew halfway through this process why the mantilla veil in the bridal shop was $750 bucks!  :)  Lots of time and patience is involved!
Four hours later, Farrah's mantilla veil was assembled and she stepped into her wedding day for two seconds as she tried it on for size.  Uh-oh...the tips of the scalloping in the lace needed to each be stitched onto the tulle so it didn't look like she had spikes hanging off her veil.  With a few sighs of "well, we thought we were done", we went to bed dreaming of more veil work the next day.

Next Day:

After three more hours of individually stitching scalloped edges to the tulle we had created a masterpiece...for 85 DOLLARS (including lace, tulle, combs, and clear thread) and seven hours of sisterly love and bonding time.  Was it worth it?  Every penny and minute!
Her homemade mantilla veil looked store-bought and complimented her already existing 'gorgeousness'!  It was definitely a project that tops my "Things I've Made" list and I think I can speak for both Farrah and I on that.  Not only did she look incredible under her veil but now it's a keepsake that holds sisterly memories that we'll each cherish forever.  :)


14 comments

  1. You girls did a wonderful job! The veil was beautiful, as were the bride and her bridesmaids. Really love reading about all your DIY projects and your life. Keep it up!

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  2. Wow ... reminds me of the First Communion banners I made for you.
    You were paying attention!

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Hello,

    I found your post while searching the web for a how-to on making a chapel length mantilla veil. I already have my lace and tulle, just need a little guidance on how to cut the tulle. Would you be willing to share with me the "step-by-complicated-step process" for cutting the tulle? I would greatly appreciate it.
    THANKS!

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  6. Hi,

    I'm planning on making my own mantilla veil for my wedding and I was just wondering how you figured out how much lace you would need. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Kathrynne! First of all, congrats on your upcoming wedding! So exciting! I love that you're making your own veil! It's so worth it! As for knowing how much lace to buy, my sister bought more than enough because she was going to use it for some other projects as well so she didn't buy based on veil measurements. But, if I had to figure it out, I'd say to first buy the tulle you're going to use. Then, figure out how long your veil will be, times two to have enough to go down each side, and then multiply the width of your veil by 1.5 (.5 for the top and 1 for the bottom width). Does that make any sense? For example, if the tulle you buy is 45 in. wide and you're making your veil six feet long, you'd probably need around 18 feet of lace...

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    2. Hi Sheena,

      Thanks! And I am excited :D I actually used an ellipse circumference calculator (geeky I know) to figure out how much lace I would need, but it seemed like an obscene amount compared to what you listed (10 yeards!). But my veil is slightly different, 108" wide by 108" long because it's a drop veil and my gown is a ballgown. Thanks for the response though!

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    3. Awesome! Sounds a lot more accurate than what I'd calculate using my rusty math skills! :) I'd love to see pictures when you're finished with it!

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  7. This is awesome! Where did you buy your lace? I only have a Jo-Ann Fabrics near me and I'm not sure I've seen lace like this there...

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    1. Thanks!! She bought the lace from Rohm Etsy shop. There's a link in the post. :) She actually bought a bolero jacket there and the owner sold her extra lace so I don't think she sells lace but, if you email her, she might sell you some!! Or at least tell you where she gets it! :) Good luck!

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  8. this is so awesome..you all did a great job..its not about price its your journey and experience darling..you have wonderful story to lel your daughter own maybe your grandchild soon.i wish you have a beautiful life forever..my wedding will be held on this end of august..will create the same as yours.lots of love from malaysia

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