If you feel drawn to wearing a mantilla for Mass, there are some online stores that offer great mantillas. I love the veils there but sometimes it can be expensive to buy one. A while ago, I found out that it’s not too difficult to make a mantilla, if you are feeling adventurous – and it only takes a bit of sewing practice 🙂
Where to get lace
I went to my local fabric store and found some lace there. Try to look for the flowy soft lace rather than the more stiff type that is used for curtains. Though much of this lace can be so expensive that it’s honestly cheaper to just buy a veil, – sometimes you can find some lace on sale for very cheap. I’ve found lace for as little as 5 to 12 dollars per meter. If you are making a smaller mantilla, you can buy around a meter just to be safe, but if you would like a really large one, I would recommend getting a meter and a half to two meters.
The lace that I found works the best is floral lace. There seem to be two methods to make the mantilla: cutting out the flowers, or adding trim to the edges. The advantage of cutting out the flower shapes is that you don’t need to buy trim – but not all lace works for this. I’ve found that designs with medium to large roses work the best for cutting out the flowers, and everything else is safer with a trim. Some lace also has a nice texture, while other types are very light and airy – it all depends on what type of mantilla you want. The great thing about this is that your mantilla would be completely custom made!
The colours I found range from white, cream, black, blue, beige, and grey.
How to make the mantilla
First, decide on the length and style. Mantillas come in several types of shapes: triangular, semi-circular, or rectangular. Triangular is the easiest to make.
How I did it is I just draped the fabric over my head and measured how long I’d like the veil to be. Then, I laid out the fabric on a flat surface and planned out the triangle that I would be cutting out. If you are adding trim, this part is not too difficult: add an extra centimeter, get some good scissors, and cut out the shape. If you are cutting out the flowers, you would need to actually follow the design to make sure that it would make a triangular shape once cut out. This doesn’t always work and I wasted some nice blue lace this way because I didn’t plan well enough. 🙂 Then, you can cut around the flowers to make it easier, and then use tiny sharp scissors to carefully cut out the flower shapes.
Whether you are making a triangular or semi-circular D-shaped veil, it helps to fold the fabric in half when cutting it, so that it’s perfectly symmetrical. You can also use pins to pin it together so that it’s easier to cut.
Once you’ve cut out the veil, if you are adding trim, you can do it by hand or use a sewing machine. I would recommend a sewing machine, but first attaching the trim by hand so that it stays in place as you sew on the machine. If you are adding the trim by hand, use very little stitches on the very edge of the trim to make it less noticeable. I used a type of stitch called the overcast stitch.
Here are some pictures of veils that I’ve made for myself. I just realized that the first one I put on backwards for the picture! The last one is a beige veil with cut-out roses. It has a nice textured lace that stays easily on the head.
Happy sewing 🙂