sewing magic with the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™

Time doesn’t always fly by for me. When I’m in the groove of a routine I don’t always notice when, all of a sudden, the year is half over – or a full season has already come and gone. But when life gets busy and I’m knee deep in exciting challenges and projects, months can fly by and it feels like mere days. I simply can’t believe that it’s November 4th already, or that I’ve had the DESIGNER RUBY Royale since August. The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly rings true this time around.

Since February, I’ve had the best time using sewing machines from HUSQVARNA VIKING® as a brand ambassador. First, I got the DESIGNER JADE™ 35. Then for the summer I had the DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 50. This fall, I’ve had the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ and there’s one more machine still to come. (I have no idea what it is, and I can’t wait to find out in the next couple of weeks!) The DESIGNER JADE™ 35 is a great little machine and I enjoyed using that one because it took me back to when I was just starting my sewing journey. (The difference with the Jade is that it can do tons of things my very first machine never could.) The DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 50 was a fun machine to use because it’s similar to one I already own, so I was able to dive right in without even wondering how to turn it on. I had an especially good time experimenting with embroidery on that machine. (See the Fourth of July apron I made here.) Almost every garment I’ve made so far this year passed under the needle of those machines, and it’s been no different this fall with the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™.

The DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ is unlike any machine I’ve ever used. It’s everything I expected it to be (powerful, efficient, user friendly), but it takes actually operating a sewing machine with ease to the next level. There’s this huge screen with a vivid, colorful display and a stylus that you use to navigate through the screen and as someone who is admittedly somewhat intimidated by cool technology for no good reason, I had a moment when I wondered if I would be able to figure it out. (I am so silly sometimes.) The fact of the matter is that is no learning curve whatsoever. You simply turn on the machine and go. I found the stylus incredibly easy to use, and I never got frustrated trying to find the right stitch or setting.

Just watching this thing turn on is impressive!

The DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ is a sewing and embroidery machine, and I would recommend it to intermediate to advanced sewists who have big plans for detailed projects and lots and lots of embroidery. 357 designs come with the machine, in addition to four embroidery fonts in three sizes. There are more than 1000 stitches on the machine, including utility stitches, different buttonhole styles, quilt stitches, decorative stitches and sewing fonts. I had an incredibly fun Saturday morning a couple weeks back just playing with the different stitches available. It’s easy for me to get in the zone with just a few basic stitches, so I appreciated being reminded that something as simple as a decorative stitch was but a touch of a button away. Think of all the cute things that could be made for Christmas and holiday gifts! Or table runners or napkins or scarves or handbags or blouses or quilts or . . . anything you can dream of.

The clothes on the drying line stopped me in my tracks. That stitch is beyond adorable!

Loads of accessories are included with the machine, and you also get two embroidery hoops: the DESIGNER™ Royal Hoop (360×200) and the DESIGNER™ Splendid Square Hoop (120×120).

A USB stick is also included, which enables you to download new embroidery designs you may find online and transfer them to the machine. Software updates are also easily available through the USB stick or a USB cable (also included). With so many designs already on the machine, you’ll be busy for quite some time before needing something new.

The DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ was designed for large projects, and it has a generous sewing surface as well as a large embroidery area so you can stitch those big design ideas with just one hooping.

One of the coolest features on this machine is the Basic Design Applique feature which creates applique embroidery which you can then layer for a dimensional look on your projects. This would be gorgeous on a handbag!

And, like the DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 50, the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ comes with the EXCLUSIVE SENSOR SYSTEM™ technology which senses your fabric thickness for perfect, even feeding under the presser foot. The Exclusive SEWING ADVISOR® feature optimizes your sewing by selecting the best settings for you and giving you on-screen advice. This is one of my favorite things, hands-down, ever. When you turn the machine on and select your fabric type (“woven medium”, for example), the machine tells you what needle is best (80, in that case). I think that is an invaluable feature for those still learning or who aren’t too familiar with the various needle size/fabric combinations just yet.

The DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ is pure excellence. I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to use it, and I encourage you to check it out at your local dealer – most of which are in big JoAnn stores. My local dealer knows me by now! And I’m lucky to have the most knowledgeable, kind, and helpful ladies there who have helped me quite a lot this year. (Hey, Karen and Linda!) Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be getting the last machine of the year, and I don’t know what it is. I’m so excited for it to be delivered – I have big, big plans for lots of projects to wrap up the year.

Thank you for following along all year! It’s been so much fun to share this with you. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve purchased your own HUSQVARNA VIKING® machine – tell me all about it in the comments! On Monday, I’ll be looking back at all the projects I’ve sewn on the DESIGNER RUBY Royale™ over the past couple of months, and sharing a fun embroidery project I did that I get to look at everyday in my studio. See you on Monday!

the TÉLIO collection: sensational satin

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!

the TÉLIO collection: gorgeous guipure

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!