Figuring out how to make a cathedral veil on your own can be confusing. Here are written instructions and a video showing you how to make this long bridal veil with lace trim. It’s two tiers on a comb with a detachable layer.
Read on for complete written instructions, followed by the video tutorial at the end of this post.
- This is a No-Sewing-Machine Veil Tutorial
- Deciding Your Veil Length
- How Much Lace Trim You Need for a Veil
- How to Make a Cathedral Veil – Lace Trim, Two Tiers, and a Detachable Long Layer
- Video Tutorial – How to Make a Cathedral Veil
- More Wedding Veil Tutorials
This is a No-Sewing-Machine Veil Tutorial
There are ways to use a sewing machine to help make this veil. Because many are not adept at sewing (including me), I decided to avoid any resulting difficulties. So I left my machine in the box and stuck with needle and thread. If you would like to use yours, the two techniques you can try are:
- The Gathers: Sew a double line of long stitches near the tulle’s edge. Then pull on the bobbin thread to gather the material.
- The Lace Trim: Use lightweight or invisible thread to sew through the lace and tulle. From what I gather, the invisible thread can be tricky, but not impossible, on the machine.
Deciding Your Veil Length
You will likely want to make your veil tiers different lengths than mine. I came up with my numbers based on the typical cathedral and elbow lengths. 120″ for the cathedral length and 25″ for the elbow length.
You can decide by studying standard wedding veil lengths. Then adjust those lengths to your height, dress style, and preferences.
Deciding the lengths for your veil works better with someone’s help, but you can also do it by yourself with a full-length mirror. Use a measuring tape and hold it to your head where you’d like the veil to attach. Then adjust the tape, so it ends where you want the veil to fall.
Do this for each tier and add the numbers together. The total is the length to cut your tulle.
How Much Lace Trim You Need for a Veil
The amount of lace you need to edge a veil depends on your answer to a few questions.
- How many inches wide is your veil material?
- How many inches long is the tier you are edging?
- Will you trim your blusher or short layer on a 2-tier veil?
- What percent of the edge will you cover? 100%? Or less?
The math geek way is to approximate it with the formula. The formula isn’t exact because the curved edge of an oval can vary. But it gives you an approximate number, so you know how much to buy. For entertainment value, here it is:
a=half of the veil length, b=half of the material width
If you are like almost everyone ever, your eyes just crossed, and maybe you now have a headache. The more natural way is to approximate using my DIY Veil Trim Length Calculator here. Type figures into the three boxes. You will need:
(1) the width of your tulle in inches,
(2) The length of the veil in inches, and
(3) the percent of the edge you are finishing.
Let’s use my veil as an example. The cathedral-length tier is 120 inches long and 108 inches wide. And I attached trim 50 inches up each side and around the bottom.
Doing the math, 50″/120″ is about 40% of the total edge perimeter. The calculator tells me I needed 3.98 yards of trim. Measuring, I see I used 4.05 yards. So, 4 yards looking at it either way.
My recommendation is always to buy a couple more yards of trim than you need. Or even a little more than double if you have the budget. This way, you will have extra for practice, mistakes, and changes of mind.
Note: As with many My Online Wedding Help links, the links in this post go to the site’s shop section or to a merchant website. That said, THE CHOICES HERE ARE MY OWN. No one paid or asked to be listed here. My Online Wedding Help will receive a small commission from the merchant at no added cost to you if you click and buy your supplies or a finished product.
Lace trim purchasing tip: There are many beautiful bridal trims you can use to make a stunning cathedral veil. But the long tier length is 10 feet. Which means you are looking at around 10 yards of trim to go around the entire edge.
If the cost is out of your budget and you are not particular about the lace details, you can do what I did for this tutorial. I bought an inexpensive oval veil and cut the trim off. The trim I used is from the mantilla-like cathedral veil here.
How to Make a Cathedral Veil – Lace Trim, Two Tiers, and a Detachable Long Layer
Cathedral veils are so gorgeous for the ceremony and in photos after. But once you get to the reception, that trailing beauty can become quite a drag. All of the extra material is in the way.
If you want to “have your veil and wear it, too,” the solution is a two-tier veil with a detachable cathedral layer. And the short tier can double as a blusher if you’d like.
This veil is a 120″ cathedral length with a shorter 25″ elbow layer. And I’ve made it very full with 108″ wide tulle. But you can make it longer, shorter, or narrower. You should adjust this tutorial to your unique preferences.
What You Need
Here is what you will need to create the veil I made in the video.
- 108″ wide tulle fabric, folded widthwise to 54.” I used 4 yards, plus an inch (145″, the length of the two tiers added together). You may need more or less, depending on your preference.
