Beaded Lace Chemise - In Progress

Tamara Gruner, a wonderful fine art wedding photographer, will be hosting a workshop in Provence this spring and has asked to take along a few of my pieces. She needed a look for their 'honeymoon' editorial, and I had a bit of this really beautiful Chantilly lace we used last year on a veil - it's very lightly beaded on the lower edge with an interesting floral pattern - and I thought it would work well gathered and draped into a flowing chemise.

Lace can really hold volume when it's gathered (as shown here before I did any cleaning up), which isn't exactly the look I'm imagining. I had to be mindful to make the gathers clean and uniformed, stitching over the gathered seam allowance twice to make sure it was nice and flat under the neckline binding. A steaming on the dressform helped it relax a touch, and with wear, the fabric will begin to soften and lay more gracefully.

I used the beaded edge as the hemline for the body, but there wasn't enough for the sleeves, so I cut along the pattern in the lace, creating an organic, winding edge. 

To give the neckline a little movement, I added a narrow, ungathered band of lace with the same finishing there as well. Because it was a straight piece of fabric, traveling along a curved neckline, I needed to make some cuts to relieve any bunching. I removed sections of netting between the lace patterns, which allowed it to lay flat and flutter a bit.

Aaaand .... this is when I began to lose my mind, thinking the entire thing was getting way too crafty or 1980's prairie or something equally horrible.

What am I DOING TO THIS VERY EXPENSIVE LACE?? Sharing the results tomorrow!