What We Made Vol. 2

See what we whipped up (and lessons learned) this August.
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Here are some of the projects we’ve been making and wearing around the studio this month.

Sarai’s merlot Savannah cami

sarai-merlot-cami

merlot-hardware-collage

Who: Sarai
Role: Founder, chief cat herder
Pattern: The Savannah camisole from Seamwork (buy it here)
Fabric: rusty wine-colored silk georgette, purchased locally at Mill End store.

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?

It must be the 90s child in me, but I’m obsessed with silk camisoles. They’re so light in hot weather, and so nice to layer with sweaters when it gets cold. Ever since the Savannah came out, I’ve been squirreling away pretty silks to use. I just fell in love with this rusty merlot color.

I was originally going to add antique black lace trim, but after painstakingly piecing the lace on, zigzagging around all the little curved lace edges, I realized that it was way too fragile and was tearing! I spent over an hour ripping out the tiny zigzag stitches, probably more time than I spent making the rest of the top.

See also: My August sewing plans

How do you plan to wear it?

Right now, just like this: tucked into my black Mabel skirt. When it starts getting colder, I’ll layer on some luxurious cardigans (and the terra cotta sweater coat I’m knitting).

What did you learn?

  • When working with antique trims, test their integrity before you apply.
  • More important, I learned how helpful it is to set an intention before I sew. Before I worked on this, I made a conscious decision to not get stressed out if something went wrong, and to enjoy the process. When the lace incident happened, I was annoyed for a second, took a deep breath, put a new podcast on the headphones, and got out the seam ripper.
  • Walking feet are magic! I finally invested in the Bernina walking foot, and it made sewing with this delicate, slippery, bias-cut silk a piece of cake. I love it!
  • Baby hems can make a great neckline finish. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to finish the neckline after abandoning my lace, so I looked through one of my lingerie sewing books for inspiration. There was a brief mention of baby hems for edges, so I tried it using the method from our previous tutorial. It looks great! I’ll definitely use it again for edges like this on light fabrics.

What are you most proud of?

  • Honestly, I’m most proud that I didn’t curse or throw anything when I realized I needed to undo all that hard work with the lace.

Sarai’s big floral shirtdress

sarai-floral-shirtdress

Who: Sarai
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 7629, a button-up shirt from the 80s. I lengthened it to a dress. (Here’s one on ebay, ends today)
Fabric: Rayon challis from fabric.com

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?

I love rayon and I love huge granny florals, so when I saw this fabric, I had to have some. I wanted a dress with clean lines, so I decided on a loose shirt dress.

I had this pattern from the 80s in my stash, which I lengthened to a dress. I used the sleeveless version and kept it short because… it’s a lot of print.

How do you plan to wear it?

While it’s warm, I’ll wear it just like this. Once it starts cooling off, I think it’ll work well with tights and a jacket. Being sleeveless makes it easy to layer.

What did you learn?

  • Don’t underestimate what you can sew in small chunks of time! I made this over about 4 blocks of time here and there.
  • Stop whining and start sewing! I wanted to finish this dress last night, but was complaining to Kenn that I didn’t have enough time. After a minute of this, I said, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to stop whining right now and just sew.” And I finished it. But even if I hadn’t, I would have done something, and it would have been a lot more enjoyable than wringing my hands about how busy I am.

What are you most proud of?

Mostly, I’m just proud that I made the two pieces I’d planned to make this month, and they are exactly what I want to wear and feel like me. It’s got me excited to plan my September projects.

Haley’s floaty Sorbetto

haley-sorbetto

Who: Haley
Role: Managing Editor
Pattern: Sorbetto, free from Colette
Fabric: I used a lovely linen-silk blend that I bought from The Fabric Store in Los Angeles about a year ago.

What was your original inspiration for this project? How did it come to be?

Originally, I had bought the fabric because I was going to go to Hawaii and I want to pack really light. My plan was to make 3 simple woven tanks, and 2 t-shirts, to pair with shorts and a [Mabel](https://www.colettepatterns.com/catalog/mabel] skirt.

Like most self imposed sewing deadlines I didn’t quite meet the goal I had set a week before leaving. This fabric has been a glaring reminder of that failure, until last week when I made it into the breezy top it always wanted to be.

How do you plan to wear it?

I am excited about the versatility of this piece! I plan on wearing it with skirts and jeans, layering sweaters and cardigans over it as the weather cools down.

What did you learn?

  • Cutting all of your fabric at once (including your bias tape!) is such a time saver, especially when sewing in a small work space.
  • I straightened the waist of the Sorbetto a bit because I wanted a more relaxed look, but I would definitely add more shaping next time. This is a great example of things you like in theory versus what you actually feel great in.

What are you most proud of?

I love making dresses, the problem is I do not wear them nearly as often as I wear separates these days. I am proud that I stuck with my plan and made something that will get a lot of wear. I plan on making a few more out of some pretty silks I have stashed away.

What did you make this month?

Feel free to leave a link in the comments (even if it’s just a photo on instagram!) if you have one too. We’d love to see!

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.

More about our writers

Comments 28

Erika justthatdiy.wordpress.com

really love the cami, so pretty and dainty!

Hannah iamcinderellis.wordpress.com

Ooh love all of these – it’s always interesting to see what you get up to aside from the brilliant designing :)

I finally made my first (and second) Laurel dress… they’re both already in constant rotation! First one is up on my blog here.

maggie maggiemakesitbetter.com

I made swatch cards for my stash!

