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Beaded Lace Wonders

Last week, I had the honor of embellishing a strip of lace for a friend’s wedding dress.  I can’t go public with photos because she doesn’t want the groom to stumble across them but the project got my juices flowing for more beaded lace work. Now I’m working on a bracelet.   I got this wonderful lace (and the lace for the bride) from MaryNotMartha on Etsy.   She has an amazing selection of gorgeous laces and other millinery and bridal trims.  I swear she had psychically anticipated my order because it arrived faster than I believed possible.  (I did alert her to the fact that I needed to embellish the lace for a wedding dress so she must know how much time goes into sewing tiny beads onto lace.)

Embellishing lace is ridiculously easy.  It is also ridiculously time consuming.  For bracelets, I cut the lace to the length I want the bracelet to be and start choosing beads.  Molly suggested that I make this one with aqua blues because the lace seemed “oceany” to her with its radial circles and scalloped edge.  And also because it is hot this week. I use a sturdy, long beading needle because sometimes the lace can be difficult to push through. I always use thread that matches the lace, not the beads. This way, your stitching disappears and allows the beading to look like a natural part pf the lace.  I like to try laying beads and sequins on the lace to test out patterns before I get started.  For this piece I’m using 2 sequins – a large flat sequin in very pale celadon green and a smaller flat sequin in dark teal blue stacked on top of one another and held to the center of each circle with a gold seed bead.

On one row of circles, I am using size 15 gold lined aqua seed beads and size 11o matte finish gold lined aqua seed beads to outline the concentric sections of the circles.  On the next row, I am using 3mm luster opaque turquoise firepolished beads.  I am lining the scalloped border with permanent finish gold seed beads in size 11.  For the seashell scallops at the edge, I am using a silver lined dark teal 15o seed bead, some of the matte aquas, turquoise and some lovely matte AB striped aqua mini daggers that I picked up on vacation in Las Vegas a few years ago and haven’t found a use for before now. All the seed beads are TOHOs.

I stitch beads and sequins on using simple embroidery stitches.  Buttonhole and whip stitches are very useful and I put long stretches of seed beads on using a couching technique.  There’s nothing fancy going on – just many hours of loving labor. I bought a new OttLite magnifying light last week to help me with all of the white-on-white work involved in the bridal lace and I am loving it. I also love to use my Beadalon sticky mat – you can see it in the last photo in this post. It holds my beads where I want them so I don’t get a bug pile of bead soup halfway through the project.

I’m not sure what the closure on this piece will look like.  It is a wide cuff that might require a fairly long rigid support for the edges but the edges are scalloped and interlocking so it might be a challenge.  The final piece will have a distinctly feminine Bohemian flair. I can’t wait to see what it will look like on someone’s wrist!

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