How to Make a DIY Family Heirloom Veil

Wedding Wonderings header

One of my absolute favorite things about weddings is the tradition and heritage associated with them; anytime I can incorporate family heirlooms into my wedding, I am.  I’m so incredibly excited to show off my homemade (on the way cheap) wedding veil today.

My mama had offered me her veil, and while it is gorgeous, it just didn’t look good on me.  The flower wreath just didn’t work with my face shape and curly (*ahem* frizzy and wild *ahem*) hair, so I knew I had to come up with something else.

DSCF0378My Mama at her wedding.  Isn’t she beautiful?

Since you should all know by now that there was no way on this earth I was going to pay $100+ for a veil from a store, Plan B was to make my own veil completely from scratch like my sister-in-law Sarah did, only using lace accents instead of crystals.


Plan C (the plan I actually used) came into being when I happened to find an ivory veil at Michael’s; with the 40% off coupon it ended up costing me $9.  I also convinced my Mama that since neither my sister nor I were going to be able to fit into her size-2-sample-size-cut-down wedding dress, that we should take the beautiful lace appliques off of it and use those for my veil (and other places).  You can see the lace appliques better in these pictures (and you get to see my handsome Daddy!).  They are all over the collar and bodice, with a few on the sleeves, plus there are little lace medallions on the sleeves and skirt of the dress.

parentsweddingThe streamers coming off of the bouquet are streamers that were attached to the Bible that my Grandma (Daddy’s mom) carried in her wedding in the 1950s.  I’m still trying to figure out how I can use them in my wedding.  And don’t you just love the awesome 80’s photo treatment of superimposing Mama’s picture over the silhouette of Daddy’s face?

laceTaking the lace off the dress.

This lace was a bear to get off, let me tell you!  The little medallions on the sleeves and the skirt weren’t too bad- they were just held on with fabric glue.  But the collar and the bodice lace was not only glued down, but sewn down on top of the glue.  Once I FINALLY got all the lace off the dress, I was ready to sort out which pieces I wanted to use for the veil and start making it.

Step 1: Buy or make your veil base.  You can get plain veils to embellish at the craft stores.  They tend to run about $15, but don’t ever buy anything without a coupon to bring the cost down even lower. If you want to make your veil base by buying tulle or lace at the fabric store to use, here is an excellent tutorial on how to construct it from Bean in Love that also shows how to add lace trim to the edge of your veil if you want.  Since my veil came with a nice, clean pencil edge on it, I chose to let the other lace be the focus.

Step 2:  Choose and arrange your appliques.  I decided to use one of the larger appliques at the comb of the veil and use the small medallions from the sleeves and the arms scattered over the rest of the veil.  When I was initially arranging them, I pinned the lace in place because I was planning to sew them onto the tulle (see step 3).  This is also a good idea if you are like me and will need to change your design around several times before you are satisfied- it’s not permanent like the glue would be (or should be-again, see step 3) but it keeps your pattern from getting all messed up and forcing you to start over.

IMG_2541Lace pieces laid out and pinned on the veil.

Step 3: Attach Lace to Veil. This is where things got tricky.  My first plan was to sew the little medallions on; ha ha ha.  Yeah right- I would still be there sewing.  So then I went and bought some fabric glue and spent an evening gluing the little medallions to the tulle.  And the next morning when I picked it up, they all fell off.  Apparently, not all fabric glues are created equal.  So back to the craft store I go to buy a second kind of fabric glue.  This time it worked and those little suckers aren’t going anywhere. SO my reccomendation is for your fabric gluing needs, use Beacon Fabri-Tac (pictured below) and NOTHING ELSE!  (I have received no compensation or anything else for this recommendation; I’m just trying to save you a whole lot of frustration and headache.)


And you’re finished! This veil cost my $9 to make!  You can’t beat that with a stick, as my Nana used to say.

Here’s my finished veil.  I’m quite proud of it, and it’s extra special because the lace came from my Mama’s dress.

veil close up

And here it is on while I tried on dresses.


What about you- did you have a veil or not? Did you make your own?  What other cool wedding headpieces have you seen?  How did you use family heirlooms in your wedding day festivities?

2 thoughts on “How to Make a DIY Family Heirloom Veil

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