Detail Inspiration: Sophisticated Patchwork


Patchwork is often associated with fixing holes or adding a cutesy detail to a garment. That’s why it’s a lovely surprise to see patchwork come into its own as a really beautiful detail. These Erdem dresses play with pattern and color to create a unique fabric design. Think about ways you can make patchwork beautiful like these dresses. These are simple silhouettes and it’s the fabric that really makes them stand out.

The edgy leather dress plays with the different textures of leather to create an interesting effect. You don’t have to use leather to get this look, think about double sided fabrics with different textures such as charmeuse. The shiny and matte sides, while the same color, have two very distinct looks.

This dress has a patchwork look but instead of being actual patchwork it’s a printed pattern. While it’s tricky to find a good print, you can always try your hand at making your own with sites such as Spoonflower.

What do you think? Do you like the patchwork look? How would you incorporate it into your sewing?

Images: Black Leather Dress, Printed Patchwork Dress, Erdem Dress 1, Erdem Dress 2

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 13

Amanda Bimble

I love the idea of “edgy patchwork” where colours and textures are used in ways that would look twee in softer/sweeter fabrics. In saying that, I’m yet to try this out but that leather patchwork dress has me thinking…


I personally don’t like patchwork on clothing (unless it is a same pattern madras). I think it harkens back to some really sad early 90’s colorblocking with a bit of Grandma Walton or Laura Ingalls thrown in!


How can I buy the pattern for the patchwork erdem dress with the wide straps?



I LOVE patchwork, and I agree, it’s wonderful to see it embraced by the fashion industry and interpreted in a non-cutesy way. I try to do the same thing with my designs…patchwork doesn’t have to look Little House on the Prairie. It can be bold and edgy and very modern! Also it’s a perfect way to contrast textures, like that awesome leather dress above!


In my opinion, patchwork can be tricky to wear because it can look home sewn. I have a pair of jeans that have patchwork on it and whenever I wear it, I wear a pair of heels or statement piece of jewelry to make it look chic and not farmer.


I agree with Valerie, patchwork and colorblocking can be as bold and modern as you want it to be. I guess it depends upon how limited one’s imagination is. Also patchwork and colorblocking can be used to move the eye to where you want the viewer to look (just like in painting, photography or graphic design.) If one were a pear shape and wanted to draw the viewer’s eye towards the bust area and away from the hips, I can think of a multitude of ways to accomplish this just using patchwork alone. If one wanted to look taller or thinner, patchwork that employed vertical lines/blocks could be used, and on and on. Patchwork doesn’t need to look like you’ve made a garment out of calico scraps in an homage to crazy quilts, it can be used to fool the eye in subtle and not so subtle ways depending upon your fabric and design choices.

Thanks for this wonderful blog post, it’s given me lot’s of ideas to sketch and mull over, possibly using some of my simpler patterns like Peony and Ginger!

nothy lane

I love patchwork but I’ve never considered it on clothing much. I love the pics you posted. It is an exciting new concept and I will definitely explore it. I think I have always thought of patchwork as imperfect because of the patchwork quilts I’ve inherited from my grandmother. I have fallen into the trap of thinking of patchwork as very Little House on the Prairie. This use of patchwork is a whole different ballgame!


I love those Erdem dresses! I would love to experiment more with patchwork, it is
a good way to use scraps!

Deb Cameron

I have had those Erdem patchwork dresses in my sewing inspiration folder for around 12 months, I am so making me a dress like that for our Aussie Spring – thanks for reminding me :-)


See, I’m fine with the whole hippy/LHotP look to patchwork. I loved my 90’s patchwork, frayed jeans, still do. But I also enjoy seeing the more sophisticated pathwork offerings pictured here.

I’m a quilter so I guess it’s just part of being on that side of sewing. I’m JUST starting to get my feet wet in the garment sewing world.


It’s definitely a 90s thing, but it seems many things 1990s have been popping into fashion (rayon floral dresses with short flowy skirts, ankle boots, colored jeans, etc). At first glance, I’m not liking it and it may need time to grow on someone like me. I know it would be difficult for most sewers to create it without it looking like grandma’s quilt. I am kinda digging the leather dress–same color, different textures–but it does kinda remind me of a purse I had in 1994.


Yes, the 90’s do seem to be having a revival. I’m okay with that. I was only 23 when the millenium came around. The 90’s are filled with teen nostalgia for me.


Patchwork is fun…and easy to do if you have a serger with flatlock stitch. It’s easy to do and a great way to create unique fabric. I’d sew up big chunks of fabric first then lay out, cut your pattern. As for that faux stretch leather, Vogue Fabrics has some. It’s not cheap, but it’s a heck of a lot thriftier than the RTW you see in the stores.

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