Thanks for reading the Colette blog!  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


Seamwork 16: The Celebration Issue


Hey there & thank you for reading the Colette blog!

This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

Go to Seamwork


The March issue of Seamwork is up and ready for you to read!

In this issue:


Some favorite quotes from this issue:

“This is a practical guide to the fascinating world of the common sewer, for any spouse, friend, or concerned bystander wishing to understand the curious nature of this once rare but increasingly common beast. In ten quick minutes learn to identify, engage with, and corral any sewers you may encounter. The author takes no responsibility for any harm or death that may arise from misuse of this guide. ” -Jenny Rushmore, A Field Guide to the Common Sewer

“Poll a room full of sewists, and most will tell you they find sewing relaxing. We call it a therapy session, self-empowerment vehicle, and canvas for creative self-expression, all rolled into one.” -Jessica Yen, Breathing Easy

“Anyone who has wrestled with the extra-pointy bust darts, tiny waist, and slim hips of a 1950s wiggle dress pattern can tell you that although sewing with vintage patterns can be rewarding, fit is often frustrating. ” -Allie Jackson, Finding Inspiration from Vintage Patterns

And here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:


If you’re searching for the perfect dress for your next gala, garden party, or other formal event, look no further than Catarina. This midi-length dress is designed to flatter a variety of figures. The gathered skirt, tie and elasticized waist, figure skimming top, and adjustable shoulder straps give you the flexibility to adjust this dress to your shape.

Make Catarina out of a beautiful silk charmeuse fabric, pair it with your favorite pair of special occasion heels and a Valencia clutch (Seamwork Issue No. 1), and you’ll glide into the party with confidence. Catarina also makes a great casual summer dress or layering piece. Make it out of a slinky rayon, pair with espadrilles, and a wide brimmed hat and you’re ready for a day on the boardwalk. For a more transitional look you can combine Catarina with an Astoria sweater (Seamwork issue No. 5) or a collared shirt tied up at the waist, and finish off the look with a pair of flats.


You’ve planned the perfect party, and now you need the perfect dress. Kenedy’s sweet and simple trapeze style will make getting ready for your next social event a breeze – just toss on a pair of heels and a statement necklace and you’re set to host that dinner party you’ve been scheming for months.

At first glance, Kenedy is a sweet a-line dress with a boat neck and a flattering cap sleeve. You’ll leave an impression when you turn around to reveal the plunging back v-neckline which finishes off with a pretty and simple tie closure. With Kenedy in your closet you will always be ready for your next cocktail party.

You can visit to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 44


Got up today and rushed to check out the new issue. The two dresses — love at first sight :-) Now to dive into the articles… Thanks for your work, guys. You make the first of the month a very exciting day.


Thanks for the kind words :)


Lovely! As per usual of course. :) I love all of the columns, but particularly Block Paper Scissors, in which you offer us even more ways to make variations, and new-ish Seamwork Style, where we get see different ways to style the garments. Thank you so much!

Can you tell us where to find the black leather flats from Catarina/Astoria photo in this issue’s Seamwork Style? I love them, too!


Thanks, Becky! The flats are from Old Navy.


Great, thanks!

Rebecca Pelletier

If I buy the copy of this months magazine do the patterns come with it? I am able to just purchase one month at a time, correct? Would love of course to purchase all but am just not able to do that. Thanks!


If you subscribe this month, you’ll get 2 Seamwork credits to use on any patterns, including Catarina and Kenedy. You can also purchase individual patterns for $7 each, but the current month’s designs are only available to subscribers. Both Catarina and Kenedy will be available for individual purchase on the 1st of next month!

Rebecca Pelletier

Thank you for your response.

SJ Kurtz

I wish we could have seen the whole Peggy Hunt dress, inside out and laid down, with a closeup of the illusion neckline/lace/modesty panel interior. The photos don’t give me a clear view of the construction techniques.

Your photography tends to emphasize pretty over content. It’s a style choice, I know, but it’s frustrating.


Thanks for the feedback! We’ll keep this in mind for the next round of Behind the Seams.


Such a great issue, who knew I deserved satin dresses?


The two dresses aren’t my “style” (no one wants to see my batwings!). But I was thinking both might be modified into pretty pretty sleepwear! The a line into a shorter version with bottoms and the Catarina with some of the fullness removed and made into a lovely ballet length gown!

Articles are fantastic as always! I rush every first of the month to my computer!


I’m in the don’t-hide-your-batwings camp, but I agree, both patterns would actually make some really elegant PJs!


