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  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


What We Made Vol. 3


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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Here are some of the projects we’ve been working on in the last month here at CPHQ.

Haley’s Lacy Bra



Who: Haley
Role: Managing Editor
Pattern: Shelley Bra by Pin Up Girls
Fabric: A lingerie kit from Blackbird Fabric, plus underwires, additional power mesh, and cup lining from Bra Makers Supply

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

I guess you can say it was an envy sew. I have been hoarding lingerie supplies for about a year. My friend Devon posted a gorgeous picture of a bra she recently made. This picture inspired me to get off my butt and finally make some bras.

I was also really inspired by a few ready-to-wear bras I own. I love Chantelle bras and the range of designs they offer for larger cup sizes, but I tend to be really picky regarding fabric and color, I wanted to challenge myself to create the perfect bra, from fit, to textile, to style.

How do you plan to wear it?

I am excited to wear my new bra, the fit is really great, but needs a few minor adjustments. For this reason I will probably wear it under garments with a relaxed fit.
I am already making pattern adjustments and preparing to sew my second bra.

What did you learn?

I didn’t follow the cutting layouts for this pattern. Instead, I took a critical look at my favorite ready to wear bra. This bra has A LOT of power mesh through out the bridge, band, and power bar. I decided to follow suit, and I am really please with the results. It is such a valuable tool to look at ready-to-wear to gain insight on fabric choice and construction. Seriously, when in doubt spec out your plan by examining your favorite factory made garments!

What are you most proud of?

I am really proud that this bra is almost completely clean finished. You would be hard pressed to tell the different between my me-made bra and a ready-to-wear bra.

Sarai’s Ashy Akita dress



Who: Sarai
Role: Creative Director, cat herder
Pattern: Akita from Seamwork, lengthened to a dress (see below for details!)
Fabric: A slinky mottled taupe Helmut Lang fabric. The fabric is a blend of nylon and other fibers, but I’m not sure what.

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

I loved the fabric when I saw it, and immediately imagined a short sack dress. I didn’t have any pattern in mind… until we released the Akita pattern last month!

Haley wrote a great tutorial for lengthening the Akita into a dress over at the Harts Fabric blog, go check it out!

If you aren’t familiar with this amazing pattern, our designer Kris created it to be cut from one single pattern piece. It is incredibly fast to cut and sew. I loved making it.

How do you plan to wear it?

The fabric is a bit sheer, so I have a slip underneath and wore it with tights and clogs. I think it’d work with short boots too. I layered a cardigan over it and I think it’ll look good with a big scarf when it gets colder. In the summer, I’ll go with flat sandals.

What did you learn?

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the synthetic fabric, but I liked the feel so much that I went for it. It ended up being very breathable and decent to work with. I learned to trust my

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I made exactly what I had in mind in about an hour. That’s pretty cool.

Sarai’s Oslo Coat



Pattern: Oslo from Seamwork, modified with our pattern hack
Fabric: Cafe Beige Italian wool sweater knit from Mood

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

I love love love sweater coats! They are so cozy and comfortable, and can replace an actual coat for a good part of the year. I wanted to make Oslo feel a bit more coat-like and substantial, so I chose a thick sweater knit and modified the sleeves. I also made a tie belt and added belt loops rather than buttons.

How do you plan to wear it?

Over dresses, over jeans, you name it.

What did you learn?

The most interesting thing was that I applied some ideas from knitting to this project. I’m currently knitting a big 1960s sweater coat, which has a faced hem and sleeves. The facing gives these edges a lot more body and structure. I did the same here, cutting a separate facing for the wide sleeves. It really made a difference.

What are you most proud of?

Honestly, I’m proud that I stuck to my sewing plan this month and made something I know I’ll wear a ton.

Sarai’s wool Mojis


Pattern: Moji from Seamwork
Fabric: a loose-woven textured wool in black (purchased locally)

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

I have a pair of loose tapered linen pants that I really like, so I wanted a similar feel. I was originally going to make these in a thick black silk, but when I saw this drapey textured wool, I went another direction.

How do you plan to wear it?

It’s basically like wearing fancy pajamas, so I’ll go with that. I think these would look great with a silk shell or camisole. I put a tissue-knit cardigan over this. I won’t go with anything bulkier than that on top, because the pants are so relaxed.

What did you learn?

I added an extra channel of elastic below the drawstring. My thought was that it would help keep the ease even around the waistline, but I don’t think it makes a big difference there. I do like the way it helps keep the pants where I want them when I’m tying the drawstring, though. I’d do it again for that reason.

Second, I learned the importance of pre-finishing all my edges on a loose-woven fabric like this. It frayed like crazy, so serging most of the edges before sewing was a good move and also made the project go faster.

What are you most proud of?

I think the fabric choice was awesome. I have a hard time getting motivated to sew with plain black fabrics even though I love to wear them. So finding something with an exciting texture was key.

Anna’s Sunny Hawthorn


Finally, meet Anna! Anna’s just joined us as a production assistant, helping to prepare and layout patterns. She’s been with us for just about two weeks and we’re so happy to have her join the team.

