DIY Bridal Comb

comments (11) May 9th, 2009     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Here is the stem of silk flowers that I made both veils with.
Heres my finished veil embellished with silk flowers and leaves from a single stem I found in the craft-store bridal aisle for 79 cents!
Look closely—can you tell what I did wrong when I was making this veil? The tulle is attached to the comb backwards!
Here is the stem of silk flowers that I made both veils with.

Here is the stem of silk flowers that I made both veils with.

Photo: Jen Stern
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If you've started the search for the perfect wedding gown, you've probably also suffered sticker shock when it came time it pick out a veil to go with your dream dress! Making your own veil is easy, and it'll save you lots of $$$ to spend on something else. If I may be so bold, it will probably come out better, too. I was shocked to find out that veils can cost more than $300-for a little nylon tulle and a cheap plastic comb! 

Here are some resources for the supplies and a little inspiration so you can design your own veil:

Saveoncrafts: Has an excellent selection of tulle to make your veil.

I loved the different veils at FavorIdeas. They have some great inspiration shots of different styles and a fun six-step "How to Make Your Own Wedding Veil" for you to check out.

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Here is a guideline for the lengths of various style veils:

Blusher (to the shoulders): 18 inches to 24 inches
Waist: 30 inches
Fingertip: 40 inches
*Chapel (dusting the floor): 60 inches to 72 inches
*Cathedral: 108 inches or longer

*Longer-length veils are beautiful as they walk down the aisle, but they might lose some of their glamour at the reception. You may want to consider making it detachable. Simply sew the gathered tulle to the "itchy" side of a piece of Velcro. Put the "soft" side of the Velcro to the underside of the edge of the comb. The Velcro will hold it in place for the ceremony and photos, then you can take it off for the dancing! (You can combine the detachable veil with a shorter waist- or fingertip-length veil sewn to the top of the comb.)

Use 108-inch-wide tulle for fingertip- or longer-length veils (72 inches works great for the shorter styles).

Here's what you'll need:

  • Tulle cut to the length of your veil x 2 if you want two layers
  • A comb
  • 1/8-inch satin ribbon
  • A sharp, large-eye needle
  • White all-purpose sewing thread
  • Silk flowers or other trims and embellishments
  • Hot-glue gun

I found these satin-covered plastic combs at JoAnn Fabrics. The teeth are really wide-so it's not a good choice if you don't want to finish the top of the comb with silk flowers. (After you attach the tulle, you can neatly finish the top edge of the comb by wrapping it with 1/8-inch satin ribbon. If the teeth are too wide, there will be gaps between the ribbon as you wrap it around. A wire comb would be a better choice.)

These wide-tooth combs are only a good choice if you intend to finish them silk flowers.

Using the guide above, cut the tulle to the desired length. Double that amount if you want two layers of tulle. To round the lower corners, fold the tulle in half lengthwise. Use a rotary cutter to trim the corners into a gentle curve.

Round the corners
By folding the tulle lengthwise, you can cut all the corners in one shot.

My favorite way to finish the edges of the veil is to do a quick rolled hem on the serger. If you want a little shine, put a decorative rayon thread in the upper looper (this is the thread that wraps the edge when you are stitching a three-thread rolled hem). Practice on a scrap of tulle before you start the edges of your veil. If the serger is "eating" the edge, use 1-inch strips of washaway stabilizer to give the machine something to bite into.

Finish edges with a rolled hem on the serger
Use your serger to finish the edges with a rolled hem.

Start and stop stitching the rolled hem at the top edge (or where you are folding it in half to create two layers). I love a rolled hem finish because it doesn't add any weight or stiffness to the edges.

finished edges
If you're going to have two layers, you can fold the tulle in half so that the bottom corners are even, or stagger them so that the top layer is a few inches shorter as shown here.

Sew a row or two of gathering stitches using your sewing machine. Set the straight-stitch length to 4 mm, and loosen the tension a little. Gather the edge up until it's equal to the width of the comb.

Gather the top to match the width of the comb
Gather the tulle's edge so that it equals the comb's width.

Position the gathered edge of the tulle along the top edge of the comb. This is where I made a tragic error when I was working on the first veil. I sewed the tulle to the underside of the comb. And, to make it even worse, I lined up the gathered edge of the tulle with the base of the teeth with the veil going off in the wrong direction. (Don't do it!)

Sew the tulle to the comb. Hold the comb so you can see the underside. Whipstitch the tulle to the top edge by coming up between the teeth.

Attach tulle to the comb
The top of the comb should be covered by the tulle as you sew it on.

After you work your way across, knot the end and trim the thread. Use a large pair of scissors to trim away some of the gathered tulle along the edge of the comb to get rid of the bulk.

trim tulle without cutting stitches
Be careful not to cut the stitches that hold the gathered tulled to the comb.

