30 favorite projects, tutorials and topics of 2012


Going through the blog for this last year to put this together was pretty astonishing.

I’m especially impressed by all the fantastic discussions we’ve had here. No drama, no snark, just a lot of very thoughtful ideas and opinions from some really smart and creative people.

I want to thank all of you for participating so fully in this blog. As it’s evolved over time, one thing I’ve realized is that my favorite part of blogging is hearing from you.

And not just because I’m vain and like the validation (though I won’t deny those instincts), but because you guys always contribute useful, inspiring ideas and fresh points of view. And you do it with respect for each other, which is rare on the interwebs.

So thank you for being a part of this.

I rounded up a few of my favorite posts from this year. 10 projects that I made, 10 interesting discussions we had, and 10 of my favorite tutorials.

10 favorite projects I sewed:


10 favorite discussions we had:


10 favorite tutorials or tips:


We also introduced Lily, Hazel, and Iris in the Spring and Juniper and Anise in the Fall. In addition to all of this, we had a great Anise Sew-along with lots of you participating. Really fun stuff guys!

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 18


I’ve had a great half year following your blog and look forward to an even better ’13!!

Could you please stop letting ‘Sew’ Magazine in the UK give away your patterns in their magazine for free though? It’s so annoying to have bought your book and a few extra patterns and then have had two of the book patterns appear for free in a magazine! (Thank you!) xx


But denying others these free patterns will hardly benefit you? I think it’s great, and a good opportunity for Colette to get the exposure that is deserved.


If the book patterns appear for free, that would be between Sew and my publisher (though I don’t have a problem with it). I believe the other patterns Sew has given away from us were a gift when you subscribe to the magazine.

I see where you’re coming from, but I think the idea is to give Sew readers a sample of what’s in the book, not just give everything away. Hopefully you feel you get a lot more out of buying the book than just one or two free patterns would provide!


Yes, the discussions here are always very interesting – and unusually friendly, as you say, even though they sometimes touch on some potentially controversial subjects. You must set just the right tone with your posts, I reckon. Happy New Year, Sarai!


What an excellent round-up, I look forward to pouring over it when I get home from work ;o) I absolutely love this space you’ve created Sarai, it’s a real pleasure to be a part of it!


I love the tutorials and even more so the comments about them! People are so resourceful you can learn lots of amazing tricks just reading the comments. I would love you make a tutorial about transferring markings from patterns to fabric; I always have lots and lots of trouble when working with slippery fabrics. Also I live in Europe and the fact that in American patterns you don’t see the line were you have to sew makes me quite nervous. I rather go through the work of marking the seam allowances by hand. Anyway, wonderful blog and patterns. I’m already waiting for your next book – something to improve intermediate skills would be heaven.


Hi Ines!

Have you tried using wax paper to transfer your markings? I just recently started using it to transfer markings in my pattern, and it makes a world of difference!

Here’s an example I found on how to use it:

Hope this helps! :)


Woah, Amanda,
Thank you very much for your answer! I read the post that you recommend and it is very good. I already knew the existence of the tracing wheels but never had read such detailed how to. Reading the post I have realized a strange thing:
Normally in Europe patterns have no seam allowance. For this reason to trace a pattern you do it on the wrong side – i.e. usually you have the wrong side of the fabric facing out and the good inwards – and then you mark the margin you want “away” from the paper pattern. The post indicates that you must fold the tracing paper in half so the coloured chalk is showing on both sides. Sandwich it in between the 2 layers of fabric, so that you can mark both at the same time.
For me this didn’t have much sense because then the marks would end up on the correct side of the fabric and you run the risk of fixing them in fabric with the iron. But in the post I realized that in the USA do not need to mark the seam allowances so you can put the wrong side of the fabric facing inwards and thus mark both sides at once.
Also in the same blog I have seen that also there are double tracing wheels! And that would be really helpful since I would mark both allowances and markings fast and easy. I see how this can make a huge difference and save me lots of time from now. I already sense a good “sewing year” coming for me. ;-)


Hi Ines! I’m so glad the link helped out!

I learned about the wax paper from Susan Khalje’s Craftsy class, The Couture Dress ( I have yet to make the dress that comes along with the class, but just the techniques and tips she teaches in that class are invaluable!

I’m a bit of a perfectionist sometimes, and it really bothered me that marking the darts and symbols by hand were never quite perfect. Plus, I like having a line to follow on my sewing machine, rather than sewing between the two dots I used to make with chalk. I think the wax paper will help you make those perfect lines for margins, as well – and save you a lot of anguish and time!

I’m glad this helps! :)


Hi Sarai! Thanks so much for posting this! I just spent some time this morning reading through all my favorite posts from this list. :) I completely agree with you – and think about this often when I read all the comments on this page – this is such an upbeat group, and it’s always so pleasant to read through everyone’s thoughts on sewing. I definitely attribute it to your positive attitude and interesting and thoughtful topics that you post. Thanks so much for all your inspiration!

Also – I couldn’t help but comment on that electric blue Hazel. I think that’s quite possibly my favorite hand-sewn garment of all time! :) The color and pattern placement are just perfect.

Thank you again for all that you do for this community. :) You inspired me to pick up sewing as a hobby two years ago, and I’m a better woman today because of it! I wish all the best to you and Kenn in the coming year. :)


I discovered your website via your free Sorbetto pattern. I have since purchased a number of your fabulous patterns and have had so much fun making them up. I have even made several items for family members as Christmas presents. I’m in the process of making a couple of dresses.

2 things I learnt in 2012: 1) Experiment and have fun. I used to stick rigidly to paper patterns, but now I have the courage, thanks to your posts, to try different techniques. 2) The wonders of homemade bias binding. All of a sudden, everything I make looks that little more professional. I thought bias binding would need expensive equipment, time and effort. I can now run up yards and yards of bias binding in 30 mins and all I needed was a ruler, rotary cutter and a sewing machine – everything I already had! I even found the courage to post my creations on the Flickr site as a result :)

Thanks for all your hard work and brilliant tips, which have made me a better crafter. Can’t wait for the next post :) Happy New Year!

elizabeth rehmer

THis blog is wonderful and chock full of tips and tricks to help a newbie sewer (sewist?) like me. I look so forward to “13!! Happy New Year all!


Happy New Year! These are a great lists, thanks for sharing it. Some of the posts I had completely forgotten about and it is nice to be reminded of such great info that is here. Keep up the great work and we all look forward to seeing what you have in store for the year to come :)


Thank you for the’year in review’ post. As a newish follower, it was a good way to catch up. The discussions are great. I’m struggling with my look as a stay at home Mom of 3. My body has changed, and after 9 years in yoga pants (or PJs) I feel like my sense of style is deflating along with other parts. So, I’m going to be looking for my “style icon” as an inspiration kickstart. HNY!

Anne Howe

I love this roundup of 2012. I can sew but not that well and making my own clothes has evaded me so far. The tutorials are so helpful and I am going to have a go at your great trouser pattern. Any ideas if it would work with a hemp fabric? Thanks


Like a linen-type natural hemp? Depends a bit on weight, but most likely it would work. I need to get more familiar with hemp, it seems like a fiber with a lot to offer.

Anne Howe

Thank you Sarai I am looking to make them in hemp as a sustainable alternative to cotton and will give it a go.


It’s been awesome being a part of the Sew Colette community – I really look forward to what’s in store for the year ahead! :)

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