This is a thwarted DIY project with a happy ending. :) Starting in late July, I went looking for an all-lace waltz-length mantilla veil. Aside from the shoulder-length Catholic mass veils or traditional Spanish mantillas (usually black), they’re impossible to find.
That’s probably because a piece of lace this big would clash horribly with most modern wedding dresses, but in the late 19th century it was actually pretty common to have a simple dress and elaborate veil. Belgian lace heirloom veils occasionally come up for auction, but they’re incredibly expensive and delicate. This was one of my favorites:
Most of them are hand-embroidered. The one above is a Russian family’s coat of arms.
So I tried to DIY one, by finding patterned lace myself. I considered buying a heavy Venice lace, pictured below, and cutting along the motif. It turns out that it sits poorly on the head, and is incredibly heavy. Failure.
I realized sewing would be required - I’m not that great at sewing - and tried to sign up for private lessons with a local SF seamstress, where the project would be the veil. How hard could it be? A circle of lace edged with other lace! Unfortunately, my teacher didn’t quite get what I was going for, so sewing lessons were a bust.
The site that always comes through: Etsy! I looked around for weeks until I found a black lace veil similar to what I wanted, then contacted the seller, Honeycomb Veils. She is amazing. She understood “the vision” right away, told me what would work and what wouldn’t, and started sending me snippets of laces in different colors. We decided to go with a thin ivory lace that would fall lightly on the head, and I found a warm silver edge lace at Britex Fabrics of San Francisco. (It was vintage deadstock from an Italian factory!)
Today I got the photos of the finished product, and I’m so thrilled with how it looks. It’s not really like the embroidered Belgian lace veils, but it has a style all its own and it’s my absolute favorite part of what I’ll be wearing during our ceremony.