To Sew A Veil
How To Make A Face Veil (birdcage Style)
Birdcage veils -- sometimes
called net or face veils -- have recently
become more popular, partially due to movie and
celebrity brides wearing them. Most recently,
in 2007, Katherine Heigl wore one in her
real-life wedding and Jessica Alba's character
wore a birdcage veil in the movie Fantastic
Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer. While it's
possible to buy birdcage veils, brides on a
budget may prefer to make their own.
This veil is very short --
usually just long enough to frame the face but
can also be eye-length -- and typically worn
alone, without additional tiers or a separate
blusher. You may choose to attach a traditional
veil in the back, to a bun or mass of curls.
The birdcage is made of coarse-weave French or
Russian-style netting rather than typical
fine-mesh veil fabrics. Historically, the veil
was attached to a hat. The modern bride,
however, often prefers to wear her birdcage
veil without a hat. Today, most brides attach
this short, circular veil directly to their
hair with a pin or comb, so that it hangs down
around the head. The front serves as a blusher
over her face.
Making a Birdcage Veil
Because of the short length
and because netting is stiffer than tulle,
creating the effect you want when making a
birdcage veil can be trickier than when making
a regular veil. For this reason, purchase extra
netting and plan to make one or two trial runs
before the veil is perfect. Also note that the
width of the netting will be the length of your
veil (from the point where you attach it to
your head to the where the veil falls in front
of your face).
Materials You Will Need:
- Up to three yards of
Russian or French netting.
- Two or more hair clips
(the kind used to secure hair extensions to
short hair are most stable).
- Sturdy thread the color of
the netting (button thread works well).
Step 1: Cut 36" of 9" French
/ Russian netting
You can make a relatively
full birdcage veil, with many gathers, from a
yard of netting. These instructions are for
making a relatively full, gathered veil similar
to Jessica Alba's in Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Cut the netting shorter for a veil that lays
closer to your head, with fewer gathers. If in
doubt, cut the piece long at first. Then
shorten it if you find that the veil is too
The short, cut ends will be
the sides of your veil and the long, finished
edges will be the front and back. These
instructions explain how to gather the sides
and attach them to clips as well as gather the
back more loosely than the sides.
Step 2. Sew on two clips,
one at each end of the long (finished) edge of
The clips will go at the
front corners of the veil, with the teeth
facing the finished edge. The outside, short
side of each clip should be parallel to a raw,
cut edge. Position them so that, when worn, the
clips' metal bars will face outward, but remain
under the veiling. The clips should curve
against your head when closed.
Step 3. Gather the cut sides
of the veil and sew them to the clips.
Using a slipknot, attach
thread at the corner of a cut edge opposite a
clip. Weave the thread in and out of the
diamond patterns along the cut edge between the
attached end and the clip then thread it
through the hole in the clip.
Pull the thread tight so the
entire cut edge is gathered against the clip.
Secure to the underside of the clip (the
non-bar side, which will be against your head)
so the thread will be hidden when you are
wearing the veil. You may want to tidy up by
clipping off the frayed pieces of netting. One
entire side should now be gathered and sewn to
Repeat on the second side,
gathering and sewing the raw edge against the
Step 4. Make the back
Attach doubled or heavy
button thread to the inside edge of a clip.
Weave the thread in and out between the
diamonds or holes in the netting. Do not secure
the thread to the second clip yet. The length
of the thread determines how full the gathers
and how closely the veil hugs your head. You
will want to adjust the length of the thread so
the veil looks perfect on you.
Step 5. Experiment with
different veil widths.
Looking in a mirror, adjust
the thread length between clips. When you are
happy with your veil's width and fullness of
the gathers, secure the thread by looping it
through the inside holes of the second clip and
tying it off. With 8" - 9" netting, you will
need to attach the veil near the top of your
head for it to hit just below the nose. Attach
it farther back for a shorter look.
Leave time to practice
attaching the veil exactly as you want it, and
you will look like a star on your wedding