I was able to exactly match the color of the veil and the see-through mesh that covers
my eyes by using the "dyed to match" fabric selection that is offered at JoAnne Fabric.
It's in the area where they sell fabric for prom dresses and things like that. The
downside is that they don't have a stretch fabric in that area... and every problem
I had in the making of my veil came from having to use the stiff, poorly draping
fabric that I chose. I desperately want to make a new veil with a softer, more flowing
I started out by determining the shape and size of the part that covers my eyes.
I figured that would be the key piece, and everything else should be designed to
work around that. So, I used a piece of paper to sketch out the design and took
pictures until I had it refined to what I thought looked right.
I settled on a thickness of 1.5 inches, though I will most likely drop that down
to 1.25 inches on my next attempt. Once I had the curve of the veil worked out,
my next job was to sketch the design. This is one piece of Visasí outfit that has
a very definite pattern, so I did my best to replicate it on the paper. I creased
the paper in half and drew the pattern on one side, and then folded the paper over
and traced a mirror image of the pattern onto the other side, so it matches well.
The design was inked with Sharpie so that it was easy to see through layers of fabric,
and then I prepared that piece of my veil. The mesh fabric was too thin to hide
my eyes even when doubled, so I used a piece of black iron-on interfacing behind
them. The glue of the interfacing held all three layers together and provided a
dark backing that I could see through, but nobody else could see in. I set the fabric
over my design sketch and taped it to the paper, and then set to work painting on
the design with the same Lumiere paint that I used on my sleeves. It took three
coats because the first coat really soaked into the mesh fabric, but in the end it
looked really good. The paint also helped to hold the three layers of fabric together.
I carefully cut the bottom edge of the fabric off, right at the edge of the paint
line, and then I sewed it onto the piece of red fabric that would be covering my
I had been struggling at the same time with the pattern for the rest of the veil,
but I wasnít having much luck. Itís difficult to figure out sizes and angles when
something is draped on your own head. Finally I had a ďduhĒ moment and got out a
self-portrait Iíd sculpted in clay while I was in college. It worked well as a stunt-double
while I figured out the pattern for the back of the veil.
It didnít take us very long to start joking that Mother Mary was looking over the
project for me.
This is the shape I settled on for the back of the veil:
Of course, once I transferred the muslin pattern to the stiff red fabric, it stuck
out like big floppy wings on the sides of my head. It took three darts, two pieces
of pipe cleaner wire, some naughty words, and lots of seam ripping before I finally
got it to conform to the shape that I needed. Iím not sure I truly won that battle,
though... I think we might have to call it a draw.
I finished the veil by painting the same design around the bottom edge, and I installed
a stretch fabric ďcapĒ inside. Itís shaped like a baseball cap minus the bill, and
is sewn to the forehead seam of the veil. It keeps the veil from sliding around
when I turn my head, and holds the veil tight against my face. That piece was made
entirely by trial and error... I just played with it until I got it right.
To weigh the veil down and keep it from flopping about when I walk or when the wind
blows, I hid a length of weighted cord inside the bottom seam. The cord is made for
weighing down curtains, and can be found in the curtain supply area of many fabric/crafts
shops. It has small pieces of lead attached inside the cord, which can be cut to
whatever length you need.
I can see through the veil fairly well, though it is a bit more difficult in dark
rooms, and itís very difficult to read anything. When I was working on the veil,
it was hard for me to see how the seams looked even when I was leaning close to a
mirror. Everything appears to blur together just enough to take away the details.
When I wore my Visas in a parade recently, I could see the floats and dancers who
were a block away from me, but I couldn't read the big signs that they were carrying.