And Burda 7798 in a RK cobalt chambray. (No photos of the finished object, but here’s the cutting phase)

Sarai colettehq.com

Swatch cards are so so handy! I need to update mine.

Charlotte englishgirlathome.com

Love these posts – you guys make such amazing things! It’s also reminded me that I need to make that cami.

Melissa craftrambler.blogspot.com

I love seeing what you all are making!
I recently finished a self-drafted pencil skirt and a Seamwork Mesa Dress. I’m almost finished with another Mesa :)

Nuala

I love love love your shirtdress. I made a Hawthorne blouse with very similar fabric…but then I had a baby and it’s now too tight! If I ever fit into it again I’ll blog about it. In the meantime I have just finished my fourth, yes fourth, Laurel.

divebunny

I made a Moneta with some cute cloud fabric.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/176907091589566973/

Piper blogspot.com

I love the airy fabrics, clean lines, and especially the color palette you ladies chose! I am inspired to try lightweight fabrics again; I usually avoid them like potholes. A walking foot, hmm?

Lately I have been inspired to be working with a lot of plaid….

Sarai colettehq.com

Walking feet are supposed to be great for plaid too! They keep the fabric from shifting, so you can match stripes easily.

Alex

Lovely! Sarai, what knitting pattern are you using for the sweater coat?

Sarai colettehq.com

It’s a vintage pattern from the 1960s, just some little bulky knits booklet I have. I’m using Quince & Co yarn. I’ll probably share it on my personal instagram and maybe here when it’s done. :)

Susan oldbuttonsnewthreads.wordpress.com

I LOVE that shirt dress! The fabric is gorgeous! The only thing I completed was my Aster but I did cut out a Savannah with some vintage fabric I bought a while back. Looking forward to sewing it up!

Donna

I love the merlot cami! I can’t go braless because my nipples show through, and I don’t like strapless bras because my sweat just makes them fall down to my waist. Will you be making a pattern hack where there is an added shelf bra to the cami?

Sandy magpiestitcher.wordpress.com

You can solve part of the nipple problem by using double layers – cut an entire second cami pattern (except the straps, natch) and sew it on like a full-length facing. This will make it a *little* warmer, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem with a light fabric.

Ani

I found some really cool adhesive nipple pasties on amazon this summer that totally revolutionized my world. They’re silicon, washable and last quite awhile. I have fibromyalgia and even though I’ve got DDs flopping around I still sometimes can’t wear bras or tops with shelf bras. The adhesive on the pasties didn’t bother me — they have non adhesive ones that I use too for being able to wear my Florence bras freely in the world, but obvs not as good for going braless.

Stina P stinap.com

Three lovely pieces – but I’m just as interested in the Bernina walking foot. :) So it’s really worth buying? What version (number) did you buy?

Sarai colettehq.com

I love it so far! It’s the #50. I’ve tried out all three soles, and I think I will be using it a LOT. It makes me want to try making a quilt again this winter!

Stina P stinap.com

Thanks Sarai! The one that really is an investment…. :) Well, I’m not planning on a quilt, but if it could make sewing with slippery silks a bit easier… Because I do love silk!

Wiebke naehzimmerblog.de

I love this series! It’s so cool to see what you all are making and I especially like your comments on what you’ve learned and how you’re going to wear it.
Oh, and that floral fabric is gorgeous!

I recently made a Sorbetto top with an inverted pleat. It’s not on the blog yet, but I just posted a preview on instagram: https://instagram.com/p/6-D_pqwUeS/
It’s goes great with so many things in my wardrobe since I have way to many way to many garments in solid colours :)

Sheri

I enjoy reading articles from your blog and recently subscribe to Seamwork. I finally decided to start sewing and purchase the Colette Sewing book a few weeks ago. So my first two projects are sewing the Meringue skirt and the Sencha blouse (version one). It’s my goal to make all three versions but thought version one is great for work and getting my feet wet into sewing. Thank you for creating what I believe a great place to explore the idea of making and creating.

Sarai colettehq.com

Thanks Sheri!!!

Michelle thesewingphoenix.com

I love this series! I’m glad that working in the sewing industry has not prevented you all from continuing to sew. It’s interested to see what you have learned in each project. I sewed this dress a while back and just posted it to my blog. The dress represents a culmination of a lot of practice pieces: http://www.thesewingphoenix.com/at-first-sight/

Ofer ofermesew.wordpress.com

thanks for sharing your work. The floral dress is just overwhelming! I want to make one. (but I’m holding myself. I should stick with the plans!)

Julia Miller

I really enjoy this feature, especially the “what I learned” section. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Ani

I’m such a derp. I have a walking foot — my Brother came with one — but I never use it. Because I have to screw it on. Why on earth am I only lazy when it comes to walking footage? I’ll take the time to hand-baste everything but then I’ll just struggle with a thin bamboo knit under my regular foot like a moron for an hour.

You’ve inspired me to not be such a lazypants. On my next project I will use both my walking foot and my twin needle and not be content with “it sorta works”.

Seamwork: Adelaide dress – House of Pinheiro

[…] a subscriber and so far I still like about 50% of the patterns. I just saw this version of the Savannah camisole and added it to my list. Seamwork patterns are really simple but have potential. Even with a few […]

janet smalltrade.wordpress.com

I agree with the first comment! Your cami is such a beautiful example of the pattern. I’ve playing around making some simple linen shirts that should layer well when it gets cooler. I also did a massive tidying of my fabric stash and crated 80 yards of fabric ready to be donated.

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