Sorry, confused person here. What are “batwings” in this context? Neither of the dresses features batwing sleeves…


Otherwise known as “bingo wings” or “dinner lady arms” – when the untoned flesh/ and or skin on your upper arms hangs down and jiggles when you raise your arms, especially when you wave.


Hi Pelly. Thanks for taking the time to reply to what must have looked like a really naive question.

Am I satisfied I know this now?… Half-satisfied, and half-wishing we didn’t have all these ways to enumerate what is “wrong” with our bodies. Please don’t get me wrong: I do see that there’s some intended humor in the descriptions, and I certainly am not keen on policing how people want to talk about their bodies.

But I hope we can make room for some gentleness with ourselves (and others). My flabby arms and I really want to make that dress and wear it, in spite of not feeling like a supermodel.

It seems to me, too, that something like a flutter cap sleeve (don’t even know if that’s a thing but maybe it can be) would be an interesting pattern hack for Catarina. If you don’t mind romantic style.


I really love the line drawings of both of these dresses, but if I’m honest, the standard of sewing in the samples doesn’t give me confidence in the standard of drafting. The Catarina is gorgeous, but that dart has quite a pucker at the end. The Kenedy is so badly sewn that I frankly can’t even admire the design…the hem is rippled, the back neck is rippled, the CB seam looks unpressed, the sleeve is sitting strangely, there is extra fabric at the front of the shoulder…this doesn’t make me want to pay for your product.


I can see what you are saying, Kieran, and I can assure you that the drafting for the patterns themselves is spot on. We chose difficult fabrics for the samples, and as you noted, they do not show off the potential of the patterns well! The line drawings are true to the patterns, and we will definitely work on representing them better in the future. Thanks for the feedback, and definitely feel free to shoot me an email if you have more thoughts.


Hi Meg, thanks for the reply. I do still loooove the Catarina, and am considering buying it, but the things that are holding me back are: if you know that there are ways to prevent seam puckering and didn’t use them, then how do I as a customer trust that you used all the best techniques for drafting? If you were under time pressure for sewing and the sample sewer used fabrics that they were unexperienced with, then how can I trust that the drafting wasn’t rushed or beyond the skill of the pattern drafter? It seems to me like if Colette is willing to let sewing standards slip, then drafting standards could also slip.
I am well aware that if I sewed these samples up in a tricky fabric, I could get a very similar result. But, I’m not trying to sell my product, and I am not claiming that I am a professional.
I hope this comment isn’t seen as rude…I am genuinely just trying to explain my thought process. If the samples were better sewn, you most likely would have gained a new subscriber this month.


That totally makes sense to me; a well-sewn sample is huge in helping me decide if I am going to invest the time and fabric in something. If it looks like the pattern creator had trouble making it look professional, it definitely gives me pause.


You don’t sound rude. We’re going to work on ways to improve the representation of the patterns. I will definitely take your thoughts to the team, so thanks for taking the time to write.


Thank you for the lovely issue. I think that the current patterns are beautiful. I love the ballet camisole dress and the tiny cap sleeves on the second dress. I definitely will be purchasing both of them. Just wanted to say I thought it was lovely. I am inspired.


I like what you’re trying to do, and those dresses can be lovely sewn well in the right fabric for the right figure.

But I have to say the quality of sewing, especially of the Kenedy, leaves much to be desired. The seams are badly puckered and rippled as someone else has said :-(


That’s a good point, Patricia, and maybe this can become a lesson to choose the right fabric. While we chose a difficult fabric for the samples, the rippling and puckering can be prevented with some careful pressing and staystitching of the curves. Thanks for the feedback!


Lovely issue an lovely dresses. I really dig the Kenedy.

But I also did notice the puckered seams of the Kenedy dress.
And… I think the “Fehlerteufel” struck – the numbers of the descriptions of the march digs do not correspond with the actula pictures. But I guess that could be easily fixed.

However.. I am really impressed with all the work you do and how much “value” we get from you so frequently.


Oops, did we forget to tell you that Seamwork Digs is a match-the-number-to-the-picture game? Kidding, that was an error, and it’s fixed now. Thanks for the heads up!


What would you think of sewing the Catarina in a cotton lawn? I’m not a big fan of shimmery fabrics…

About the Kennedy:
I don’t think the craftsmanship of the example/photographed piece is indicative of the quality of the pattern’s draftsmanship. We all make mistakes and have imperfections to our work. In my experience, Seamwork patterns are well drafted and easy to create. Most of my wardrobe is made from Seamwork patterns. Don’t let one imperfect garment turn you away from a great company.


Catarina would be lovely in a lawn! There are even more fabric ideas in Swatch Service if you haven’t checked it out yet.


