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Resources for Students    Making a Rectangular Chiffon Veil for Bellydance Materials Required:     2.5-3 yards (or metres) of 45" chiffon fabric     sewing machine or serger     matching thread     decorative trim (optional) To make a veil you will need to purchase at least 2.5 yards of a lightweight material.  3 yards is actually the standard for a good quality veil.  Keep in mind there is very little difference between a metre and a yard, these measurements are often used interchangeably where veils are concerned. Most veils are made of either chiffon or silk.  Chiffon veils are cheaper and chiffon fabric is easily found at any fabric store. Silk veils are preferred by many dancers because of their superior "float".  They are generally bought rather than made because silk-dying is a technique that requires alot of expense and practice to master.  Silk veils are generally more expensive than chiffon and vary in quality and weight. Other fabrics are possible, such as lurex, and organza, but for the purposes of this article we will be working with chiffon. Step 1 - Purchase Your Fabric:     Head down to your neighborhood fabric store and decide on a color (this is the fun part!)     You will need at least 2.5 yards or metres of chiffon.  Taller dancers need a longer veil.  You should have at least enough fabric to stretch from fingertip to fingertip with your arms fully extended, with AT LEAST 2 foot extra hanging from EACH hand.  Standard 45" width is fine, if your fabric if 60" you will have to trim some excess width.     Play with your fabric in the store, it should drape nicely and have some float.  I always unwind a meter or two from the bolt and swish it through the air to see how it floats.  Let them stare, you are a dancer on a mission! Step 2 - Cut Your Fabric:     Cut your fabric to length.  Allow your full wingspan from fingertip to fingertip plus at least 4 feet.     Cut your fabric to width. A standard veil width is 40-45", but you might get away with a bit shorter.     Generally, if you hold the veil at shoulder height, it should fall somewhere between your knee and mid-calf.  If it's too much shorter, you will look like you're playing with a scarf and you won't be able to do many of the nicer veil tucks and tricks.  Too much longer, and your veil will be too heavy and unwieldy to manipulate and it won't float well. Step 3  - The Sewing Part:     If you have a serger, this is easy, simply finish the edges with the rolled hem setting.     If you don't have a serger, I have finished the edges on many veils using a very tight zigzag stitch or satin stitch on a regular sewing machine.  You can also try a narrow hem using this method:  narrow hem     I highly recommend practising your edging technique on a scrap piece of fabric before trying it on your veil.     For your sanity's sake, make sure you are using a new needle before you start any project, especially with delicate fabrics like chiffon!     You can leave the factory edge, or selvage, unfinished if you like because it won't ravel.  I often do, because I am a lazy seamstress!  I must admit, though, that your veil will look more professional if you finish all four edges. Step 4 - Trim     Some dancers like to finish two or four edges of their veil with a decorative trim like sequins or beading.  This is optional.  I prefer not to put trim on my veils. Not only does it cost more, but the extra weight makes the veil edges too heavy to float well and makes the veil harder to work with in my opinion.
Hand rolled and zigzag stitched on a regular sewing machine A beautiful serged hem Satin stitch on a regular sewing machine A beautiful but heavy decorated edge that makes elaborate veilwork difficult
Standard Rectangular Veil - Note where it falls at mid-calf when held at shoulder height.  Also note the extra length on each side when both arms are fully extended. Don't skimp!  This extra length is what makes your veil swirly and beautiful in movement.
Satin stitch on a regular sewing machine - click to enlarge
A beautiful serged hem - click to enlarge
This edge has been hand rolled and zigzag stitched on a regular sewing machine.  A bit bulky but serviceable - click to enlarge
This edge has been decorated with beads and paillettes. Beautiful but impractical.  This sits in my closet because it's too heavy to use for veilwork.