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  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


Our 2016 goals: an update


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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Back in January, our whole team took a mini break out to the Oregon coast to plan for the year ahead.




Wallis and Delaney making the short trek to the ocean from our cabin


Since I just got some of my film photos back, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share them along with some progress on the goals that I shared with you a couple months ago. After all, we’re 3 months into the year now. So how are we doing?


Kris, Haley, Anna, and Delaney getting some coffee and fresh air









Haley, Anna, Delaney, and Taylor (with Anna having some sort of mystical revelation, I think)



Here were our goals, and what we’ve been working on to make them happen:

  • Learn more about our customers. We’ve made so much progress on this one. We sent out a massive survey to our customers a while back, and had a tidal wave of responses. I did some quantitative analysis on it and Kris did qualitative analysis and followed up with phone interviews with real life customers. It’s a mountain of information, but I think will really inform our direction.
  • Update our visuals and branding. Our new shop is up with a fresh look! Taylor is working on making everything come together, and we’re even tossing around some new packaging ideas for later this year.
  • Improve our processes. This is a work in progress, but Anna has been hard at work on improving our development process, Delaney and I have worked on scheduling, and we’ve put more team structure in place. This one is a long game, for sure.
  • Grow Seamwork. As I said before, we just want to keep adding value to a subscription. We’ve started adding some bonus pattern pieces for subscribers, for example. But we have lots more ideas in the hopper that just take a while to build, like more ways to use credits, etc.
  • Make the Seamwork site more interactive. We’ve been working hard on some new Seamwork features and ideas that will launch later in the year. We’re really taking our time to get them right, designing things iteratively and getting feedback from Seamwork members.

    Did you set any goals or intentions for 2016? How are those going?

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 32


I have been able to stick with my goal of only making my own clothes, and I have been making progress on a related goal of keeping only what I really love that also fits my body and my lifestyle. Reading ‘Life Changing Magic…’ is helping a lot. I have issues letting go. Thanks for sharing your progress!


I have to know…did Anna make her yellow jacket? If so, can we get some details (or even if not, I’d love to know where she bought it!). I’ve been feeling like I need a yellow rain jacket and that one looks perfect.


Ha Ha – Me too – I love that yellow jacket!!!


It’s the Cascade Duffle coat pattern from Grainline :) I got the fabric locally, but it’s a water repellent canvas that I waxed with Otter Wax to make it durable enough for all Pacific Northwest weather :)


The coat is amazing. Is there any chance we could have some detail on how you did the gorgeous contrast band for the toggles, the glimpse of it looks wonderful and intriguing!


I accidentally commented my answer for you on a different line! Just look down a few comments :)


Did you wax it before or after you made it? I’ve been thinking about making an unlined yellow rain jacket and this looks perfect! I live in New Orleans, and our rainy season is in the hot summer so no lining needed!


After :) for larger projects like this I would recommend using the Otter Wax dressing
This way you can just paint on the wax and it’s easier to coat the seams, pockets, and other details. Depending on the color fabric you use, just note the wax will discolor your fabric a bit.


Ditto! That’s such a cool rain jacket.


It’s all in the pattern layout! The contrast panel you are seeing is part of the front lining that the separating zipper is installed in. The instructions tell you to use the same fabric as the lining for that panel, but I would suggest using your self fabric, or something a little sturdier. I used a lightweight flannel for my lining, which is extremely comfortable and easy to sew with, however it hasn’t been holding up well as a front closure. I’ve worn this coat during some heavy rains and since this panel isn’t completely covered, it’s gotten wet and warped a bit. I’d say it all depends on how you intend to wear the coat. I had a heavy duty rain coat in mind to wear during the winter, so it wasn’t smart on my end to use a flannel in an area that can be exposed. If you are making the coat for a climate that isn’t to wet, a flannel is probably fine.


What pattern is it?


The Cascade Duffle coat from Grainline Patterns


Cool Thanks!


Love your new site! Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished :) I have also been galloping along and have met a few of my goals already – I wanted to rebuild my web sites and have finished one and I wanted to get a coverstitch machine and I did! I’m excited to have a separate coverstitch. My old serger could be converted but I never did because it was just too much bother to do just one seam so now I have a dedicated coverstitch and I’m excited!


Nice that a 3 month review coincided with the photos (which are beautiful). I had some goals set and reached (dont buy, only make) some time back and am now keeping things open ended but still with some other make goals in the horizon so I have something to aim for…. as I tend to meander a bit if I dont. As a by the way – I have been using the Astoria pattern a bit this year for upcycles on some trousers and sweater -, its brilliant.


