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Emily

the TÉLIO collection: pretty polka dots

Polka dots: perhaps the most cheerful, darling print in the history of prints. Classic, charming, and a little whimsical, these happy little dots always catch my eye. It’s a print that will never go out of style, and I love the fact that it works year round. I have two other handmade polka dot pieces in my closet (a dress and a skirt), and even with the addition of the dress in today’s post I’m sill thinking about adding a few more items. Is there such a thing as too many polka dots?

My adoration for this little print is directly responsible for the inclusion of this fabric in the fall collection I’m showing you this month. Last week, I announced my collaboration with TÉLIO, and today we kick off the series with the first garment in the collection. This dress is one of my new favorites (Vogue 8739), and when I made it for the first time a few weeks ago I instantly knew I’d be making it again in more colors and prints – and this fabric is a perfect choice for the design of the dress.

This fabric is The Dakota Stretch Jersey knit, a lightweight navy blue rayon knit (95% Rayon/5% Lycra) with white polka dots, and it’s very soft and drapes beautifully. And before we go any further, it is available on fabric.com (item 0492756) . Also, follow @teliofashion for a chance to win a three yard piece of the fabric I feature each week!

Here’s the fabric in action: it’s so yummy and soft, but it’s also very easy to work with. I used a size 75 stretch needle and the “lightweight stretch” setting on my sewing machine. I serged all the raw edges and finished the sleeve and skirt hems with a blind stitch.

This dress checks a lot of boxes for me style wise, but I’m especially pleased that it can be worn so often (a lot of the garments I make aren’t quite so versatile). It works everywhere from the office to dinner and running errands on the weekend. Plus, the added bonus is that it’s so comfortable it’s like wearing pajamas without actually wearing pajamas.

I love how well the polka dots work with the other fabrics in the collection. The color story is consistent, and the scale of the prints in particular is quite complementary. The larger scale of the lemons is a nice anchor for the smaller polka dots, and incorporating the polka dots was a great way to introduce a second print without competing with the lemons. I’m particularly crazy about the texture and color of that marigold lace too, but more on that in a couple of weeks.

This dress was a great way to kick off the series with TÉLIO, and I’m so excited for you to see the rest of the pieces. One of my absolute favorite things in sewing is watching a group of coordinating garments come together, so this is especially fun for me.

Happy sewing, and don’t forget to follow @teliofashion on Instagram for a fun chance to win some fabric!

to the max: vogue 9104

I had big plans for maxi dresses this summer. I spent an entire morning one day on Instagram Stories going over my plans for at least three maxis, and I had a couple pages of notes and sketches in my journal with big ideas for these dresses. I even had cute blog titles for them like “great lengths” and “maxed out” and “floored” but this summer has flown by in a blink of an eye and I only got around to one maxi dress. I’m okay with that though, because it’s a pretty great dress. (I’m kind of bananas for it, really.)

Maxi dresses in the summer are one of those things that just make me laugh. It’s the hottest time of year and yet we’re intentionally searching for the longest dresses to wear? Isn’t there something ironic about that? I’ve had maxi dresses in the past, but besides the dress in this post I only have one or two store bought pieces in my closet now. I grew weary with the frumpy drape and cut of most of the ready-to-wear options, and I’m not someone who can wear low cut or spaghetti straps or something with lots of back exposure comfortably. So, I was always running to a styling issue of covering what I needed covered. “I can wear this if I put a necklace with it and if I throw on a cardigan too.” Not a great solution, but of course  I spent a couple years trying to force the issue – which just made me uncomfortable and sad.

My idea of the perfect maxi dress for me is something with a high enough neckline that it covers that scar on my neck I’m always complaining about and has full back coverage – but with enough flow and fullness that it doesn’t look like I’m a piece of sausage on sandals trying to walk around in a poorly cut full length dress in 100 degree Texas heat. I wanted something in a yummy rayon challis – lightweight enough to be comfortable but with enough drape and movement that it made a statement as you wore it. Why be boring when there are so many other options, right?

This fabric is another great find from Fashion Fabrics Club. (Not sure if it’s still in stock.) It’s a paint splatter print crinkle rayon, and it’s just really, really pretty. An unusual print for me, but I think it’s a perfect fabric/pattern match.

Like so many others I talk about on this blog, this pattern has been in my stash for a while but only when the right fabric came along did I finally get around to making it. It’s pretty clear to see why I like it so much, as it has all the design elements I need in a maxi dress. It also has a very interesting shaped hem with front and back slits. I appreciate this for air movement around your legs, but it’s also a very clever way to show off your shoes. (Virtually high-fives the fellow shoe lovers out there!)

I cut this dress out during my I-want-to-make-all-the-maxi-dresses day way back in June, but I got about halfway with it and decided to move on to something else. I’m so glad I rescued it from the unfinished pile because, my goodness, what a dress. Most of the things I make are comfortable, but this dress really deserves that adjective. I cut my normal size and didn’t make a single adjustment to the fit or design of the pattern. I will say that it runs a little big and that you can probably size down at least one size in it, and the hem was a little long on the sides, so I had to adjust that so that it didn’t drag on the ground. I omitted the armhole facings in favor of a bias tape finish, which I like much better.

