Pattern Making Musings: Colette

colette title card

A huge welcome to Sarai from Colette, who so kindly allowed me to interrupt her already busy days with questions about Pattern Making! At the end of this very informative Interview I am hosting a competition to win fabric and notions to make the Sorbetto Top by Colette, but more on that in a little while.

Founded in 2008 and ‘born out of a love of both sewing and the independent spirits of creative Women everywhere’, Colette are probably the most well known of the new independent Pattern Companies, with a gorgeous Vintage style, clearly illustrated and easy to follow instructions- their patterns include a super cute dinky little booklet stuffed full of illustrated instructions and even a glossary of sewing terms to help you in making up their designs- and an equally fabulous website supporting their Patterns and sharing sewing tips, they are definitely one to check out if you haven’t yet.


Their goal, and it shines through whether you are using a Pattern, reading their weekly Snippets email or following a Tutorial, is to make sewing patterns which are exceptional, easily adaptable to a range of fabrics and despite being influenced by the past are modern and wearable.

I was rather in awe of receiving a positive response from Sarai, and yet again I have discovered a book I hadn’t heard of before! I do hope you enjoy the following, please do not hesitate to share in the comments box!


The Eclair, Oolong and Hazel Patterns from Colette available here

Are there any books you love which you could recommend to beginner’s and old hands alike?

I really love the book Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele Margolis, especially for beginner’s! I think she does a great job of explaining the basics for a home sewer, and there are some good ideas and inspiration for more advanced Pattern Makers.

What is the best piece of advice you can give?

As someone who makes Patterns not just for myself, but for a large group of people, finding a good fit model has been key. Fitting on a Dress Form is a great start, but there are so many things that look different on a real, squishy, moving human body.


Is there a piece of equipment you simply cannot do without?

We do our Patterns digitally, so for me it’s our massive 42” plotter. Having done many Patterns by hand, it saves so much time to be able to print and re-print our Patterns as we work out the kinks.

What detail of the Patterns you have designed makes you most proud?

My Negroni Pattern (a Men’s camp shirt), has long been one of my favorites. I find Menswear so fascinating, because it’s very constrained and there are definitely set ways of doing things. I love how traditional it is, but at the same time there are lots of little tricks you can use. I really enjoyed researching and writing about all the proper techniques.  I also love the Anise Jacket Pattern, and the little ebook of techniques we wrote to go with it. Again, I love the Patterns that are a springboard for learning.


Finally, are there any other Pattern Companies you love at the moment? Are you dying to make any of their Patterns up?

My friend Tasia of Sewaholic does trades with me sometimes, and I’m so itching to make her Minoru Jacket! I just need more personal sewing time to make it happen.


The Iris, Lady Grey and Jasmine Patterns by Colette available here

Thank you so very much to Sarai again for joining us for Pattern Month! Although difficult, if you are making Patterns for others it is very important to fit the Toile on the body itself where possible. Sarai quite correctly informs us that this is a very different experience!

For this weeks little treat, I am giving away fabric to make Colette’s Sorbetto Pattern, which is free to download here.

As you can see, you will receive all fabric, notions and a couple of Laura After Midnight Zines to aide your creation of the Sorbetto! It’s a great pattern, and a wonderful place to start if you are just beginning to stitch your own creations. If you are a little more adept, why not visit Colette’s website and change the Pattern up a little? Full confessional: I was supposed to have made up an example, and I have some utterly wondrous Cotton Lawn all at the ready however the ‘flu is still with me and I have just not been able to. I want one so badly however; that I may have to whip one up over the weekend!

2 3 4

I have chosen some lovely Cream Cotton with a print in Green. The best colour match is the final photograph. Along with the Fabric you will receiver Laura After Midnight’s Seams Zine and the Darts, Tucks, Pleats and Gathers Zine as well as matching Cotton Bias Binding, Vintage Buttons and some dainty Trim!

All you have to do to get your name in the hat to win is comment below. Why not share some of your Patterning experiences with us? All comments are welcome! If you are just joining us here on Pattern Month get up to speed here and read the first Pattern Making Musings with Alexandra of IN-HOUSE Patterns here. The competition will run until midnight next Friday GMT as usual.

Next week, as well as the third Pattern Making tutorial all about making Working Patterns, another Pattern related Notions all about Lays and a great Wordless Wednesday, we have Pattern Making Musings from Hannah of Sinbad and Sailor, and another give away!

