Let me begin this post by saying that I really miss this. I haven’t started 2018 in the most gangbusters way in terms of posting regularly, but it’s not for lack of motivation or inspiration. Quite the opposite: I’m bursting with new ideas, and I’d love a couple free days to just sit and write and stay on schedule. But things are a little crazy here at the moment. We’re so close to wrapping up the bulk of the work on the kitchen/first floor renovation we’ve been in the midst of since September, and a few big deadlines are finally upon us. Drywall is going back up this week, cabinets will be installed at the end of the month, painting happens after that, and then it’s all the finishing touches like countertops and lighting and flooring. Ty and I spent the weekend finishing demo at the top of the stairs and working on putting the insulation back in the walls and ceilings. It’s been really time consuming, not terribly fun work. It’s kind of a small miracle that I’ve been able to sew even a little bit the past week. All of this to say that my resolution to establish and maintain a consistent blogging schedule will just have to come in time. There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel! And thank goodness, because I’ve recently started to curse this house and turn sour on this project. I need walls and a kitchen again!
One thing I’m always able to stay on top of is fabric shopping. (If you laughed at that statement, it’s okay. I laughed too. What a thing to be really good at, sheesh.) My after Christmas shopping is focused on fabric, so around this time every year I like to add a few new things to my fabric stash. The thing with having a sewing blog is that quite a lot of time can pass before the cuts of fabric become actual garments. I’ve never really dedicated a post that highlights my recent purchases, but I think it’s something I should do more often. I can’t tell you how many times I posted a finished garment last year and the fabric was already sold out, and it bummed me (and everyone else) out every time. So today I’m going to show you the fabrics I’ve gotten lately. That way, if you want some too you can get it before it’s gone.
I buy fabric from lots of different places, because the good stuff can come from anywhere. I’ve bought super expensive pieces and found nice fabric at Goodwill – there’s no right or wrong place to shop. I first shopped with fabric.com years and years ago before they became the destination that they are, and their inventory has only gotten better over time. Fabric.com carries a huge selection (the biggest, I believe) of TÉLIO fabric, so I usually start my shopping there. I recently got two things: a gorgeous navy floral rayon print, and an emerald green double wool stretch suiting. The rayon challis will make a great dress or separates combo this spring or summer, and the stretch suiting is going to be a dress in the spring.
Vogue 9279 is a pattern I picked up on Monday, and it’s what I’m going to use to make the dress I have in mind. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the most gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress during a tour in Canada a while back, and I have kept that dress in the back of my mind ever since I saw it. The stretch suiting is a perfect match (if a little more teal than emerald, but it will do), and the pattern is a close enough copy of the dress that I can modify it slightly to get an even better match to the D&G dress. (I’ll go the route of the Duchess and opt for a dress without the clock embellishment.)
Yesterday, fabric.com launched a Grab Bag Giveaway, where 50 lucky winners will receive an assortment of 10, 1-yard cuts of fabric. There’s no purchase necessary to enter, and you can submit an entry every day. To enter, click on the photo below and fill out the form. It’s so much fun to win things, and it could be you – good luck!
Like everyone else, I shop at Mood from time to time, and I found the most darling cotton/linen print a couple weeks ago. It’s another piece that won’t get used until later this summer (you know I like my navy in the summertime), but I simply could not resist this. It’s so charming and playful, and the pineapples are huge! They’re about 18″ tall, so whatever I make with this will have to be something that shows them off in the right way. This fabric is a print from Sea NY, and it was originally a zip-front midi skirt. Definitely a possibility!
There’s a Hobby Lobby close by, so it’s my go-to when I’m in a jam and need thread or a zipper. Over the past couple seasons their apparel fabrics have gotten quite good, and I’ve found a few things there in that time, including a couple chambray shirtings and a blush sequin fabric. I popped in a couple weeks ago, and the seasonal rack was already filling up with pretty things for spring. There were quite a few fabrics I could have gotten, but I decided I couldn’t leave without one in particular: this cotton lawn lemon print shirting. It would make a lovely, floaty spring dress, but I have two lemon print dresses (see here and here), so this will become a blouse. How great will this be with a yellow striped skirt or white, wide leg linen pants?! It wasn’t on sale when I got it, so I just pulled up a 40% off coupon. I especially love that’s it’s cotton. Easy to wash!
I also picked up a few things at Fashion Fabrics Club earlier this month when they were running a $20 off a $100 purchase promotion, and one of them is this showstopper sequin fabric. You know I love the sparkly stuff, and this is a perfect addition to the black and white collection I’m working on right now. You’ll see this made into a skirt in a couple of weeks. And it was a steal at $5.25/yard! It’s got some stretch to it, and it needs a lining, but I love the combination of black and white and the various sizes of the sequins.
I’ve had my eye on this striped raw silk for ages. The colors are so pretty and perfect for spring. I think this will make a gorgeous jacket or skirt. Great price for silk: $8.95/yard. By the way, if you ordered this after I posted it on Instagram Stories and got the wrong thing in your package, the same thing happened to me. The item number was listed incorrectly on the website, but the nice folks at FFC made it right and sent me the right item two days later. It happens, no biggie!
There have been a few pattern sales lately, and I added a handful to my collection, with a few coming from the brand new Early Spring collection from McCall’s. I’m loving the pants and the shirtdress with the high-low hem!
I’m slowly making progress on all the pretty black and white pieces I’m working on, so expect new project posts soon. (You can follow along and watch the progress on Instagram.) You know I love making things in colorful collections, but I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying working with black and white. Most everything I’m making will be a piece I’ll wear a lot, so that feels good.
Let me know what you’re working on! January is my birthday month, but I always feel like it’s such a bummer time of year. The holidays are over, the weather is dreadful, everything is brown and grey, and it’s just generally uninspiring. Thank goodness for sewing to get us through!
P.S. This was me at almost 1am last night, putting the insulation back up in the ceiling. Ty was on a work trip, so it was just me and my coveralls, with Friends re-runs on the background. Wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t the worst night of my life either. Drywall starts going back up tomorrow – YAY!
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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!
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!