DIY Cathedral Veil Tutorial

It’s finally here! I Know it has been long awaited and I am really excited to finally be able to share with you all my DIY Veil Tutorial.

If you have read Chic in the City you will know that I managed to knock up a cathedral length veil with 2 tiers and loads of ‘pouff’ for less than £15, with the assistance of my mum and the accessories department of John Lewis. And could anyone tell? I certainly don’t think so.

So here is the how to and what you will need. It’s really easy. Like, you’ll fall of your chairs it’s so easy. I can’t wait to see our readers rocking their own DIY veils on the pages of RMW. 🙂

What you Need

A clear plastic comb (sold in pairs) from John Lewis.
White Ivory or any other colour you fancy/can find Tulle (which is actually quite soft net).
Needle and Thread to match the colour of your netting.
Very Sharp Scissors
Some pins, for marking out.

A Few tips and how to Measure Up.

To Measure how much Netting you need for your veil first decide:
A. How long you want it to be.
B. If you want a second layer.

Measure from where you imagine your veil to be placed on the head, (ie. the top, behind your hair-do etc) down your back to the place you imagine it stopping, in my case this was the end of my train. You may need some assistance and an extra pair of hands here and don’t forget to let the tape measure go loose as the veil will not hang straight down. Lets call this measurement (A)

*Please excuse the desecration of my Wedding Photographs taken beautifully by Raw Photography!

If you will be putting the veil over your face you will need a second measurement, (B) taken from the same place on your head forwards and down to where you want it to hang, I would recommend just below the bust, or below your bouquet height. (I went for the latter as I wanted it to look best when it was back from my face which was the majority of how I would wear it.)

If you think you won’t put the veil forward, you still need the veil to have a second layer so you will need to measure from the top of your head backwards again, to where you want the second layer to fall.

A + B + 1m = your finished length to buy. 1m extra may seem excessive but it should give you the confidence to snip away at it and leave room for error, plus at about £3.50/m it hardly matters. (I bought 4m.)

There are 2 widths of veiling available in John Lewis and I went for the smaller one which is still enormous at about 180cm width. I think the larger one is 210cm and that would be too big for even the largest of dresses.

The How To…

Once again this is really easy… you’ll see!

Step 1.

Lay the netting out on the largest (very clean) floor you have and flatten it all out straight.
Fold the netting in half along it’s length.
Starting at one end, measure length B and put a pin in the fabric as a marker. This is where your comb will eventually go.

Step 2.

This is where you shape the veil to get a lovely rounded edge.

With the veil still folded in half measure the width of the netting (as shown by the arrow below.) Measure a length the same as this width measurement and put a pin in the side where the 2 edges meet.

Now continue putting pins in freehand to form a nice sweeping arc like a quarter circle, as shown below. (If you don’t trust yourself ‘freehand’ you could use a pencil on the folded side, with a bit of string or cotton the width of the folded veil and make a kind of makeshift compass to guide you.

Now bite the bullet and carefully cut outside the pins, along the line you have marked out… to create a smooth line. A tip here is not to make full snips and don’t close the scissors as you cut – this will help you to keep the edges smooth rather than making ragged snags.

When you open out the veil you should have a smoothly rounded end! (Note! Although I used the analogy of a quarter circle, the diagram below shows a rather more softly shaped, flattened curve to the end of the veil which looks better and will probably match the shape of most gown trains better. )

Step 3.

Now repeat the stages of Step 2 at the other end of the veil to round off the other end, as shown by the dotted markings below right.

After rounding off both ends, unfold the veil to reveal an elongated half semi-circle at both ends of your rectangle of fabric. You should still have your Pin in to mark where the comb will go.

Step 4.

Now re-check the distance between your pin and the top end of the veil (measurement (B) ) just in case with all the snipping it got a little shorter!

*My Mum measuring my veil…

If you are happy with that length, next you need to take your needle and thread – use a double length of cotton that needs to be very long – about 50 cms, and loosely sew across the width of the veil at the point of Measurement (B).

Leave some cotton loose at the starting side and if you start to run out as you are going across, scrunch up the fabric to make your thread go further.

When you have sewn all the way across, leave some extra then push the netting up together along the thread, until the whole width of fabric is gathered into the width of your comb – about 10cms. Now you will start to see the veil taking shape!

Step 5.

Secure the ends of your threads now the netting is gathered up by either tying a knot or making a couple of oversewn stitches at each end of the gathering.

Now fold the shorter part of the veil over to lie on top of the longer part and hey presto, you have your veil. All that remains is to sew the veil onto your comb….

*…as you can see, in my house it was somewhat of a family occasion! 🙂

To sew the veil onto the comb, line your 10cm area of gathering up along the comb – on top of it, with the top of the comb in line with the top of your gathering. Sew big loops around the top of the comb, at every second tooth gap, with several loops at each interval. Do this along the width of the comb and secure at the end. Make sure that the bites you take of the veil are very small – just around the line of thread you have gathered up, so as not to create a pucker in the veil when it is brought forwards over the face, should you wish to do so.

You might think this looks a bit ugly or messy but in fact the gathered tulle will cover up any odd or white stitching that you are doing and when the veil is in place in your hair, you won’t see it at all.

All you have to do now is try it on!

If you want to see more of my veil in action, read about my DIY Veil.

Do drop me a comment if anything is unclear and of course if you will be DIY-ing your own veil! – It’s definitely worth a go and really quick and easy – it took mum and I about 2 hours all together and then I lopped off another half a meter 2 days before the wedding as I decided it was too long. It was so lovely to be able to wear something that my mum and I had made together, not to mention the money saved!

(Obviously a Full on and fabulous pouffy cathedral veil is not for everyone, so I will do a flatter, mid-length veil tutorial some time in April. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can feel a Birdcage coming on… 😉 )

Yours DIY Truly,


Author: Becky Sappor
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.