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Sneak Peek: Fall Pattern Inspiration


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Everyone loves Audrey Hepburn.

It was about the time we were doing a brainstorm of ideas for the upcoming Fall patterns, and I happened to get a copy of Funny Face in the mail from Netflix. I happen to love both Audrey and Fred Astaire, but I hadn’t seen Funny Face in years.

When I watched Audrey in this (rather light and silly) role, I was floored not just by her charisma and charm, but her absolutely perfect and minimal elegance.

What is it about Audrey that women are so drawn to? Many people have cited her elfin sweetness mixed with sophistication, her obvious charisma, the way her intelligence always seems to shine through.

But then there is also her style. Audrey’s style was greatly influenced by her friend Hubert de Givenchy, who created many of her film costumes. It was a minimalist style punctuated with bold accessories that can only be described as elegant and classic. It suited her absolutely. Audrey is quoted as saying, “What is more beautiful than a simple sheath made an extraordinary way in a special fabric, and just two earrings?”

But it wasn’t just Audrey we were thinking of. Rather, it was the classic, effortless, casual styles of the 50s and 60s that she’s come to represent, but which so many other women interpreted in equally charming ways.

Take Marilyn, for example. She is about as far as you can get from Audrey Hepburn, but I personally think she is at her most beautiful in casual (and sometimes candid) photos.

And I’d be lying if I say I wasn’t an eensy bit inspired by none other than Doris Day. I know Doris Day has come to epitomize the ultra squeaky clean goody two shoes, but that woman could dress! I’ve long been a fan of her utterly American chic (not to mention her work for animal welfare).

I think this should give you a little taste of our vintage inspiration for Fall: chic, easy, wearable, and classic. Of course, the trick is translating these into patterns that are still fun, interesting, and modern.

Next week, I’m going to talk a little bit about going from general inspiration to design decisions, so stay tuned!

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

Some related posts you might be interested in:

  • Inspiration tools on the web: Some cool tools I use on the web to keep track of inspiring images.
  • Hubert de Givenchy: If you’re interested in Audrey Hepburn’s style, check out this post Lisa wrote about her close friend and designer, Givenchy.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 48


I am on pins and needles! I can’t wait to see the new patterns. I love every single one of those ladies!


Me too! I am especially a big fan of Marilyn’s.


Oh lawks – I can’t wait to see the patterns. Seeing where you’ve drawn the inspiration from for them makes me think I will love them. Very excited.


I’m glad to hear it! Since they are beginner patterns, I thought it would make a lot of sense to stick to absolute classics.


oh, please tell me this means a narrow, cropped pants pattern is coming! also, the sleeves on both of audrey’s dresses are too cute.


I’m thrilled to hear this! I’ve been wanting to see Colette Patterns release a pant! This will definitely be part of my fall wardrobe.


yaaaaaaaaay! this will motivate me to get un-scared of pants!


So interesting – I’m excited to see what the new patterns will be, though I still haven’t made all the ones I love from your current range!


ooohhhh!!! Can’t wait to see what you have in store and to follow your design process!


I have always been a fan of Katherine Hepburn’s effortless glamour. She comes from a slightly earlier era but also had an aura of casual elegance mixed with classic tailoring and beautiful lines.


I love Katherine Hepburn as well. One of the other design ideas I considered was a Katherine Hepburn style wide-legged trouser. In the end, I decided there were already some great options for that sort of thing out there, like the Wearing History Smooth Sailing pattern. Though I haven’t ruled it out.


Hope you don’t rule the idea out, as your patterns are so well written and fit the modern body better than any other vintage pattern I’ve seen. I actually don’t wear the ‘vintage’ look, just like the classic lines of those silhouettes, and your patterns are so well crafted. So putting in my bid for a Colette wide leg trouser pattern sometime in the not to distant future…


I hope this means we are getting Pants! I have long wondered what pattern magic you folks could work with pants…I feel very giddy now!

Caitlin Rose

Oh I’m so excited. I love the well tailored trousers. so flattering, and everyone looks like they are spending a relaxing day at the hamptons dressed like that.


Agreed! I just love the versatility of a trouser like that. Looks great in cotton for the summer or wool for winter.

Miriana Weston

Can I join the narrow, cropped pants pressure group too?

Vicki Kate

Me three!!!!


I’m very glad to hear this!


Oh it sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to see your new designs! Thanks for sharing this post on your inspiration. It’s very interesting and I hope to hear more about how you go from inspiration to degsign.


