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Colette Sewing Handbook: The Pastille Pattern


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One thing I knew I wanted in The Colette Sewing Handbook from the beginning: A classic shift dress.

Pastille is about as classic as it gets. It could be your favorite little black dress, or just the right simple shape to work with a bold pattern. Can’t you just see it in a bright, large scale floral?

Since Pastille comes in the chapter on fit, it needed to be a fairly simple, tailored shape. But I also wanted it to have some clever, subtle details to play around with. The pretty sweetheart neckline has a small bow, which you can finish with large beads, like I did. For this dress, we used a light peach cotton poplin, and finished the bow with copper colored glass beads.

The hem has some adorable horizontal pleats, and I even show you how to mark them with thread tracing to make them super easy to sew. I’ve always wanted to add this vintage-style detail to a dress. I think it looks especially pretty with prints, actually.

What do you guys think? Any questions about this pattern? I do hope you like it, because it’s one of my favorites right now!

Next week, I’ll share another pattern, and then lots more behind the scenes stuff, including a little video I’m putting together from our photoshoot. It’s pretty silly, and I think you’ll get a real sense for how fun our shoots can be.

Some other posts you may be interested in:

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 38


I love this, sometimes the simplest designs can be the prettiest (and it’s easy to make them your own with a few extra details). It’s definitely going to the top of my post-pregnancy sewing list!


it’s beautiful, a perfect wardrobe builder. Absolutely loving all of these patterns so far!

Anna | Mormor hade stil

A truly classic dress with endless possibilities.


I am SUPER EXCITED about getting this book! I pre-ordered it last week. I love the details on this dress, the simplistic understated elegance. Mostly, I love the fact that these patterns look like garments that are way beyond my sewing level, but in reality they are really doable and manageable! Thank You!


Thanks Rebecca! So nice to see people excited!


My goodness, I cannot wait to make this! It is so unbelievably pretty! And the cap sleeves are just so adorable. Actually I have a question, do you have any techniques in the book on adding linings to dresses? Do any of the items in the book require them? I’ve a long way to go before I master perfect linings!


Yes, in fact there is info about adding linings, and about attaching them to zippers as well. One of the patterns in the book (which I’ll share soon) has a lining.


I love this dress and I am looking forward (read super excited and very impatient) to receiving your book which I pre-ordered as soon as I heard about it. I really like sweetheart necklines for some reason and so the dress is even more interesting to me.

Will you be doing a sew-a-long, since this is in the chapter about fit??


I haven’t gotten the chance to plan that far yet, but I’m sure it will happen at some point. :)


Yes, I do like it. I’m especially drawn to the hem detail. Really looking forward to the book! (I’ve pre-ordered, so I can get it asap!)


Just to let you know, I have told everyone one I know about this book!


Wonderful, thank you!


Classic is definitely the word. It’s a lovely dress and well suited to a chapter on fit. I love the little sleeves. I’m more likely to be hot than cold so I like little sleeves that keep a dress work appropriate if I get too hot and ditch the cardigan/jacket I’m wearing with it.


I love this dress, great choice of book cover! Fitted dresses (especially at the bodice) are my favorite. You ladies have the coolest jobs ever!

Just wondering if you can say how many yards of fabric this dress requires? I just ask because I have some fabric I’d love to use for this design but I’m thinking it might not be enough. Thanks!


It takes about 3 yards or slightly under of 45″ wide fabric, depending on your size. If you have 60″ wide fabric, it’s under 2 yards for most sizes.



I was wondering, did you happen to take a picture of the back of this dress? I just want to know what the back of those sleeves look like and if mine are correct? Thanks!


Hmm, I can look around and see if I have one. I don’t think we did many back views.


This is so cute! I just get this feeling it would look bad on my pear shaped body… it’d be all Hey ther-THIGHS!!
Can’t wear everything I guess. But it’s so cute I want to test the theory it won’t look good on me….


Ha! Well, you could always modify the skirt to make it more a-line. Different look, I guess, but it would still be very cute!


Absolutely gorgeous dress.. want book nowwwww….
Jo – I’m a pear… repeat after me, we have hips, we are women :)…. I wear shift dresses like this. With enough ease in the butt area, they look good. Important thing is size. And this dress will be even more flattering than my staple sleeveless fitted sheath, since the cap sleeves give the shoulders prominence. Do not be afraid…..

sarah ellis

Hey Sarai
I absolutly adore your patterns. As a UK plus size it is so nice to be able to make vintage inspired patterns that actually fit. I have preordered the book from amazon, but have to wait until December to get it here :( I have the perfect purple floral fabric waiting just for this. Keep up the good work. I am spreading the word to everyone I know!


Excited about the pleated hem, one of my favorite details ever, and a marvelous way to bring up a lot of length fast.


I have just started to sew (10 days ago!), and your book was the first one I bought! I just finished the meringue skirt and this is my next project! I want to add sleeves however, as I do not like my arms, and don’t enjoy hiding my dresses under cardigans!… any tutorials on how to do this? What would your advice be?

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