Fascinators Are The New Veil
You can blame Kate Middleton if you want. Blame her for actually succeeding in achieving many little girls' dream... growing up, falling in love, and getting married to her handsome prince. Blame her for having fabulous clothes and a depressingly thin body to put in them. Blame her for growing up a commoner and becoming a Duchess and a Countess simply by marrying the right guy. But mostly, blame her for the fact that every bride who has any sense of fashion is dying to be married in a stylish fascinator, preferably with bird cage veil attached. Now we all know Kate didn't wear a fascinator on her wedding day. She chose a very traditional hand-embroidered tulle veil to go over her amazing "something borrowed," a gorgeous 1936 Cartier tiara loaned to her by none other than Queen Elizabeth herself. However, just like Queen Victoria when she set the trend by wearing a white wedding gown, all it took was for Kate to be seen in a fascinator a few times publicly and this minimalist piece of fluff and stuff became a fashion hit, desired by women all over the world.
How Much Do Fascinators Cost?
Just a look on-line when Googling "fascinator" or searching through Etsy for these little bits of flowers, feathers, and bling, you realize how opportunistic and truly mercenary people are when it comes to taking advantage of a trend. Custom-made fascinators can be found on the Internet in excess of $300, depending on the materials used and their rarity. However, if you're a bride on a budget, spending that kind of money on a little thing no bigger than a baseball to wear on your hair for a few hours seems a little much. Even if it is your wedding....even if all eyes will be on you...even if you will be needing to look your very loveliest... OK! OK! Before you succumb to the latest craze and pay an arm and a leg for a lovely little fascinator with a charming bird cage veil attached, be aware: You can make this yourself. Yes, I said it...and for far less than you will find on-line and the best part is, it can be completely up to you as far as choice and cost of materials and design.
Here's the break-out for my fascinator and bird cage veil:
Russian netting, cost plus shipping and handling - $5.00 on E-bay
Dahlia Pin- $4.99, Hobby Lobby
Maribou Pin- $1.99, also Hobby Lobby
Daisy Rhinestone Pin- $2.99, Hobby Lobby
Hair Comb- $2.99, Sally Beauty Supply
Total: About $18.00, I could have done it for less if I had been patient and spread my purchases over days using the 40% off Hobby Lobby coupons! Impatience...?? I got it!
Designing Your Fascinator
Before you begin designing your fascinator, look at many, many pictures of them in magazines and on-line. There are alot of different designs, although for your wedding, you most likely want to keep the design a little on the simple side to not distract from your dress. So no flock of butterflies soaring above your head a la Princess Beatrice or anything so large your groom won't be able to stand next to you! Keep in mind the style and fabric of your dress when you are making your fascinator. An easy way to make a beautiful fascinator is to start out with a simple flower like a peony. Silk peonies can be medium sized or large and have a nice fluffy shape that will show up well, yet not appear gaudy. You can find them sometimes with a hairpin already attached which would be fabulous, because then you could actually skip a few steps. However, if your peony is a silk one with no hairpin, remove the stem and trim the plastic part that the stem was sticking into as close to the flower base as possible. You need to cut two pieces of felt into identically sized ovals about 3 inches long and glue them together with a fabric glue, so they will still remain pliable. This will be the base on which you will build your fascinator. Remember, you can skip this step if your flower already has a hair clip attached. If your flower has a regular pin attached to the back, remove the pin.
The Clip On The Back Of the Fascinator
Assembling Your Fascinator
If you plan on adding other embellishments to your flower, do it before you attach it to the felt base. You may want to choose a beautiful antique pin to add a little sparkle to your fascinator. If you do, you will need to remove whatever your flower has in the center, unless it lies very, very flat or your pin won't lay properly. Take some pliers and twist off the pin back and using a good jewelry glue like E-6000, glue the pin to the middle of the flower. Let it dry before handling the flower again. You'll need to anyway, because E-6000 has a very strong smell. When you use it, be sure you're in an open space where you can open a door or a window if you need to do so. Don't worry, the smell fades after it dries! Now you have your flower with a beautiful antique pin as its center. Turn the flower over and if you plan on attaching feathers, or maybe some other type of beaded wiring, do it now. Use the same E-6000 glue to attach whatever you want to add. I chose a piece of maribou as an embellishment for my bride's fascinator. It came on a pin and I simply removed the pin back and cut the piece of maribou in half. I then had enough for my fascinator and a matching piece to use to embellish her garter!