It was a nice coincidence! I was just planning to post the photos when the film came back, and realized it would be the perfect time for a review. I’ll try to do another one in 3 months. :)

Annette Siverson Romanoff

I too love the new site, it is fabulous and brilliant! And I know it took a lot of work….. So,
I do not make goals, too often, or at all really! LOL! But TFS, Annette


Not all of my goals for this year were sewing related, but I did set a goal to work through my entire stash by December. I’ve still been buying some fabric for really specific projects that I’m excited about, but it’s made me more selective because I know I have to use it within the year! I have a few bodysuits and baby clothes to churn out this weekend and next, and then I’m going to tackle the Seamwork Moji in a lime green batik I’ve had laying around FOREVER (seriously forever… I picked the fabric out at JoAnn when I was like 11 and asked my mom to make me shorts, and she was recently doing a stash clean out of her OWN and gave it back to me, saying, “Here, this is yours!”)


My mom does that too! I ended up using one of those pieces of fabric as a muslin and Mom was horrified. She said she bought that fabric to make me a dress. I told her that was 30 years ago and it just wasn’t going to happen. My goal is to finish projects and not leave them for the next generations to deal with. ;) It could happen…

Betty Jordan Wester

I really, really like the new shop site. I’ve spent a few days going through it and pinning some of the new photos. A part of me misses the old site with the candy colored clothes, but I have to admit, the new colors are totally “me.”
The mustard Moneta is lovely. The Hazel & Lily are presented in a way that’s made me rethink the patterns. I love all of the new Violet blouses, and the new Sencha is very modern. I miss the piping on the old Rooibos though.
There are a couple of links that are incorrect. I never know if companies care about stuff like or if it just seems like endless nitpicking to you.
Anyway, looks great!


No, definitely let us know! Kenn might already be working on it, but any bugs you find, we’re glad to know about! Just hit up our contact page:

Betty Jordan Wester

I’ll take a look & email him about anything that may still be there :)

Betty Jordan Wester

As for Seamwork, my two favorite things in it are Swatch Service and Seamwork Style. Have you considered linking some of the articles to the previous issue? That way someone can read Block Paper Scissors and then click on the previous month and so on without having to exit out and reenter the previous month’s magazine.
As it is, I have those articles pinned so I can go straight to them, but just kind of throwing that out there.


Yes, we’ve gotten a request like that from quite a few people… a way to browse by category or something? It’s definitely on the list.

Betty Jordan Wester

Yes, I think categories would be great!


Those are some great goals, everyone! I love the new look on the website and I can’t wait to see all those new ideas for Colette and Seamwork!

My 2016 goals are on a short list, but they’re very important!
1. I want buy less fabric and work within the stash, which is starting to get out of control. I will only buy fabric needed to finish projects if I don’t already have something appropriate. This one is a tough goal- I already fell off the wagon once this year…so many pretty things! Aaarggh. Must resist!!
2. I want to make a Wardrobe Architect plan for each season this year…and I’ll be using the stash fabrics, like a good girl, to help me accomplish goal #1.
3. I want to try the projects I’m most afraid of, using what I learned from that Risk Management post: Anise (Which I started this month after 2 years of being scared of it! It’s going very well.) and working with crochet lace fabrics,mixed fabric garments, and any and all pants/shorts. Using stash fabric, naturally.

Even if I only do half of it, that’s still an accomplishment. I want to save money for a trip to Scotland next year and make my stash smaller at the same time. I hope these goals will help me get there- in a very literal sense! No doubt I’ll be very well dressed on that trip with all those new clothes made from my stash. ; )

Betty Jordan Wester

Maybe have a link to the applicable Swatch Service article in each of the patterns in your shop. If I look at the Moji, you have a link to Seamwork, but maybe if you had a link right to certain articles like SS it might help to enable new seamstresses to feel even more empowered. Sure, it’s hand holding, but it seems like the best part of hand holding- like, “Hey! Like these pants? These are the specific materials we recommend- with pictures!”
And it would funnel people into Seamwork.


Very good idea! The only teeny issue that might come up is that many of the fabrics will go out of stock in a pretty short amount of time. But perhaps it will still give people ideas and direct them to places they can buy that type of fabric, at least.

Betty Jordan Wester

Maybe if you made sure the link said, “click here for fabric inspiration. Actual fabrics may be out of stock.” That way you wouldn’t have to field as many comments/emails about the fabrics being out of stock.
Years ago, when I was a more active seamstress, I’d get my copy of Burda, sit down at the German fabric website they use, & write the fabric type & content percentages next to each pattern. It helped me to get a feel for what I was looking at. I’d go to the store & try to find something with x amount of elastane or whatever. I know how nervous people get about fabric. Fabric can make or break a pattern. And I think any info you can give your customers to help them have a successful sewing experience will benefit you.
Sorry, I definitely don’t mean to pile more work on you guys!

Dayna Carlson

Isn’t the Oregon coast the most beautiful place ever!!! It is to me as I am from the Willamette Valley. I’m still trying to figure out how I made it to Maine, but it is a very beautiful state too. :)
I love, love, love your website. Check it out often. Keep up the great work :)

Brook Neumann

I am new to sewing, and I love your blog and Seamwork too. Your site is the one I consistently go to for inspiration, and instruction. Thanks for all the photos of your work studio, I love seeing it.

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