- Invisible or white thread
- Lace trim the length of the tulle edge you wish to cover
- Sew-on Soft and Flexible Velcro to make the long cathedral tier detachable
- Gridded graph fabric to make the veil pattern
- Bridal comb (I use this 4.25″ metal veil comb in the tutorial)
- Tape measure
- Pins or weights to hold the pattern to the veil
- Pins or clips to hold lace trim while sewing
The 5 Steps to DIY this Cathedral Veil
As with my short wedding veil with comb tutorial, this DIY also has five steps. Written instructions for each step are below. You can also watch the full video tutorial at the end of this post:
- DIY the veil pattern – at 5:12 in the video
- Cut each tier – detach the 2 layers – at 8:12 in the video
- Gather each of the 2 tiers of the veil – at 10:18 in the video
- Prepare and attach comb to the 2 veil tiers – at 14:41 in the video
- Attach lace trim to veil – at 22:10 in the video
Step 1: DIY the veil pattern
In preparation for creating your veil, there are a couple of things you need to do besides assembling your supplies and materials. These are (a) deciding the veil curve and (b) creating a template or DIY wedding veil pattern.
(a) Choosing the veil curve.
I physically laid the fabric out full width, and attached one end up about head-height. Then I used my lace to get the full effect and make a decision.
I used clothespins to mark how far up the curve ended. You could also use clips or safety pins. Whatever you use, make sure to leave the marker in place for step 2, when you cut the material.
(b) Making the veil pattern.
Now that you know how curved you want the ends to be, it is time to make the pattern. A pattern is optional if you are a crafty person or good at making smooth cuts.
You may choose to proceed to step 2 right now and cut your tulle without a pattern. That is totally okay! It depends on your comfort level.
But I am like some of you. I don’t trust myself. Lovely, even freehand curves are a mystery to me.
My pattern mimics the trailing end of the cathedral tier folded in half, widthwise. In preparation for moving to a table to cut the pattern, I measured in two places:
- The diagonal from the top of my lace to the tulle mid-point. 66″ for me.
- How far out I wanted my lace to curve. 16″ for me.
Next, cut a length of grid fabric equal to your (a) measurement. Fold it in half lengthwise.
For simplicity, cut the grid fabric into a rectangle the height of your (b) measurement.
You can now use the grids to draw a smooth curve from the bottom left to the top right corner of the fabric. Or lay the lace out first as a redundant guide. Like I did.
In an act of extreme caution, I even pinned the fabric together to make sure it didn’t slip while cutting — your choice.
In any case, make sure the bottom edge of the curve is flat at the fabric fold. Otherwise, you will end up with a heart-shaped bump instead of a clean, smooth line at the center of your unfolded curve.
Next, cut the pattern fabric along the drawn mark.
Your pattern is complete!
Step 2: Cut each tier – detach the 2 layers
Up until now, your tulle material has been one long piece. It is time to make some curves and cut apart the two veil tiers.
Cut the end contours into the cathedral tier
Fold your tulle in half widthwise. At this point, my 108″ tulle was 54″ across.
Using pins or weights, place the pattern on the tulle.
- Secure one end on the open fold of the tulle, attaching at the marker from step 1.
- Position the other end of the pattern at the bottom, folded edge. As when making the pattern, the bottom should be flat at this corner, merging with the end of the tulle in a straight line. To prevent a bump in the cut when you unfold the tulle.
Cut along the pattern to form an arc in the tulle fabric.
Remove the pattern and see your cathedral tier now has a shape! You can see Shadow checking mine out in the photo at the beginning of this step.
Detach and form the short layer
Because the long tier will detach from the comb of this veil, I made each layer separately, which requires cutting your length of tulle into two parts.
Optional Modification: You can also make this veil without a removable layer. If so, then skip down a few sentences, to placing the pattern on the short tier.
Working at the opposite end of the tulle from where you just cut, measure the length of your short tier. Mine was 25″.
Cut across to create two pieces of tulle. One of the parts will be the length of your cathedral layer (120″, 10 feet, for me). The other will become the short tier (25″ for me).
Your short-tier piece of tulle will likely be more wide than long. With mine still folded, it was 54″ (half of 108″) by 25″ long.
Working with the short piece of tulle, use the pattern as a guide to cut a curve into one end. As with the cathedral tier, be sure the arc is flat as it approaches the fold.
Remove the pattern, and you are done shaping the short tier.
Step 3: Gather each of the 2 tiers of the veil
It is time to gather the veil, which means creating poufs and some fullness around where the material attaches to the comb.
Because this veil has a removable tier, you need to gather both pieces of tulle. If yours will be non-detachable, follow the instructions in step four of the How to Make a Wedding Veil with a Comb tutorial.
Orient one piece of tulle, so you have the top corner in front of you. The edge where you cut the curve should be at the bottom end.
With a needle and knotted thread, secure at the corner. Loop the thread through the netting a couple of times, so it does not come loose when you tug.