The Rhinestone Pin...The Bride's Favorite...A Daisy!
Making The Bird Cage Veil
After you have glued the feathers or other embellishments to the back of your flower, the fascinator part of your project is close to done. If your flower does not have a hair clip attached, glue the flower to the felt base you made and let it dry. Once dry, flip it over and sew your hair clip to the felt base. Take your time with this step, looping the thread over the clip several times, so it will be sturdy. Now the fascinator part is done! You can wear it separately at your reception without the bird cage veil since we are making the veil as a separate piece.
Your next step is to buy some French or Russian netting. French netting is a bit softer than Russian netting; Russian netting will keep that "cage" effect a little better, because of its stiffness. After exhausting four local stores in the search for Russian netting, I finally bought my netting on E-bay, with shipping...about $5.00. Netting comes in several widths. It can be purchased in 9" widths,12" , or 18" widths depending on where you want your veil to hit across your face. If you want it chin length, use the 12". For a veil that cuts across half the face, use a 9". Netting has two finished edges just like regular fabric and two raw edges. Once you make your cut, make sure you have the finished edge coming across the face. Most people cut a length of netting anywhere from 18" to 24", depending on how poufy and full they want the veil.
Sewing The Veil
For the purposes of this article, the Russian netting used is 9" long by 24" wide. Lay the netting out long ways on the table in front of you. You will have the finished edges at top and bottom and the unfinished edges at either side. Go down from the top of the left side and about 6" down cut a dog ear triangle off of your rectangle's corner. Fold your fabric in half and repeat on the other side. You will now have a rectangle with triangles cut off of the top two edges. Do NOT skip this step, because this is what makes the rounded bird cage effect of your your veil.
You will need a needle with a fine point, but a large eye, because the thread you will need to use is a thicker thread for quilting, so when you go to gather it, it will not break. The good news is you don't need to double it like you would with general hand sewing. You will only need to thread it through the needle and leave a tail hanging as you do in embrodiery. Be sure and cut a long enough piece of thread to go all the way around the edge of the netting, except the bottom edge. Knot one end of your thread and start in the bottom left corner of your netting. Sewing like you would with hand sewing, go up through the little boxes that are in each corner of the triangles of your netting. Go up through the very middle of the box, so that if any breakage of those fine little threads occurs within the box, your thread will still be encased within the center of the box. Skip to every other box as you sew. You don't need to do every box or your veil will too hard to gather. Keep close to the edge of your netting as you sew, but not so close you are trying to sew through one of the boxes that you cut through when you were making your triangles.
Cutting Off The Corners
Close-up Of Left Cut Off Corner
Finishing Off The Bird Cage Veil
Work your way up the left side, diagonally across the angle you cut, across the finished upper edge, down across the angle you cut on the right side, and down the right side to the lower right hand corner. Pull the needle off of your thread and leave a long tail of thread hanging down. Grab your knot you made in the lower left hand corner and the thread you left on the right lower hand corner and very carefully pull. You'll immediately see the shape of the pouf start to form. Very exciting! Keep pulling and adjusting the gather until your pouf is the size you want it to be. You can actually try it on holding the ends of the threads and adjust to the way you want it to look. Once you have it looking the way you want it, tie the two ends together tightly.
Sewing The Edges To Make the "POUF!"
Adding The Comb To Your Veil
You will need a small comb with fine teeth for the last step of making your bird cage veil. You can find them at any beauty supply store or sometimes at stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Place the comb up on the inside of your veil where you have tied off the gathers. You will want to place the comb so the curved side is against your head. After you place the comb where you want it, knot your thread again and start sewing the comb to the veil, wrapping the thread around and around the base of the comb as you sew and being careful not to get the thread hung up in the teeth of the comb. When you come to the end of the comb, knot the thread off a couple of times to secure it and cut off the excess thread.