Happy patterning!


43 thoughts on “Pattern Making Musings: Colette

  1. How fun! I love getting peaks behind the scenes, and I’m madly jealous of Sarai’s plotter.

    I’m an ultra-noob at patternmaking, so simple concepts like ‘use the proper ruler’ and ‘cut all lines away’ are still challenges to me. I’m determined to get better, though, and these interviews are great inspiration!

    • Wow! Thanks for being the 1st to comment AND being so enthusiastic! It really is down to practice however; I think the rewards are fantastic! Thanks for joining us and keep up the good work. Would be fab to see something you have drafted and made xxx

    • That’s what I thought, I’m rather envious but it was the last little bit the shop had so I can’t even make one up for myself!! Thanks for joining us, your names in the hat so fingers crossed xxx

  2. I used to make patterns for my children when they were small. Now I’m learning to fit patterns to my own body. The Sorbetto is just the kind of top I am looking for. So it would be great to win! I love the Colette patterns and the site in general, very inspiring.

    • It’s a lovely little top, and what’s very clever of Colette is that they load up their customer makes so you can have a good old rummage through what everyone else has done to change the style up a bit.
      Don’t forget you can download the top for free even if you don’t win! Good luck!! xxx

  3. Well, I’m also in love with Sarai’s patterns, and lately with her book, which I found to be a very useful resource for a beginner like me. I’ve already sewn a Sorbetto muslin, so my next step is to sew the definitive version. I love the fabric you’ve put on, so I really hope to win!
    P.S. My fav is the Lily dress 🙂

    • Aaah, the Lily is a little cutie pie isn’t it? Someone I know just made it up and it’s gorgeous… I am going to put the Colette book on my Christmas List as despite sewing since I was 7 I still love all sewing books! I hope you follow Pattern Month and find more inspiration to make xxx

  4. What a great giveaway! I’ve made two Sorbetto’s so far (one for me, one for my sister); it’s such a classic pattern!
    I’ve been sewing for a few years now, and I’ve finally learned that it’s OK to go ahead and get the good fabric. I used to limit myself to “sale” fabrics (typically quilting cottons) in case I messed up and ruined my project. I’ve actually never made any big mistakes, due largely to using patterns with clear directions, like Colette!

  5. So cute and easy!! I’m not new to sewing but almost feel like I am because “Life” has kept me so busy raising 2 kids by myself and just making ends meet that I haven’t done much in a long time. I still keep boxes of fabric though. Just can’t give a good piece of fabric away! And I have actually made my own patterns when I lived in South America for 8 1/2 years but they were all very easy Bohemian, floaty things that I then embroidered and hand dyed. You ladies are all fabulous and I feel excited about sewing again.

  6. I “found” Colette patterns a year and a half ago and just LOVE the clear instructions and classic lines of the patterns. I made a big goof on the first thing I sewed–the Crepe
    —–(wrap dress). somehow i missed/skipped over/didnt read an important line of instruction and had no way to wrap the skirt around me! I was frantic and emailed Sarai. she responded almost immediately and was so gentle in her response to me. I am sure the folks at Colette get lots of chuckles–I must say It does me good to laugh at my mistakes–I,have been sewing for almost 50 years!!!

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  9. I haven’t made a sorbetto yet, although I have just made Colette Patterns’ other free pattern, the Madeleine bloomers, and I absolutely love them! Haven’t had time to be keeping up with your pattern making, but I’m filing away all the posts so I can go back to them when I have a bit of time 🙂

  10. Thanks for introducing me to Colette. I’m looking for smart simple patterns like Sorbetto as I refresh my dressmaking skills and think more carefully about what shapes suit me. I think I’ve been too swayed in the past on copying styles that look good on others without first thinking how well they might suit me!

    • I’ve been there! Thinking about what suits you is imperative, and I think making simply the wrong style often puts beginners off because they just think it doesn’t look good because they did something wrong! The Sorbetto suits pretty much everyone though 🙂

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  12. I love Colette patterns! I have made so many of their skirts, including many versions of the Ginger that it would be nice to do a Sorbetto for a complete outfit. 😀 Am excited to see their newest pattern release.

  13. I think it would be fun to lay my Pattern Month tissue on top of the Sorbetto pattern. It would be like an x-ray of the bones to see the structure of the pattern.

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