Going across the width of the material, move the needle in and out of the netting. Like you are weaving. But you can take large stitches.
Periodically pull the thread through and scrunch the already-woven tulle to the knotted end of the thread.
When you reach the far side, adjust the gathers to the width of your veil comb.
Hold the thread at that length. Then tie it off there, securing it to the tulle edge.
You have now gathered one tier. Repeat with the second layer.
Step 4: Prepare and attach comb to the 2 veil tiers
You’re getting there! The tulle is beginning to look like pieces of a veil. It’s now time to connect those pieces to the veil comb.
Because the cathedral tier is removable and the short layer is not, each will attach in a different way.
Your long tier will attach to the comb with Velcro. And you will sew the short layer directly to the comb.
Optional Modification: If you prefer a detachable short tier or blusher, do the opposite. Put Velcro on the short piece of tulle. And attach the long piece to the comb.
Attach Velcro to the comb and detachable tier of the veil
You will sew one side of the Velcro to the comb. And the other to the removable veil tier.
Sew Velcro to the Comb
Cut a length of Velcro equal to the width of the comb.
Separate the Velcro and set aside the soft, velvety section.
Place the looped section against the front of the comb at the base of the teeth. The smooth side of the Velcro should be against the comb.
Sew it to the comb by looping thread over the top, then through each tooth and the Velcro.
Finish and tie off the thread.
Sew Velcro to the Detachable Cathedral Layer
Place the soft, velvety section of the Velcro to the gathered end of your cathedral length layer. The non-velvety side should be facing out, with the opposite surface touching tulle. So if you were to stick the two pieces of Velcro together, the tulle would be between them.
Sew the gathered tulle across the bottom of the soft Velcro strip.
You made a detachable veil! Try it by pressing your cathedral layer against the Velcro on the comb and then pulling it apart.
Sew the gathered edge to your veil comb
The curve of the comb will hug your head. With the gathers secure between the comb and your head.
Orienting the messy edge of the gathers down toward the teeth, sew one end to a top corner of the comb.
Attach the tulle to the comb by sewing across. With each stitch, move around the top of the comb. Then push the needle through the tulle and between the teeth.
Space the gathers, so they lay evenly across the top of the comb.
When you reach the end of the gathers and the opposite corner of the comb, tie off your thread.
You will see in the video that I secured both ends of the gathers to the comb first, then sewed between them. That was easier for me. You can do it either way.
Orienting the messy edge of the gathers down, sew one end to a top corner of the comb.
Attach the tulle to the comb by sewing across. With each stitch, push the needle between the teeth and through both the Velcro and tulle.
Space the gathers, so they lay evenly across the top of the comb.
When you reach the end of the gathers and the opposite corner of the comb, tie off your thread.
You are through attaching the single tier to the comb.
Step 5: Attach lace trim to the veil
You now have a fully functional veil with raw, cut edges. If you have a fancy wedding gown and do not want to detract from that, you could stop here. Otherwise, let’s sew on some lace!
Embroidered bridal lace has the advantage of being made with thread, which means that you can use regular thread to sew it onto your veil. From afar, it won’t be visible.
But, close up, it is a bit obvious that your thread is not part of the pattern. To avoid this, I used invisible thread to sew mine on. Either way is perfectly okay.
Before attaching the lace, make sure it is oriented correctly.
- Turn the bridal lace, so the embroidered part is facing down. Knots and netting it is sewn to (if any) on top.
- Assure the cathedral veil is laying backside up. That is, so the velvety side of the Velcro shows.
- Now slide the trim under the edge of the tulle.
You will sew with the materials in the above position. When you turn the whole thing over, the beautiful part of the lace will be on top, covering the veil’s edge.
When sewing, I aligned the veil’s edge with a center mark in the trim’s design.
If you are only trimming part of the way around the veil, find the place where the veil’s curve begins. You will start sewing the lace there.
Make large, loose stitches as you run the needle through the tulle and catch the embroidered back of the lace. Do not push the needle through the trim. Do not overly tighten the thread.
Continue around the veil until you reach the place where the veil’s arc ends. Tie off the thread underneath.
Congratulations! You finished your veil.
To make your veil wedding-day ready, steam out any wrinkles. Do this with a hand steamer. Or hang the veil in a steamy bathroom and shake out wrinkles. If your tulle is polyester or nylon (most common), you can also use an iron on the appropriate setting.
Video Tutorial – How to Make a Cathedral Veil
The video timestamps for each step of the tutorial are:
5:12 – Step 1: DIY veil pattern
8:12 – Step 2: Cut each tier – detach the 2 layers
10:18 – Step 3: Gather each of the 2 tiers of the veil
14:41 – Step 4: Prepare and attach comb to the 2 veil tiers
22:10 – Step 5: Attach lace trim to veil
More Wedding Veil Tutorials
Read on for more how-tos and information about making your own bridal veil.