Adventures in Dressmaking: My birdcage veil!! A tutorial

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My birdcage veil!! A tutorial


I have been inspired by a lot of veils in the past few months.  Lots.  I decided I wanted a birdcage veil before I really knew what that meant, and there are a lot of variations!  I wanted a big flower or other hairpiece, with veiling.  Where to start?!  So many types out there.  Here are just a few:

From BHLDN (headbands, hairpieces, and veils):

From Ruffled:

From Style Me Pretty:

Even ModCloth has little fascinators of the same idea:

But I figured out my own style, since I have NO idea how any of those are made!

My mom has lots of millinery experience, and gave me the right tools and tips to make a structured, quality birdcage veil hairpiece.  Here's a tutorial for what we did!
  • The materials you'll need are:
    • A cool flower or decoration
    • About 1 yard of veiling (sold in bridal departments of fabric stores or online)
    • About 1/3 of a yard of hat wire (I suppose you could use some other kind of wire in a pinch... needs to be lighter than a coat hanger, but heavier than chicken wire)
    • Buckram, a sturdy hat form material, cut in an oval shape.  If you don't have this, you could use some other very stiff fabric.  Two layers of canvas sewn together, maybe?  This piece should be smaller than your flower/decoration.
    • A comb

The decoration I'm using is a flower a lot like the ones I made for my wedding dress.  The basic flower tutorial is here, and you can see more about how I made this shape of flower for my wedding dress here.


Here are a few editions I made to my wedding dress flower style for it to go on the veil.
  • I attached some feathers to the back of the flower, sewing through their stalks to secure them.
  • I tore apart an old, cheap fake flower and used the stamens.
  • I poked a hole through the center of the flower with an awl.
  • I stuck the stamens through, although you can barely see them.

So the basic point of all that was, make or find a great flower or bow or something!  Then follow these instructions for the tutorial for the veil itself:
  • To make the mini-hat-like base, take your buckram and hat wire and carefully line them up along the edges.  Curve the hat wire as you zigzag it down around the edge.
  • Cut the wire once you get all the way around, then double it up where it overlaps and zigzag it all down.
  • Give the buckram/wire base a little curve to match the curve of your head (or hairstyle, in my case!)
  • Hand sew the comb to the wire and buckram at the top.
  • Fold your veiling in half and round the corners off both sides at the top corner.
  • Begin hand-gathering at the remaining corner and go all the way along the edge of your 1 yard, putting the needle through each little tightly woven joint.
  • Don't pull the thread as tight as possible; leave several inches of gathering thread to play around with.
  • Arrange the gathers pretty evenly around the base piece and tack them down by hand, sewing around the gathering threads you used.
  • Grab your flower or decoration and hand sew it down to the buckram, covering the base.

That's all!  Ta-da!  Done!

Here's the veil in a few teaser pics from the wedding...
Photos by Becky Nerpel, Studio623Photography.com

More pics coming later--I can't wait!

The veil was super fun and easy to make.  I guess when you make your own dress like I did, the veil is sort of an afterthought.  Comparatively it took almost no time, just an hour or so of mostly hand sewing.  Too bad I only needed one, since they're so fun and pretty and simple! ;)

(If you made any of your accessories, or did any other DIYs for your wedding, I'd love for you to share them in the Adventures in Dressmaking DIY Weddings Flickr group!!)

40 comments:

Leaving a comment is easy, and I love to read them! No annoying word verification required. =)

  1. You look beautiful! Thank you for sharing

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  2. I'm thinking of using your tutorial for my veil! Thank you!

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  3. Love the final product with the dress! Looks great!

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  4. Aaaw, thanks! I can't wait for more pics...

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  5. you can always make more in other colours, for non-wedding wearing! it looks fabulous, and your tutorial is wonderfully straightforward. thanks!

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  6. Sooo pretty and simple!!I love it:)

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  7. I had birdcage veil issues months before my wedding and it still wasn't resolved 3 days before - I was freaking. out. 'Is it too poofy?' 'Is it too tight?'

    Finally I realized my issue was with the fact that veils are *freaking weird* accessories and the one I had made looked fine. I stopped worrying about it and just wore it because that's what you do as a bride.

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  8. That is so pretty! Congratulation on your wedding =]

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  9. Congratulations Suzannah! Your dress and veil were beautiful. What a great tutorial!

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  10. Aaw, thanks! Great point, @ElizabethB. I had some of those worries too but didn't have time to give into them!