You now have your finished bird cage veil! You can wear it alone, you can wear it with the beautiful fascinator you created...just clip the fascinator over the comb section of the veil, or you can wear the fascinator alone. This makes it extremely versatile and easy to wear for your wedding, since you can wear the veil and fascinator during the wedding and take the veil off during the reception. And the great part is, you did it yourself and didn't pay an arm and a leg to a bridal shop or to a milliner to do it for you!
Carol on January 23, 2020:
I wish I'd seen this last week. I made my wedding fascinator because I'm wearing a deep emerald green and couldn't find anything in the shops or on line in the right colour. The biggest problem for me was the netting but you made it look easy once you had cut off the corners. Never mind, I got through it and it doesn't look too bad even if I say so myself!!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 08, 2018:
Now that's really gorgeous. I made a miniature one for my vintage doll, since I don't have a wedding to plan.
rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on May 03, 2013:
So clever! Great article........thanks for sharing.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on May 03, 2013:
Thanks, PNJ, glad to see someone is forward thinking enough to not pigeon hole fascinators into just for weddings. Depending on how they're done, I think they could be for formal or casual occasions.
Saket Bansal from Gurgaon on May 03, 2013:
Thanks, Mpoche! Its like a very useful step by step guide every one can easily understand your thought...
Mary from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on May 02, 2013:
This is so pretty, I would so wear this to church or a dinner party. Great, crafty hub, voted up, more and shared.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on April 30, 2013:
Thanks, Mpoche! It's much easier than I thought to make one and the best part is one you get the basics down, you can create all sorts of variations.
Michal from Miami, Florida on April 30, 2013:
Great step by step guide! I actually bought one and wore one for my wedding, but I wish I had seen this years back!! Voted up!
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on April 26, 2013:
You're welcome, Sue! I'm getting ready to start one for a bride with short hair. Veils just didn't look right, but a short bob with a fascinator is very trendy, especially with the Great Gatsby themed weddings being so popular right now.
Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on April 25, 2013:
Thanks you've given me some ideas for a wedding I'm going to in December. Was lost for inspiration.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on April 07, 2013:
Me, too, Faith! And thank you. I just made a pretty new one for a bride with a peacock brooch and peacock spears and feathers.
Faith A Mullen on April 05, 2013:
So pretty! And I have to admit, I am jealous of how lovely Kate looks in her fascinators. Thanks for posting!
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on October 15, 2011:
Thanks, DIY. I love them just for fun!
Kay Mitchell from California on October 15, 2011:
gorgeous! If I do any type of veil it will be a bird cage.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 27, 2011:
Great, Sanet! Glad it worked for you!
Sanet Smal on July 26, 2011:
Great thanks, just made mine according your instructions and it looks very pretty!!!! So happy, coz the bridal shops were charging a rediculous amount!
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 22, 2011:
You should try Fashion, it's not that hard.
fashion on July 22, 2011:
What a beautiful and creative hub.It seems easy to make it,i shall try it.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 12, 2011:
It's not hard at all, Simone. The only hard part is that first cut with the scissors into the Russian netting...that was a little scary! But after that...piece of cake! You should try one.
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 12, 2011:
Wow, DIYweddingplanner! This doesn't look so hard at all! I'm such a sucker for veils and fascinators- I'll have to try making one. I've bookmarked this for a weekend when I've got time to do a craft project. I can't wait to make my very own!
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 11, 2011:
You're welcome, C-Bless! Now go make a fascinator! :)
c-bless on July 10, 2011:
Thank you for sharing these instructors. I enjoyed reading the entrie hub.
DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on July 10, 2011:
Yes, Tess, now the garter! Thanks! Thank you, Rochelle, good one!
And Pam...can't wait to see it on your pretty head!
pam on July 10, 2011:
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on July 10, 2011:
Very pretty. Too bad there's no 'fascinating' button.
Tess45 from South Carolina on July 10, 2011:
One project down! Great job and good hub. :)