The hem.

The back.

Thank you all for the kind messages about our recent home purchase and move. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, but we’re so in love with our new house and feeling incredibly grateful and humbled to have it. I’m still working on the studio makeover, but the end is (finally) in sight. I decided that this move was the perfect opportunity to finally make this the studio of my dreams, but it’s a huge undertaking. It’s pretty big room with seven doors (four leading to attic storage, one to a regular walk in closet, and two entrances), three windows, two built-in window benches, and a bunch of angled walls. Every inch of the space is getting painted, along with all of my tabletops and a few other furniture pieces. This has been an enormous test of my patience and determination, but I’m happy to do it because I know what it will look like in the end.

These photos are from a few days ago, and the walls have since gotten a second coat of paint, tape has come down, the tabletop has been finished and reattached to the table, sewing tables have been painted and sealed, and the window benches and cabinet doors are almost finished. I’ll go into more detail about this room once it’s more finished, but if you’d like to follow along with the progress, find me on Instagram – I’m posting updates in Stories every day. Seeing it all come together is so much fun!

Window benches mid-sanding:

Window benches after sanding, two coats of primer, and two coats of paint. Much, much better.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back next week with new posts and the first TÉLIO garment!

a fall collection with TÉLIO

I will never forget the first time I bought fabric. I was a freshman in college studying to become a physical therapist–worlds away from sewing and design. I had rescued the old sewing machine my parents had given me a few Christmases prior from the back of my closet, and I was playing with it off and on in my free time. One day, something changed. I knew I had to pursue fashion and design, so I changed my major and never looked back. My mom and I went to the local fabric store one weekend and she explained how you chose your pattern and ordered your fabric. I remember how thrilling it was to look through the pattern catalogs, and walking through the aisles of fabric was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I was completely enthralled.

After carefully selecting my pattern, I chose a bright pink linen fabric to make it. That skirt has been lost to time and countless moves over the years, but I vividly remember the color. (It was a pink so ridiculous and bright that it’s nearly impossible to forget.) I also remember the excitement of buying that fabric and going home with all of my supplies ready to tackle my project. I still get that feeling every time I buy fabric. For me, a single cut of fabric holds more potential than any mass-produced store bought garment can. That’s probably why, more often than not, I purchase fabric for the fabric itself, not because I already have a project in mind and I’m searching for something to use for it.

Fabric is one of my biggest inspirations, and it’s a huge, huge part of what I focus on here, which is why today’s announcement is so significant: I have partnered with TÉLIO, and I’ll be using their fabrics to create a fall capsule collection. (I’m not designing the fabrics themselves, just using them to make gorgeous clothes.) When this all came about, I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement. For the next several weeks, I’ll be revealing outfits one by one, and then I’ll put everything together at the end- along with a special showstopper piece – for a complete fall collection. This will be a fall transition collection, so no heavy coats or true cold weather items; rather, the focus is on an inspiring group of individual components that work for late summer and early fall in rich, luxurious fall colors like pine and navy and marigold and emerald.

Founder Joseph Télio with a French fabric supplier. Image courtesy of TÉLIO.

TÉLIO Fabrics is a leader in textile imports, with an inventory of over 3 million yards of fashion fabrics and more than 500 new textile products developed each season. Everything is outstanding quality and design, and the range of fabrics alone is seriously impressive. TÉLIO has everything from sequins and lace to faux leather and linens so yummy it’ll make your head spin. When it came time to choose the fabrics for this collection, it was the most challenging and totally awesome task I’ve faced in quite some time. One of TÉLIO’s biggest retailers is fabric.com, and I would encourage you to look through the selection there if you’re not familiar with the company.

TÉLIO was founded in 1952 in Montreal, by Joseph Télio, and today the company is headed by Joseph’s son, André. The company’s mission is to offer designers, manufacturers and retailers a superior quality, original product tailored to their specific needs. TÉLIO operates five showrooms (two each in Montreal and Toronto and one in Vancouver), manages over 90 employees and has a sales team of over 30 representatives around the world. I love companies with a meaningful history, so it’s yet another reason I’m so thrilled to work with TÉLIO, a company that has been around for six decades.

I’m looking forward to spotlighting this company and showcasing the variety and quality of the fabrics. The fall collection I’ve put together includes fabrics in a range of fabrications with lots of diversity in textures and drape and scale of prints. I can’t wait to share it with you!

André Télio & Terry De Cicco – President & Accounting. 

The happiest staff I ever did see. (And look at all the fabric!)

Renée & Joseph – Andrés parents. All images courtesy of TÉLIO.

Over the next several weeks you can expect a lot of fabric photos and plenty of new garments to inspire your fall sewing projects. I’m truly so happy and humbled by this opportunity, and I hope you have as much fun following along as I have choosing the fabrics to use and making new fall garments. Look for the first outfit next Wednesday!

Special thanks to Ericka and Rachel and the rest of the team at TÉLIO for being so wonderful. Now, let’s get sewing!