I figured it out, but the ‘Seamwork Digs’ section was confusing because the numbers had nothing to do with the graphic.


It’s fixed now!


yes, that kennedy dress would never pass muster with a 4H county fair judge…. i’m gonna assume that it was a question of just not enough time to mess with a somewhat tricky fabric. probably no reflection on draftsmanship – which has always been good in my experience – but you might want to take the time estimate with a grain of salt if you’re going to use something slippery.


It was definitely a question of fabric choice, although there are ways to prevent puckering and rippling, like I noted above. Thanks for the note about the drafting, and no, these issues are not a result of the patterns themselves! It’s not a bad idea to always add some extra time for slippery projects :)


Beautiful issue, love the patterns. Keep up the great work!


Wow, I’m surprised at the shaming of the sample sewer for these new patterns! I see sewn versions of things all over the internet that I would likely wad rather than wear but someone put in a good deal of time to sew and present them and they are happy with the work. And I think the samples here do a great job of showing a well put together quick pattern that WE the sewer can use to show our off our skills, if we so desire. In fact, I had to scroll back to see what all of the fuss was about. I was looking at the lines, which was the only thing I needed to see to know whether or not I wanted the pattern. If the draft was off, I wouldn’t know this from the picture; I would know when I started working with the pattern!
I also have to remind myself that I see much poorer quality in RTW ALL THE TIME!!! Yes, puckered seams at Nordstrom for $200. In polyester, no less. You don’t think so? Keep shopping.
Really, the complainers would be much happier drafting their own patterns. Then they can experience firsthand how difficult it is to do this. I didn’t even draft them and I wasn’t going to get them this month, but I’m even feeling the pain.


I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE the two patterns of this month and I will take both (and it did not happen since September 2015).
Congratulations Colette team you are great (even with all your mistakes, beacause you are not perfect), please continue with your precious work.

Debbie Cook

Do you have an experienced sewer editing Seamwork articles? For instance, the article on bias bindings has so many mistakes. Not typos, but actual incorrect information. From the very first paragraph where the author writes that bias tape and bias binding are the same thing, to the samples/tutorial below where the author calls the first example “bias binding” when it’s really a bias facing and then in the second example calls a regular facing a bias facing.

It’s really sad when beginners are being taught bogus information. Even sadder when a business is propagating that information and then profiting from it. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of editing oversight in Seamwork, which gives me, an experienced sewer, great pause in contemplating any Seamwork or Colette patterns.


Thanks for the feedback, Debbie. It is appreciated. We have now clarified a few of the terms in that article , to clear up any confusion. I am sorry to hear that it would give you pause, as it is not a reflection of our patterns, but please feel free to email me if you have additional thoughts.


Wow! Sorry for all the negativity!

My comment has to do with the “Field Guide…” article. I laughed so hard at it! Thank you for this witty article!

What fabric is the Catarina dress actually made of? Silk Charmeuse?

Thanks so much for everything! …off to read more!


Glad it made you laugh! The Catarina sample was made from silk, yes. It was bought locally, but we matched it to this fabric from Mood.

Deborah Morrison

Thanks for some really great articles this month. The “Field Guide…” article was delightfully funny. The article on Lesage was fascinating and the photos were the perfect choice to illustrate this amazing piece of fashion history. Like the first commenter, I always look forward to opening my email on the first of the month and seeing what creative lane your team has traveled down.


Lovely issue! I’m scheming ways to make both Catarina and Kennedy office appropriate (extra-extra long slinky cardi, maybe?) because I definitely wanna swan around in them, even though I worry a little about whether or not I can pull off Kenedy. Beautiful work as always!


I was wondering if you could post a pattern hack to lengthen the sleeves in the Kenedy pattern. That would be my way of making it office appropriate. I was thinking 3/4, slightly gathered sleeves, but any help with it is greatly appreciated.


Catarina is EXACTLY what I was looking for–something lovely to wear to the many weddings I’ll be attending this spring/summer. Plus Katarina was my nickname as a child, and even though that’s a random connection, it makes me feel like the dress will be extra-special to me! I’m thinking that a wrap-around ballet cardigan would go nicely with it (and Astoria for something more work appropriate).

Typos and small mistakes happen. I think in the sewing community there are probably a lot of particularly sharp eyes to notice (and desire to mend) these things. But I have to say–Seamworks brings me an awful lot of joy every month. I haven’t sewn much from the patterns yet, but reading it makes me feel like I’m capable of finding the time and motivation and room in my heart to do so. It’s inspirational! Keep on doing what you’re doing!


Thanks for the kind words, Katherine. Very glad to hear you find inspiration each month. When you finish Catarina, I’d love to see it!

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.