August 27, 2018

While the Veil Around Her Streameth

"One sacred oath hath tied 
Our loves; one destiny our life shall guide;
Nor wild nor deep our common way divide!
Ushered thus, we haste to enter on a scene of radiant joy—
List’ning vows in ardor plighted, which alone can death destroy.

"Passing fair the bride appeareth, in her robes of snowy white,
While the veil around her streameth, like a silvery halo’s light;
And amid her hair’s rich braidings rests the pearly orange bough,
With its fragrant blossoms pressing on her pure, unclouded brow.

Bridal Fashions Plate, Winter 1847
(Image source: Claremont Colleges Digital Library

"Love’s devotion yields the future with young Hope’s resplendent beam;
And her spirit thrills with rapture, yielding to its blissful dream!"

- "Eras of Life: Marriage" by Mrs. A.F. Law, 
Godey's Lady's Book, January 1851

Last year, on this very day, my two good friends, Allison and Stephen, said their "I do's" in the wedding of the centuries!  Surrounded by family and friends, fashions from the 1840s through the 1940s, the couple share a love unbound by time.  So, on this first of many anniversaries to come, I wish them another year and lifetime of happiness, great success, joy and abundant blessings!

In celebration, with permission from the bride, today's blog post is all about the making of her hand-beaded wedding veil.  I had wanted to present a gift that would let them know how much they mean to me, and hope that this small, yet hand-and-heart-made contribution did just that.

A hand-beaded bridal veil of net and glass pearls.

The Veil Around Her Streameth

News of the engagement spread quickly through our village, and plans for the trousseau began soon after.  For me, this meant the privilege of a second foray into bridal attire - the first being for the matron of honor and our mutual friend, Ariana, several months prior.

Allison was (and is!) a gorgeous bride, with the grace and beauty reminiscent of Franz Xaver Winterhalter's portrait of Queen Victoria in her wedding dress, which was completed in 1847 as an anniversary present for Prince Albert.  In the 1840s style and tradition set by the queen, bridal veils were made from either fine lace or net and worn beneath a wreath of sweet orange blossoms.

Portrait of Queen Victoria in her wedding dress and veil from 1840,
painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1847.
The original painting is owned by the Royal Collection.
(Image in public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

For Allison's veil, we decided on an ivory cotton net with a beaded edge.  She asked for a "moderately full" look that would extend a couple inches past the waist or to around hip length, which I measured to be about 30".  After gathering a length of ivory net, dozens of matching 4mm pearls and a silver wire hair comb, I was ready to begin what would be around a 40 hour project, thinking of Allison and Stephen with each stitch.

While the saying may be that a picture is worth a thousand words, I think that a thousand stitches were worth this picture, which was shared with me on Facebook:

The moment every mother dreams of...
Pinning the veil beneath a crown of orange blossoms.
(Photograph via Facebook)

Construction Details

Having already beaded a veil previously, (see the blog post, here: Something Old, Something New - and Something Green!), I had a better idea of what to expect and improve upon this time.  The first step after taking the measurements was to draft a pattern and cut a rounded, semicircular veil.  Next, the outer edges were finished with a "pencil edge," rolling the hem with a single strand of a vintage, size 20, white floss from France and securing a glass pearl every half inch or so. 

The shape was rounded to fall elegantly around the face edge,
with the longest, center back length around 32"

Detail shot of the hem with pearls spaced every 1/2"

I quickly learned that working with net is very different than the tulle I used the first time.  The larger weave of the net, though less slippery than tulle, makes the edge harder to control and to maintain an even hem.  There were plenty of re-dos, especially when I pulled too tightly or took too big (or too little) of a stitch.  Despite all of the challenges and finicky nature of net, I admit (now) to enjoying the process and, most of all, the end result.

1/16" rolled "pencil edge" on the net.

Close up of the edge of the net.

With the beading done, finishing was pretty straight forward.  The upper, unfinished edge was gathered down and securely whip stitched to the comb until the raw edges were smooth and mostly covered by the thread.

Gathering the unfinished edge to the length of the comb.
The "silver wire hair comb" was 4.25" in length.

Secured to the comb, the next step is to bind the edge with satin ribbon.
Pliers may be necessary to work the needle through all of the layers.

Then, to prevent any snagging on the hairstyle, the edge was bound with a length of cream satin ribbon, secured by tiny whip stitches between each tooth.  If the bride preferred the comb to be visible, any number of embellishments from fabric flowers to crystals and pearls could be added.

The finished edge from the outside!

Finished edge from the inside -
which should always look as neat and tidy as the outside!

Completed Project Shots

Hand-beaded bridal veil of net and glass pearls - front.

View of the full veil - laid flat.

Detail of the back of the veil against cotton muslin -
I wanted the pearls to look as if they were floating!

Same view, laid flat on cotton muslin.

Again, this time on a black background.

And to finish this blog post, a picture of the couple -

Happy Anniversary, Stephen and Allison! 

Looking as if they had just stepped out of an 1840s fashion plate,
the perfectly-period newlyweds ❤
(Photograph by Ruby Roote, via Facebook)


  1. Oh my goodness, this story brought me to tears. I had no idea that you made her veil and of all the love and time that that you so kindly poured into this project for them. You are amazing, sweet girl. Never stop being just who God created you to be. I am honored to have you as a friend.

    1. And I am honored to call you friend as well, Pam. Words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude for your constant support and encouragement of my passions <3


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