Thread a larger needle with 1/8-inch-wide satin ribbon and whipstitch over the thread. If you want to use the ribbon to finish the top edge of the comb, work your way across the comb stitching at a slight angle. When you get to the end, double back across the comb stitching in the opposite direction to completely cover the tulle. Remember, if the teeth are too wide, there will be gaps between the ribbon.

cover ends of tulle with ribbon
Use a large needle threaded with ribbon to whipstitch over the thread.


back view
Here's how the underside of the comb looks after I finished sewing across with the ribbon.

I decided to use a silk flower to decorate the top of the comb. I like using a hot-glue gun for this because I don't have to hold the blooms in place until the glue dries. Just be careful and use small amounts of glue at a time.

use a glue gun to add silk flowers
For this design, I used a larger rose in the middle and added silk leaves to each side, covering the top of the comb.


back view again
Here's the back view. At this point, you could be done, or add some hot fix crystals for a little sparkle!

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posted in: diy wedding, bridal comb, bridal veil

Comments (11)

fabeaux writes: This is a great tutorial--thank you. However my question is, after years of making dance costumes that included many kinds of hair pieces--why doesn't anyone use a barrette for the attaching part of the veil? I am about to make a veil for a bride and I was going to use a barrette but now I am concerned that there is a specific reason for the comb? Thanks!
Posted: 11:05 pm on May 20th
Bec87 writes: Great tutorial! I have a question though, I want to wear a blingy diamanté comb and slide that in with my veil so it sits just above it. How can I hid the veil comb without getting a really 'fluffy' veil look?
Posted: 5:28 am on July 4th
hilaryscraftydesigns writes: I loved your tutorial ! I used it to make a simple veil for my friends bach. party and i ended up adding to it and embroidering her new name on it ! I put a link to your tutorial on my site :)

thanks again !

Posted: 10:05 am on September 27th
jamcglone writes: Best tutorial I have seen. Great work.

Posted: 9:48 pm on July 23rd
Lady3kgt writes: I researched tons of tutorials & videos, yours blew the rest out of the water. Thank you for the very explicit instructions & the near-macro photos of each step. Although I didn't do it, the whipstitched ribbon is certainly a nice & professional looking touch. One thing I did do, I folded the top edge of the tulle down a 1/4" or so before sewing my gathering stitch, giving me a very clean edged gather. I just have to hot glue the floral decoration on & it'll be a wrap. My niece is going to be thrilled w/ her veil!
Thank you again!
Posted: 2:19 am on May 13th
futuremrs writes: but i don't if i want a tiera or a different type of head pice !!
Posted: 3:02 am on August 21st
futuremrs writes: I am going to use my mom's veil muins head pice and 2 of the 3 shorter lenght veil ! well my mom has a veil with a knee or little longer with lace around it with 3 elbow lenght/ blush veil with a head pice and i want to use the longer lenght and one of the 3 shorter lenght veil and i don't want to take some where's to have it fix the way i want it ! what should i do ?! iam not engaged yet !!
Posted: 2:37 am on August 21st
rainwolfe writes: Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm getting married on Saturday, and I'm still working on the cutting & getting the length right, so I definitely needed to know how to pull it all together... QUICK!

Posted: 1:38 pm on June 15th
Boomer43 writes: Great Instructions, I just made my granddaughter's veil for her First Communion. Thanks for the comb instructions (what NOT to do was very much appreciated !)
Posted: 3:08 pm on March 13th
PABerard writes: Jennifer thank you so much for this tut, it is so easy to follow. quick question... my DD would like a 3/8" ribbon on the border. What is the easiest way to achieve this? Thanks, Pat
Posted: 9:03 pm on June 21st
SewJoe writes: Great tutorial Jennifer, it's about time someone enlightened brides about the industry gouging for a few dollars worth of supplies. You're right about the $300, many brides came to me for help after this sticker shock. As a former bridal dressmaker, I saw far too many bridal shops overcharging for veils, alterations and other one-time-needs. One bride tearfully told me that AFTER her bridesmaid's dresses arrived, the shop told each of them the price was $20 higher because it was a 'special color'.

So to enjoy your beautiful wedding veil--here's a quick tip to make it stay on your pretty head for the entire evening. After your hair is done, take a small hank of hair where you will place your veil and make a pin-curl (remember how to do those?), and criss-cross two bobbie pins. No scoffing ladies, it won't show! Now, gently wriggle the comb under the pin curl and fluff your veil. It just ain't goin nowhere, it'll get you through your receiving line, wild and crazy dippin' and dancing, even the revered 'chicken dance' can't shake this one. Have fun!

Posted: 12:29 pm on May 17th
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