Who: Anna
Role: Production Assistant
Pattern: Hawthorn by Colette Patterns
Fabric: A medium-weight cotton from Moda, purchased locally at Bolt

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

I’ve wanted to make the Hawthorn pattern for a while, but put it off for some time because I was unsure of what fabric I wanted to make it out of. When this fabric came in to Bolt it just screamed make me into a Hawthorn!! I also recently did a project with covered buttons for the first time, inspired by some vintage shopping, and had the itch to experiment with covered buttons again, so I made some for this Hawthorn. Sometimes that’s just the best way to go!

How do you plan to wear it?

I made this version without sleeves, since the fabric is so bright and summery. However, I am finding this is still perfect for all year as I can layer it and it will be especially cheery in the drearier months ahead. I do plan to make at least one other version with sleeves as I found another great cotton/wool blend fabric at Bolt I would like to see made into this.

What did you learn?

I learned that I really love Hawthorn’s silhouette, and have now been more conscientious of making and buying garments that are similar. I am a pear shape, so having something fitted on the bodice and full on the bottom makes me feel very comfortable and is more flattering.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of getting this done while there is still some warm weather left in the year so I don’t have to layer it just yet, and the covered buttons.

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.

Comments 23


I love these round-ups. Great for motivation!

The nerdy seamstress

Haley! It’s gorgeous!


Thanks lady!! I am now thoroughly obsessed with bra making!


Wow! These are all so great!! Haley, that bra is beautiful! I signed up for the Craftsy bra class but haven’t been brave enough to try one yet. Sarai, all your clothes are so cute! I especially love the Mojis you made and Anna, your dress is so pretty! Now I wish I could sew instead of work. Just ignore that I am reading this instead of working. :) Thanks for the inspiration!!


I also made a shift dress this month! I love the relaxed fit of them, so easy to wear. I will definitely try to lengthen the Akita, too.


I love seeing what you guys are making! I am very pleased with my Grainline Scout dress/pattern hack:


Seeing what others have made and how they wear it is so inspiring!


I made a pile of Akita’s in everything from a fine lawn to wear under blazers to a couple challis and chiffon prints that I love. I needed some new basic tops to go with business bottoms, wool trousers, suits and pencil skirts. I get so tired of wearing the same shells and the Akita is a great stash buster as well as very quick to put together.
I am getting ready to cut out some Moji’s I am going to do in a blended pinstripe. I plan to put elastic in the waistband with ties sewed onto the end for adjustment so I can get them snug at my smallish waist. I think they will look like a high end fashion piece with the right fabrics.
I also have 3 Mabels and cut out ready to go, in a stretch denim for weekends, a solid red ponte, and a double knit in a roman key pattern I got in a fashion grab bag.
Seamwork rocks! It is so refreshing to see patterns I can make staples from that go together quickly with a minimum of alterations. May your well of inspiration never dry up!

Amy Nicole

Sarai I love the way the pants turned out! Did u line them or is the wool you chose pretty soft?


It’s really soft. I almost chose to line them, but ended up doing without. It feels pretty nice.

Julia Miller

I love seeing what you’re making and what fabrics you’re using. Thanks for this feature.


Your site is an inspiration to me with all its different shapes and sizes. I’m 54 years old and have always been an hour glass shape. I was comfortable with that and knew exactly how best to dress to flatter my body. But now, thanks to medication which I must take forever, I have gained 20kg and become the shape of a barrel with absolutely no waist. So I’m learning all over again how to dress myself. And this site has been my lifesaver. Thank you.

Erica S.

I never get tired of seeing other people’s makes! Here in the other Portland, I’m starting a meetup for women who sew their own clothes. I’d love to hear tips from successful sewing meetup groups in other regions. Do you prefer topics for discussion, or keep it loose? Would following Collette’s Wardrobe Architect series format be too formal, or does that sound as fun to you as it does to me? I would love the advice of Collete fans from around the world… And, if you live or travel anywhere near Portland, Maine, I’d love to meet you!


If you build it, they will come! Let the group dictate the direction. Show-and-tells are a great ice breaker.

Erica S.

Kay, this is good advice. Thank you!


Ooh that sounds so great! If I lived near you, I would totally come. I love the Wardrobe Architect series, I think its so useful and fun too. I even got my (non-sewing) boyfriend into doing fall wardrobe planning with me based on it!

Ann Hickey

These are great, especially the bra, that is fantastic! Well done to everyone!


This month I started a patchwork skirt, sewed a loose tee and a sweatshirt. I’m loving those wool pants! I think that pattern would look cute with a gathered ankle mod too.


That is a fabulous idea for a mod on the pants…hmmmm…..


I love this series! I regularly lurk the internets to see what people have made and I love seeing all the makes from all different types of sewists. It’s what I do when I’m waiting in line, instead of playing games on my phone!

I also wanted to thank Sarai for mentioning the backup elastic channel you put in your Mojis. After reading this post, I did the same to my own pair and it’s great reinforcement for the drawstring. What a great solution! I love your Mojis and I love mine, too!


Haley, you did an outstanding job on your bra. Bravo!

Anna, I love the way your dress turned out. You look beautiful in it.

I like the way this site shows real people in clothes rather than stick thin models. Thanks for showing us your work.


wow, i am super impressed, ladies! That bra! Wow. They’re really all great. That last dress looks so perfect-fitting. I love that Helmut Lang fabric – and that cut is perfect for it. I’ll say it again – i’m so impressed! This is inspiring!

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