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Making a Dancing Veil

Ruric-Amari with a rectangular silk veil

Ruric-Amari, AnnaBeth and Madlen perform a veil dance at a Mecca concert.

Many people prefer circular silk veils to rectangular ones because they are easier to use. If you want to be able to do a full range of veil dancing, build up arm strength so you can use both - they are both very different partners in the dance.

Ruric-Amari loves to dance with silk. Delilah swears by nylon tricot (sometimes called nylon chiffon), a cheap alternative to silk for beginners. Delilah's web site sells tricot veils for $15 or you can get it at fabric stores for $2/yd. Beginning students often find the standard veil sizes to be too big in both directions, and they feel a lot more comfortable trimming a few inches off a $6 tricot veil than a $40-$75 silk one! Tricot doesn't need to be hemmed so you can experiment with any size or shape you want without sewing. Just don't wear anything that has edges that will snag, like cheaper coin belts and jewelry --- or it WILL snag!

Dying silk for your veil

A lot of the commercially available rectangular veils are 5-6mm weight, 42" wide, and 2.5 to 3 yards long. The circular veils are 8-10mm or more.

Dharma Trading is a very reliable source of 5mm silk Habotai (less than $3/yd) and pre-hemmed veils. Dharma Trading is also a vendor of Jacquard acid silk dyes, which turn out to be wonderful! The 1/2 oz size, less than $5, will dye up to 3 veil lengths AND --- that's all it will dye! It won't dye your stove, your floor, your dishes, your spoon, or even the pot you cook it in! After you dye it, you rinse it and then air dry it. A cheap canning pot with enamel finish makes a great dye pot and it is not expensive. My personal checklist for dyeing silk with acid dyes has a link at the bottom of this page. The list is designed to help me create a beautiful result while dyeing lots of silk at one time. If this is your first veil, my list is overkill. Use Dharma's instructions instead. Or try tie-dyeing the veil with Procion dyes instead.

Three-Quarter Circular Veils

For something a little different, try a 3/4 circle instead of a half-circle veil. They make great capes as well!

Three-quarter-circle-veil schematic by M Enright

Rectangular Veils

To make a rectangular veil quickly, cut or tear 42" wide silk along the grain into a 3-yard length. You can then hem both short sides or all four sides or no sides at all. The latest 'trend' is to NOT hem rectangular veils, but simply to cut it along the grain exactly. This will produce a different effect than a hemmed veil. It is all a matter of taste.

The following links include clear instructions on hems, dyeing silk, the types of veil shapes that dancers use and how to make them. If you are not sure how big you want your veil, buy some cheap nylon tricot (see above) and trim it until you have the shape that works for you.


On this website:
Dyeing Silk.
Narrow hems, both regular and 6-thread.
External websites:
Babs Designs on rectangular and circle veils.
Shira on making a circular veil.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
©2013 by Maura Enright
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