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 can’t think of a single color I don’t like. I definitely have favorites that I wear a lot, but it’s hard to think of a color that I make a concerted effort to avoid or that I just don’t care for. I’ve spent a great deal of time looking for fabric in just the right color over the years too. Navy must be rich and dark, not vintage or faded looking, yellow should be bright without being gaudy or cheap looking, and reds should be true red – not too orange, not too blue. Emerald is also a color I love, especially for fall, and it’s a color I think I wear well. (After a summer in lots of white, I’m reminded thanks to all the pictures I take that white is actually not a great color on me. So, moving forward: less white, more bold colors. Hold me to it.)
I found this fabric shortly after discovering the lemon print fabric for my fall collection series with TÉLIO. The moment I saw it I not only squealed with delight at having finally found the perfect shade of emerald, but I also knew it would work exceptionally well with the lemon print, the small scale polka dot, the marigold lace, and the pine ponte knit. (You haven’t seen the ponte knit yet but it’s good. Really good.) The emerald plays up the leaves on the lemon print so nicely, and it’s nice to have that color as an accent with the other fabrics.
The fantastic part about this fabric is that it is in stock at fabric.com. It’s 100% Viscose Rayon, 56″ wide, and it’s machine washable.
Rayon (also called viscose) is made from wood pulp, a naturally occurring, cellulose-based raw material. I like it because its characteristics are similar to that of linen and cotton, and it is beyond comfortable to wear in the Texas heat. I love the drape of viscose batiste or challis, and it’s easy to work with and launder. It also retains color well, which is why you can find such rich colors in a rayon fabrication. It doesn’t pill unless the fabric is made from short, low-twist yarns (I’ve never had a rayon that even remotely pilled), and it doesn’t build up static electricity. Rayon does, however, wrinkle so loose fitting garments are best (full skirts and dresses, flowy tops, and scarves). Bemberg rayon is also a fantastic option for linings. I choose it over polyester or acetate every time.
This particular rayon is a batiste, so it’s especially lightweight and drapes exceptionally well. It’s opaque enough to forgo a lining, which is great. Use a little extra care when you cut it out, because it can be a tad slippery (no edges hanging off your cutting table!), and I would also pin your pieces together in one or two additional areas as you sew it just to ensure it doesn’t move around. I used a size 70 universal needle, all purpose thread, and I serged all the raw edges. French seams would also be lovely. I let the dress rest on the dress form overnight to let the bias fall, then I leveled it and hemmed it.
I used an out-of-print pattern, Butterick 5878, and I replaced the tiered skirt with a full circle skirt for the most movement. I’ve made this dress twice before, over a year ago. It’s easy to sew, and very, very comfortable. I especially love the elastic around the waist.
For those of us in warmer climates where seasons take their sweet time arriving (or don’t change at all), color is a great way to dress for the season without layering or piling on coats or things that don’t make sense for the weather. So this emerald viscose makes for one seriously pretty dress, and I can ease my way into fall without looking or feeling ridiculous. Considering how much I love this color, I’m surprised that this dress is the first garment in this color I have in my closet. I think I’m looking at a fall season jam packed with emerald green!
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.
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!