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!
My dad has a saying about buying things: always get two. Found the perfect pair of jeans? Get two. Need a pack of batteries? Get two. Now, of course I don’t make it a habit of buying or making two of everything, but it’s a good concept to keep in mind. The idea of making two (or multiples, as is the case with me quite often) makes sense to me in sewing. We invest so much time and energy into making our clothes, why not get as much value out of it as you possibly can?
When I’m making a garment I’m focused on three things: how it fits, how I feel in it, and how well it works for my lifestyle. In the year and a half that I’ve been rebuilding my wardrobe, I’ve discovered a handful of patterns that for a variety of reasons work especially well for me. I’ll put a few examples at the end of this post, but Vogue 9251 is another one of those patterns. Funny enough, I never would have thought it would make the list of multiple makes, because the low neckline isn’t something I’m too comfortable in. Turns out, the fit and easy construction makes up for that. And don’t get me started on those darling sleeves. The other thing I like about this pattern is that you can draft a number of different skirts onto the bodice, which can change things up quite dramatically.
The first time I made this dress I was in make-everything-you-possibly-can mode prior to my Memorial Day trip to Nashville, so I didn’t make a muslin for the dress (something I never skip). The bodice turned out to be a little short on me, but I loved the dress and I knew I would make it again. So, I lengthened the bodice by about 1.5″, which was as easy as cutting the pattern along the “lengthen or shorten line,” taping paper underneath to add the length, and truing the sides. I also made a swayback adjustment to the back bodice (which is why the dart looks a little wonky).
For this version, I chose a stunning rayon twill print, and not only does it feel like butter it’s also completely opaque, meaning it can stand alone as a dress without a lining.
The thing that makes this version so interesting is the difference in the drape of the fabric. The fabric I used for this dress is a suggested fabric for the pattern, but the linen I used before is not. The linen version is in no way bad or wrong, it’s just different. This side by side of the sleeves demonstrates the characteristics of each fabric really well.
The linen on the left is a medium weight so it’s naturally more stiff and voluminous. It has lovely drape, but notice how it drapes away from my arm more than the rayon sleeve.
I drafted a full skirt for this rayon version, simply because I had enough fabric, and I absolutely love a full, floaty rayon skirt that swooshes as much as possible when I walk. I also knew that the fabric would fall along the bias, so instead of worrying about maintaining the shape of the skirt from the pattern while keeping it level, I went with something full that would need to be leveled the same amount all the way around. I left the dress on the form for a couple of days to let the fabric fall as much as possible, and then I evened it out. You can see here just how much the fabric relaxed. (For more on leveling a hem, see this post from last fall.)
When I can, I like to make my own bias tape, and I was able to do that for this dress. I love how it looks.
I used snaps to close the linen dress, but I followed the pattern instructions this time and made bias strips for the side ties. This limits me to only being able to wear the dress like this (can’t really put a belt on top of the ties, that’d be weird), but I like them. They stay tied too, which was my biggest concern.
I can’t tell you how comfortable this dress is. It’s probably as close to wearing jimmy jams as you can get.
I’ll be making this dress at least one more time, and I’m very excited about this version. I’ll be using a very lightweight blue floral rayon crepe and making the maxi version (view B). I’m going with the skirt from the pattern (no changes this time), but I am toying with the idea of adding a ruffle to the neckline. The fabric is so delicate and drapes so nicely that I think a ruffle might be lovely added detail.
I’m delighted that this pattern worked so well, and with (soon to be) three versions of it, I can file it under the “multiple makes” category, along with a few other cherished patterns.