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  11. You look beautiful and that DIY veil...WOW! It looks even better than some of the ones you could buy in stores for several times more.

    I recently got married and made my own birdcage veil, too. I tried to find one and they were all over $100 in the local stores. I was stunned! I ended up making my the night before my wedding and it cost about $20.

    Congratulations on your marriage!

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  12. I LOVE your veil - I had a birdcage sorta veil when I got married in 2007, just before they became very trendy! It didn't sit well unlike yours which is so beautiful. I ended up wearing mine backwards over my hairdo which looked nice. May have to try and make the netting into a proper veil though, just for the fun of it now!
    :-)

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  13. Ooooh this is so timely! I had my fingers crossed that you would do a birdcage veil tutorial :) You look amazing, by the way. Thanks for sharing this.

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  14. Wow, I love it! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  15. great tutorial, very helpful and inspiring

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  16. Un tout grand merci.
    A retenir pour le mariage de ma fille.
    Amitiés

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  17. How wide was the netting that you used?

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    1. Ooh, good question... probably only about 18". Not sure what widths it comes in standard, but very narrow compared to any fabric.

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  18. These would be cute to wear to tea parties also! Imagine the colors you could choose!

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    1. That's what I'm making it for ;) triplet little girls tea party, pink, purple, and teal!!! I'm so excited to find this headin out to but my materials now!!!

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  19. Thank you for posting up this - been really useful :)

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  20. Do you happen to know the designer or the dress in the 2nd picture under "from ruffled"

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  21. Do you happen to know the designer of the 2nd dress under "from ruffled"?

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    1. No idea, sorry! The image URL is: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SXHPZGSdrF4/TesGb6FIwoI/AAAAAAAAHJY/F1ptPox7pmU/s640/ruffled+greenhouse-garden-wedding-22.jpg so you might try searching Ruffled's archives for "greenhouse garden wedding." Www.ruffledblog.com. =)

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  22. Thank you for your easy to follow tutorial. The birdcage veil I purchased only came in a 9" length. Before I go and cut it up, do you think it will work? Do I need the entire yard of veil? I would like to save a piece for a flower hairclip embellishment.

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    1. You mean 9" wide? A yard in length? Should be just fine, and if you use less than a yard it will definitely still work but be a little less full. I'm sure you'll have enough!

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  23. Oh, those look like real dandy veils (still hung over the royal wedding?). Maybe the long island bridal shops sell some that look like those at discount prices?

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  24. Years ago I attended the wedding of my sister's stepdaughter. Everythng was luxe and lavish. But that didn't seem to suit the bride, who was very down to earth and happy with that. You could find her almost any day or night after work, with her ball cap on backwards and a good pair of sneaks so she could run. She had told me that as soon as the ceremony was over...the heels were coming off and her sneaks going back on. I persuaded her to buy a pair of white ones, and I promised her that I would do something with the veil. I took a ball cap, white of course, and 6 yards of tulle, and 4 white silk flowers. Me and handy dandy hot glue gun! Within an hour she had a beautiful and practical (by her lights) bridal veil. My brother in law bless his heart, presented it to her as soon as the happy couple got comfortable at their table. She was thrilled! This is one of my happiest memories of my sister, who passed in 1996. She sat with me as I worked and we laughed and laughed. I hope this memory of mine makes people smile. It always does that for me.

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  25. This is a great tutorial! I am hopeful I will be able to do that same. What a beautiful photo! Thanks for sharing.

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  26. They do look amazing. Birdcage veils seem to look demure without being ostentatious. Lovely!

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  27. Silk Fabric Warehouse, Buy silk fabric online!
    http://www.silkfabricwarehouse.com/

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  28. I remember when I was in high school ( 40 years ago) we wore "wimsies". They were made exactly like your "birdcage" is made. They went great with our beehive hairdos. Look at old pictures of Jackie O and she that she wore them, too.

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  29. I've done this thing during my High School days where our subject is about sewing and my teacher told us to make a bridal veils.

    http://www.manalifashion.com

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  30. I think it is so much more meaningful, when you have personally made something that will be featured in a lot of your wedding photos like this veil. As the new trend is on different coloured wedding dresses, I think this will become a big hit! Great tutorial, will definitely share this on our twitter.

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  31. Wonderful tutorial. Your BC Veil is awesome. I love it. I also love the fact that you made your own wedding dress. You are very talented. Happy Marriage.....

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