Monday, April 20, 2009

The Veil, Part Une

When I found my dress at Arzelle's several weeks back, I had tried it on with a to die for veil. Look!

However, I was greatly saddened at the lofty $400 price tag! You have got to be kidding me! Four hundred dollars for a few inches of lace and tulle? Please.

My mom has always mentioned her mantilla to me and that I could have it if I wanted it. A mantilla is a type of veil that was popular in Spanish cultures. They used to be worn like this:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

However, they lost their popularity in the early 1900's after the death of Queen Isabella II. I'm not sure how the practice of wearing it flat on the head became popular. My memory of Costume History is not what it should be. I do know that it used to be protocol for women to wear them when in the audience of The Pope. At any rate, my mom wore a mantilla that her eldest sister wore as well. Contrary to some opinions, a mantilla is not attached to a comb. The purpose of a mantilla is to sit flat on your head, magically, with levers and pulls and disappearing bobby-pins. Like so:
Image courtesy of The Jenerek Life

Well, my mom sent me her mantilla after she cleaned it with special non-detergent cleaner to get some of the yellow out. The lace had originally been white-white, but once it was cleaned, had faded into a lovely off-white. Once I got the mantilla, I realized quickly that it wouldn't work with my dress or my head. It was too short for my frame (I'm 5'10" and my mom is a teeny 5'2" or something like that). Also, the interior lace was a little stretchy and I was afraid that trying to pin it or maneuver it in any way would be it's demise. Lastly, a mantilla is shaped more like a triangle and the way it was falling, just wasn't working.

I thought about cutting into it or something, but quickly put that idea aside as I didn't want to harm the family treasure. I mentioned this to my mom and she quickly squelched the idea that I shouldn't cut into it. Eh? Her response was along the lines of, "Well, if you don't use it, who will? Cut off the lace if you want to." Well, all-righty then!

Still, I was uber-nervous about doing it and stated so on Facebook. I got lots of encouragement from my FB peeps, but I still was unsure. I took the mantilla down to Arzelle's to introduce Mantilla to The Dress. I think they got along beautifully. What do you think?

Still, I just didn't want to cut into it without a little more veil knowledge under my belt. I went to my all-time favorite Nashville fabric store The Textile Store and looked at (but didn't buy) Veiled in Beauty: Creating Headpieces & Veils for the Bride. I got the general idea of how to create by flipping through the book (I have a degree in Customer Construction Technology so can sew). After looking through their gorgeous English Cotton Tulle, French Silk Tulle and every other kind of tulle you can imagine, I went with the standard nylon in the closest matching color to the lace. Honestly, it had the best body, weight and color. It was $2.99 a yard and I purchased a yard, even though I needed less. I had previously purchased a veil pattern at Joann's as they were selling all patterns at 50% off that day.

Cutting tulle is a bitch, to say the least. It sticks to everything it touches, except itself.

I had purchased a 6" metal comb and the first version of the veil was WAY too big. The comb was too big, there was too much tulle, yuck.
The following week I exchanged the 6" metal comb for a 4" plastic one. I cut 4" off the width of the veil (2" on each side) and sewed the veil on AGAIN. Guess what? Still too big - both the comb and the poufy-factor were too much. This was Easter weekend when my parents came to visit. I still hadn't cut into the mantilla. With my mom around, I felt a little better about doing it. She sat on the floor and watched me cut into her mantilla and remove the outer edge of lace. It took me about 20 minutes. Whew! I think I held my breath the entire time.

More Veil News to come!


  1. Louise, your mom's mantilla lace is gorgeous and it's touching that you can incorporate it into the wedding!
    I still have to buy my comb - where did you get yours? At the Textile Store as well? Do you think I should buy a pattern? I got 36" by 120" and am thinking of an oval.
    I know you already bought the nylon, but love my silk tulle because there is a lot less of the "pouf" factor.

  2. The silk tulle was too drape-y for my dress but GORGEOUS! The English cotton tulle is a large open weave that looked too Victorian, even though it had good drape. I had to go for the nylon! :) I did get my comb at the Textile Store, but it really is just the same as one you could get at Target (I think any fabric store will have clear combs, or even small metal ones. I know Joann's has the small metal in their jewelry/beading aisle). I just exchanged it as I had spent my $ there already.
    The pattern was just a good guide and I'm glad I had it. I only spent like $4 on the pattern, so no biggie.
    Remember, you need to leave the top edge straight across to gather to the comb.I'll do a step by step as soon as I can!