Sunday, July 28, 2013

how to sew beads onto a wedding veil OR handmade wedding part four!

When my sisters and I got married (a long time ago!) our talented mother made our wedding veils. Well actually, she made the bridesmaids dresses for two of the weddings and even one of the wedding gowns...
that's how talented she is!
So when my daughter-in-law was trying on dresses (yes, I was blessed to be invited to tag along with Katie and her mom), I volunteered to make the veil. Katie wanted a long veil, Cathedral length, but simple in design. 

First I purchased a VERY inexpensive veil from a bridal website. It was sort of a 'Craigslist for weddings' website. Turns out it was long and skinny, oh so skinny! It looked like a long tail. Not to mention the color white was practically a purple/blue white. Since it was only $15 there was no harm done there. And I've since used it at a bridal shower just for fun!
In the meantime Katie's mom purchased the correct color white veil from the Bridal Shop where her dress was purchased. 
Even when it comes to tulle...there are a lot of different whites! Keep this in mind if you make your own veil.
Now, all I needed to do was sew thousands of tiny beads along the perimeter of the veil.
Katie picked out the beads and made a pattern about an inch long.
First an 11/0 (that's seed bead size talk) silver lined crystal followed by a tiny pearl. Next up 3mm pearl, then back to the seed pearl, 3mm pearl, seed pearl, 3mm pearl, seed pearl and back to the silver lined crystal.

Maybe a list is better for clarity?

silver lined crystal 11/0 seed bead
tiny round pearl seed bead
3mm pearl
tiny round pearl seed bead
3mm pearl 
tiny round pearl seed bead
3mm pearl 
tiny round pearl seed bead
silver lined crystal 11/0 seed bead

and repeat
again and again and again 
and here is how much I purchased:

silver lined crystal 11/0 seed bead - 4 containers (600)
tiny round pearl seed bead - about 1,950
3mm pearl - about 1,350
I didn't use everything but this gives you an idea of what will cover such a long veil. 
NOTE: I compared the glass 3mm pearl to the Swarovski Crystal 3mm pearl. HUGE difference in price.  I DO love the real thing but, the fact is, you are looking at the veil from afar and it just becomes a tiny row of beads. Only in examining the beads up close could you tell the difference.

When sewing on tulle you can't pull very hard or it will bunch up. There just isn't a lot of actual fabric to tulle!
Notice that my sewing line is about 1/2 inch from the edge.
I tried it closer to the edge at first but it was hard with how fine the tulle is.
I realized that it would be more stable like this and it would actually look as though it is right on the edge anyway.

My tried a few sewing techniques to keep the line of beads as straight as possible and this is what worked for me.

1. I put my needle through 3 beads then I went around the last bead and down through the tulle BEHIND the last bead. 

The thread can be seen on the side of the bead but barely. And I'm telling you, it can't be seen by people who don't sew and are gazing at the beautiful bride in her beautiful veil.

2. Now the needle comes back up through the tulle in front of the last bead, then through three new beads, then finish step 1.

3. After you have strung the third set of three beads on the needle and pushed the needle down through the tulle behind the last bead, 

go to step 4 BELOW.

4. Bring the needle up two beads back from where it went down and make a knot there.

5. After making the knot put the needle back down through the tulle and bring it up again in front of the last bead.

At this point you will repeat the process all over again. Going back every third bead and making a knot every 9th bead will secure your line of beads. It will become routine and you can probably vary it a bit. I may have done 4 beads instead of 3 every now and again!

If you notice your line going crooked or pulling too tight, just unthread the needle and gently use the tip of the needle to pull some stitches out.
Don't be alarmed by how little you may progress in the first hour. When I first started this project I barely went over an inch in an hour. Once I got my rhythm I was sewing 11 inches in an hour!

I spent 31 hours sewing over 3,000 beads onto Katie's veil and I enjoyed every minute of it!
And here's a little secret...
that beautiful photo of Daniel and Katie with the veil drifting in the South Carolina breeze?
happened like this:
oh, and that's my beautiful daughter Holli!

say you love it!


  1. Thank you so much for this! I only have 5 weeks to bead my daughters veil but I'm going to give it my best shot all because of your tutorial! It's a little fuzzy in a few spots but I get the general idea and I'm so very appreciative of your photo's and drawings.

    1. Thank you! I hope you have success with this. Let me know if you have trouble and maybe I can explain something more clearly. Remember to NOT pull the thread too tightly and to push the needle straight down and straight up, not at an angle.
      Also, my blog has moved over to:




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