I have been excited about this post for weeks. It’s been so rewarding to see this collection come together, and to make it whole with this finale piece is very gratifying. When I first spoke with TÉLIO a few months ago, I never could have anticipated the joy I would have gotten out of this series. I knew putting a collection together was going to be tons of fun, but the challenge of showing each fabric in the best way possible forced me to create a some looks that may not otherwise have created – and that was a huge and unexpected bonus. I’ve had the most incredible time over the past few weeks, and it really all comes down to having the opportunity to work with these gorgeous fabrics.
Today’s dress is a dress I’ve made once before, and it is my own design. I used a navy blue, medium weight polyester satin (a similar fabric – a stretch polyester satin – is available at fabric.com) to make this piece, and it is lined in bemberg rayon and has horsehair in the hem facing for added oomph in the skirt. It has side seam pockets, cups in the bodice, and an invisible zipper in center back. I spent an excruciating amount of time thinking about what to do with this fabric. (Really, I nearly drove myself nuts.) How to show it the best way, what garments work the best with its characteristics – there were a lot of considerations for this piece. In the end, I went with this dress because it’s not only lovely in this fabric and color, it’s something I will wear. I love having a solid navy dress in the line up, because it’s a color seen throughout but not in an overwhelming or redundant way. The bias tape along the waistline, midriff, ties, and hem band are a nod to a detail from a few weeks ago on the lemon print skirt, and I like that it gives the dress some additional definition.
Satin is a beautiful fabric, and this one is especially pretty. It’s substantial and smooth and easy to sew and comfortable. I’m glad we included this fabric because it’s a nice addition to the other textures in the group.
To wrap up this collaboration, TÉLIO asked me a few questions about my creative process and what it was like to work with them. (Obviously, it’s been wonderful.) Here’s our interview:
What questions do you ask yourself before beginning a new project? What do you feel is most important before picking the fabric / how does it inspire you?
In the past, I’ve spent too much time forcing myself into projects that didn’t work for me, so now I begin every idea considering how well a garment will fit into my lifestyle. I don’t need to make cardigans or tees to feel like I’m contributing in a meaningful way to my wardrobe, but I like knowing that what I’m making will be worn. Fabric is one of my biggest inspirations. I’m always drawn to color and texture and print and the challenge of making a fabric I really love work for me. I have always loved quality fabrics too. It’s worthwhile to invest in fabrics that are not only wonderful to work with, but that won’t fall apart over time.
Have you ever felt stuck creatively? If so, how do you break that?
Yes! I have to take a break for a while. Sometimes all I need is an afternoon outside or a couple of days to spend enjoying other hobbies, but the motivation and ideas always return. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we try so hard to constantly be working on something or we don’t allow time for rest and reflection. I know this from personal experience. You have to give your mind time to do other things. Then we can return with a fresh perspective and newly inspired to do great work.
What is your goal as a blogger/designer?
I want to contribute to the sewing community. I spent a long time studying design and sewing, and I have a lot to offer those who are excited to expand their own skills. Finding my voice as a blogger and designer has taken time, and I’m always looking to improve and grow and learn. Most of all, I have incredible passion for this craft, and I want to inspire others in their own journey.
Seeing as you’re a true influencer to your readers – Who inspires you?
I adore expertise and talent, so there are a few fashion houses and fashion bloggers I admire for their consistency and outstanding work, and I appreciate people who have their own look or point of view figured out and execute it well.
How was your experience working with TÉLIO? Did the fabric meet your expectations?
Incredible! I was a fan prior to this series, but now I’m a mega fan. The fabric is nothing short of magnificent, and it exceeded my expectations. I think it says a lot about your mission and values as a wholesaler that you have such a wide range of fabrics – and that they are all such fabulous quality.
What were some challenges you faced during the making process and how did you overcome them?
The challenges that popped up over the course of this process were mostly time related – so there may have been a late night or two to put it all together! I also spent a lot of time thinking and planning each look. Some took more thought than others, but that was all part of the fun. I spent some time just looking at the fabrics and seriously thinking about each component and how they would all work together.
Now that the whole process has come to an end – how do you feel? Are you happy with the outcome of the final fall collection?
I’m so thrilled! I always think it’s a good sign to look back at a body of work without regret or disappointment. If anything, I look back at this collection and I want to keep going – there’s tons of things I’d love to add to it!
Thank you to TÉLIO for the opportunity to put this collection together with such beautiful fabric. I know I’m one lucky girl!
And thank you, readers, for following along. I have so enjoyed your reactions and reading your comments. This wouldn’t have been half as fun without you! I have read all of your emails and comments and questions, and I will address a couple things over the next few weeks in more detailed posts. (Hem facings with piping, horsehair, underlining – we’ll go over all of it!)
But first, next week, we’ll be talking about the DESIGNER RUBY® Royale – stay tuned for all the details!
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!