Cool! I will talk a little more about that next week. Hopefully it’s as interesting as it seems in theory!


oh my goodness! you must know that Funny Face is my ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE! didn’t mean to shout there, but seriously, it’s my all time favorite movie. I even own the soundtrack on vinyl and play it all time time. I could, jokes aside, act out the entire film from beginning to end by heart. it’s a problem! anyhoo, no matter what, the designs will be awesome based on these inspiration images!


Really?? That’s so cool! I just adore Fred Astaire.

I have the same thing with Some Like It Hot. I know pretty much all the lines!


oh, another good one! marilyn’s comedic ability was so under appreciated! and jack lemon is a frickin’ genius! two other favorites of mine – marilyn’s “how to marry a millionaire” and jack’s “bell book and candle.” talk about sassy outfits- kim novak’s wardrobe in bb&c is insane! anyway, i could go on all night about these old films :)


In many ways Fred Astaire is my ideal man. He can dance, sing and he has a cute wee face. I love Funny Face and while I’m not mad for Audrey Hepburn I am super excited about the possibility of there being a boat-necked dress in the works!


I’m far too timid to make myself pants (plus I hardly ever wear them) but I’m dying to see what the fall will bring in the dresses and skirts genre. I can’t get enough of those!!


Well, if you do decide to try them, I’m sure we’ll do a sewalong or something! The pattern is extremely simple. But of course, with all pants, the magic is in the fitting.

The other patterns will be a dress and a blouse!


Hmm, a sewalong may sway me, because the fitting is what’s really intimidating. I can’t wait to see them!!


Any more simple blouses or tops?


There is one blouse! It’s super cute (I think).


Did you read my mind when you were designing this collection?! Oh, boy! I think I’m going to go gaga for these!!


So excited I could do a blind pre-order :D


I’ve been watching The Kennedy’s on Netflix this week… Jackie had such a great, spare elegance, too. (well, duh, I guess, but these pictures reminded me of her.)


This is such wonderful news! I’m so so excited for the pants! And the blouse! Gahh!!! :D

Beautiful inspiration!


Simple well fitting capri pants with the right top would be lots of fun. Looking forward to the result. Thanks also for the Inspiration Tools – very helpful


Can.Not.Wait! It’s discombobulating sewing summer dresses and blouses during our winter, and I’ll be doing autumn stuff in our spring – but the patterns are OH so worth it.


Great great photo inspiration! Funny, a Netflix cycle or two ago, I just watched a favorite Audrey movie that I had forgotten all about: How to Steal a Million. Such good fun! I hadn’t seen it for several years- amazing how differently you watch a movie when you are actively sewing. My head is still dancing with tailored 60s woolens!

I’m *definitely* in for the pants sewalong too.


Doris Day’s outfits in “Pillow Talk” – stuff of dreams!!!!


Oh my goodness after seeing those photos of inspiration, you can count on my pre-order for all 3 patterns. ;)

I’m so glad you all have taken this route for fall! I’ve been thinking more and more about how I literally had no idea what was fashionable, or understood the art of dressing, before I started sewing for myself. I guess it was because buying whatever was on the rack has always been so quick and easy that I didn’t give too much thought into the construction of the clothes.

But now that I’m making my own pieces I’ve quickly come to terms with the fact that THESE LADIES had it right! Love that quote about Audrey – the simple sheath made in an extraordinary way, and two earrings? Classics are totally the way to go, and I’m thrilled that that’s what you’ve decided on for your fall patterns!

Angelina S.

Yay separates!!! And I’m excited to see the dress too. The one Audrey is wearing in the photo with the balloons is to die for!


I can’t wait to see what you come up! My favorite things to wear are classic items like Audrey. I am so excited! :D
Very fun post.

Natalie | FrizzyDizzy

Oooh! I loooove Audrey! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with for the new patterns. I also just watched a Doris Day movie and loved it.
Great job guys!


Oh! I hope, hope, hopey hope that these images are hinting at Collette Patterns first pant pattern, and that it’s a fitted cigarette li’l number!


Sooooo excited! I may have missed this, but the million dollar question for me is, when will the new patterns be available in the UK please? :-)

Diana Marlow

Can’t wait to see the new fall patterns! Elegant, Classy and Sofisacated!

Lelia Guilbert

It would be nice to see more goody two shoes types. There’ s way too much nastiness, back stabbing, and harsh criticism. I love watching Projrct Runway but I record it so I can breeze past the cattiness, social issues, personal lives, and the endless commercials. I enjoy Coletterie Posts about the pattern making process and the resulting patterns.

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