Lace is one of my favorite fabrics. I don’t use it all that often because no matter what you do with it it’s quite dressy and formal, but it still catches my eye at the fabric store, every single time. I don’t have many opportunities in my real life to rock something lacy – it might look a little silly on a grocery run or when I’m running around in the backyard with our puppies. But, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I type that I remember a white lace skirt with an elastic waistband hanging in the closet that I love and have worn countless times. I usually wore a denim button up with it and some leather sandals and a hat. Made a fantastic summer outfit. So, all of that to say lace is formal but it can also be, let’s call it, “dressy casual.”
This is the finale week in my series with TÉLIO, and I’ve been beside myself to share these final two looks with you. (The second, a navy satin dress with black trim is coming on Friday!) This is such a great way to round out the collection, and I absolutely love the fabric in today’s post. I made this dress with TÉLIO black guipure lace, a French lace I’ve used a number of times over the years. It’s a bobbin lace, which means the motifs are connected by bars or plaits – not mesh or net. Essentially, it’s an “open weave” lace with no backing. There’s no traditional scalloped edge, but you can cut around the motifs and finish the edge with a little fabric glue to create the scallop. (I did just that on the hem of the skirt.) This lace is medium weight, 100% polyester, and it was the motifs that caught my eye. I love those leaves!
My original idea was for a dress with a fitted bodice and a midi length pleated skirt. I can’t tell you how many times I went back and forth thinking about what to do with this lace. I wanted to do the fabric justice, but I also wanted to do something fresh and new, so I decided to forgo the fit and flare in favor of something more fitted and sophisticated. (Plus, you saw a fit and flare in a yummy marigold lace a few weeks back, and you know I’ll be back to that silhouette eventually.)
I would have loved to make the skirt a little longer so that the flounce started below the knee more (creating a longer line), but then the flounce would have to have been narrower to keep the dress the same length. Or, I could have made the flounce floor length, but I really wanted to keep this dress midi length. I don’t have many occasions that call for a floor length lace dress!
I’m loving the sheath dress silhouette right now, and I thought an interesting way to elevate it was to add a mermaid flounce to the skirt. The simple addition of velvet ribbon around the waist and on the skirt, makes this piece perfect for fall and winter – and I’m crazy about those textures velvet together. They make a great pair!
I underlined the lace in white to make the lace pop, and used horsehair under the flounce to give it a little more volume. I cut around the motifs along the hem, which is a nice detail there.
Now, for the pattern. I mashed together the bodice of Vogue 9197 (also making it bateau neck) with the skirt from McCall’s 7540. This isn’t difficult to do, but the waistline on the bodice from Vogue 9197 actually sits above the natural waist, so I had to make some adjustments to make sure the patterns not only matched at the side seams but so that the skirt wasn’t too short through the hips. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to make the McCall’s pattern, and it’s quite nice. It’s been drafted generously through the hips which is to say that, if anything, you might need to take it in that area for a more personalized fit. And I may never have an occasion for a floor length skirt, but I think I’ll be making the skirt again soon in that length. It’s so flattering.
I’m so happy with this dress, and it’s a welcome addition to my closet. I appreciate special occasion dresses that don’t show so much flesh. I have always believed in the power of mystery. There’s also something about long sleeves in formalwear that I find incredibly refreshing. But don’t worry, I’ll be back on Friday for the last look in this collection, and it’s sleeveless and fabulous – and I will lose count of the number of times I will wear it.
See y’all Friday!
There’s nothing more fun than the challenge of putting a collection together, and for how much I go on and on about how much I love it I sure don’t have a chance to do it very often. I blame all the pretty fabrics out there – it’s too easy to get distracted and work on individual, unrelated sewing projects. But this, this collection with TÉLIO fabrics, has been nothing short of incredible, and it’s the most fun I’ve had sewing all year. It’s given me the opportunity to add a few new things to my closet in some truly exceptional fabrics, but it’s also challenged me to think about a group of projects as a whole: the color story, the prints, how each piece makes sense next to one another. And the dresses in today’s post in this series really highlight all of that. The best part? We still have two weeks to go!
Over the past few weeks I’ve mentioned that my inspiration for this fall collection was the lemon print sateen. It’s the anchor of the collection, and it’s what I used to determine the other colors, textures, and prints. I knew going into this that I’d be using it twice – as the anchor print it’s nice to see it more than once. The marigold lace (although I’m thinking it’s more “buttercup” than “marigold” after studying it for the past month) is two things: it’s a happy pop of color and also an interesting texture in an otherwise smooth group of fabrics. I went with this particular shade of yellow because it picks up on the darker yellow in the lemon, not the bright, sunshine yellow that really stands out in the print. It’s a little more subtle and a better fit for a fall collection.
The lemon print sateen (the Bloom Sateen Print 38203 -04) is available at EmmaOneSock Fabrics, and the yellow Amelia lace is available at Sew Much Fabric. Fabric.com also carries the Amelia lace in six colors. (That royal blue is stunning!)
The Amelia lace is a nylon/cotton blend, and it’s lightweight but not too delicate. I wanted to make a classic dress that showed off the beautiful scalloped edge, and I also wanted to underline the lace to make it pop a little more. I cut a dirndl skirt so that the hem was a totally straight edge and hemmed the underlining to just above the highest point of the scallop. This way, you don’t miss the scalloped edge, but the underlining isn’t an odd length – and it still does its job of adding a little more volume to the lace.
One of my favorite dresses of all time is this dress in a large scale floral with lots of blues and greens. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn it, and it’s because of that and other reasons that I decided to use this lemon print and make another version of that dress. This is one of those dresses that just makes me happy because it’s so my style and such a beautiful print. I drafted a full circle skirt on to the bodice from Vogue 9197 and fully lined the dress. I lengthened the bodice by about 3/4″, and the skirt is 27″ long. I added a facing to the neckline, because I think it looks a little more high end.
Many of you know my penchant for making multiple versions of a pattern, when the pattern is really, really great. Well, Vogue 9197 has had a mighty great run in the last year, but it’s being retired to the archives now. It’s an excellent pattern with lots to love (the fit, the perfect sleeve, the French dart in the front, the fact that you can draft any skirt you want on it), but I’m good with four versions of it – especially because each of those dresses have been and will continue to be worn for a long, long time.
I’m so excited about the last two looks in this series, and I think (I hope!) you’re really going to enjoy seeing them. Next week’s dress is a return to knits, and I’ve used a brand new pattern to bring it to life. Then, for the big finale, I’m doing cocktail separates that are probably the fanciest, prettiest special occasion looks I’ve ever made for myself. I can’t give too much away just yet, but I will tell you that there’s almost 20 yards of fabric involved. And don’t forget that TÉLIO is hosting a weekly giveaway of all the fabrics I’m using, so follow them on Instagram and watch for the contest post. That’s one of the most fun parts of this for me – I love seeing you guys win pretty things!
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!