Seamwork Issue 04: Transitions



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

This month, we’re celebrating the road to spring with a theme of “transitions.” We’ve created versatile, changeable, multi-season patterns; ideas for ways you can make the same garments in any season; and some brand new columns to round things out.

In this issue:

As always, we provide information to help you create the new Seamwork patterns including Resources and fabric ideas from Swatch Service

Some favorite quotes from this issue:

“Clothing tells your story; if part of that story is your relationship to the current season, you can use color to express that.”


“The secret to maintaining a small closet without getting bored is to aim for versatility in every piece.”

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“For thousands of years, the story of wool has been entwined with that of humanity’s” – Devon Iott


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


Aberdeen is a beautiful tunic that is equal parts comfortable and flattering. This top can be sewn in a wide variety of fabrics, making it suitable for all seasons. Sew it up in lightweight jersey for the summer, and try soft sweater knits for the fall and winter.

And check out the lovely clogs our model is wearing! They’re from our friends at Sven Clogs, who are also providing a reader discount this month.


Osaka is a simple little reversible skirt that is highly functional and fun to wear. In just under 3 hours you can have two brand new skirts in your closet with this workhorse garment. We provide two different cutting layouts for pairing up your fabrics, but we hope you’ll get creative and dream up your own unique combinations!

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

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 51


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! These pattern are amazing! I have been wanting a skirt like this for a while now, and the top is suuuper cute! Cant wait to try them both!


What a lovely issue! I love the model on the cover page – she’s lovely. I’m looking forward to making up the skirt pattern.


love your cover model, totally love the issue contents… and both aberdeen and osaka just made the wardrobe architect short list.

but i think you want to look at the illustrations for devon’s shoulder yoke pattern…. the words make sense, but the pictures don’t…..


We got some comments about this and were scratching our heads until we realized it was the PDF version! It should be fixed now (and can be re-downloaded at any time). :)


roger that, and thank you…. :) great issue.


soory, i should have said that i was using my ipad and opening it in ibooks. i deleted the previous copy and redownloaded. all good.


Hi there, another great issue! Especially love the addition of the Block Paper Scissors article. Just wondering, can you recommend a bodice pattern to practise on for this series? Best wishes.


I don’t have a specific one to recommend, although I know I have a vintage pattern that was intended to be used as a sloper/block, probably from the 1960s. I’d recommend looking at the line drawings of patterns, ignore the styling and details, and just look for any bodice with both waist and bust details.

You’ll want to work on the fit first to get it right for you. Then you can play with it and make changes as you see fit (no pun intended).


View B of Butterick 5627 would be a good start (remember to fit first). If you’re looking for a pattern that’s already a garment, you could use the Christine Haynes Emery Dress pattern as the jumping off point, that would work very well. Other options could be Simplicity 1873 or 2215 (both Cynthia Rowley dresses).




Another great issue, I’m looking forward to trying the patterns. So glad I signed up as a monthly subscriber! Not just for the patterns, but I learn things in every issue and really appreciate the work that goes into this publication. Glad to subscribe and be able to support the hard work from the whole crew!

I would also like to say how nice it is that you use such a variety of women on the covers and as your models for patterns. We aren’t all young, rail-thin and drop-dead gorgeous, so to see a variety of women is refreshing.


Seconded! As one who is seeing her first grey hairs, it is great to see someone with a fab head full. I adore that you are using a variety of models who are all gorgeous and envy making (in a nice way) without them all being 17 and thin. Thanks Sarai.


I just found my first grey hair this past week! It was perfect timing to work with this gorgeous silver-haired lady.


OMG!!! Love this issue!! Still have not figured out which one is my favorite yet!! I love every article in this issue and the model? Wow!!! So pretty:) Thanks Sarai and team for this wonderful issue it is amazeballs!

Heather Lou

Another gorgeous issue! Your model is (once again) a knockout. She has my fantasy hair. I would pay millions for it.

And super chuffed to see the Carolyns mentioned! Thank you! Xo


I know a lot of people dread going grey but I’m weirdly looking forward to having a head of silver hair. I only have to wait ~30 years for it!


Get out of my head, you guys. I have been idly sketching an asymmetrical wrap skirt with two-button closure for about the last four months and now here it is, fully (and beautifully) realized. This feels very Close Encounters.

Thank you for saving me from the nightmare of drafting my own!


I was very excited to get this month’s issue in my inbox – I love both of these patterns and definitely want to make them. And I LOVE that you continue to models with diversity in terms of age, weight, race, etc. – all of whom are gorgeous. I always learn something in the articles – they’re a good complement to the patterns.


Love it! In fact Aberdeen has inspired me for a dress I need for a casual country, very hot (Kansas in June), outdoor wedding. I thought I would extend the hem for a dress. So I will be loose and cool. I’m Canadian not used to the heat they get there! With your fabric swatch suggestions it all just ‘clicked’. Fabric now on it’s way and I can’t wait to get started. Thank you and looking forward to the next issue. Excellent!


I really want to make a dress version for the summer too! I think a silk or linen jersey would be just perfect for me.

Jeri Sullivan

Love this new issue and especially the article regarding the Tennessee wool. Very interesting and as a knitter (in addition to sewist), it was neat to see how this all comes together!

A quick question regarding the Osaka…if I want to just do a one sided (non-reversible), is there anything specific I would need to change or can I just cut the single layer?


To make it one sided, you’d just need an alternate way of finishing the edges instead of lining. I’d go with binding!

Jeri Sullivan

Thanks, I have just the fabric and I wanted to try first on a single layer. Binding it is!

Anna Rodriguez

Beautiful work! So glad I have subscribed.

The top is perfect for my Spring/Summer Wardrobe for one of my fave silhouettes: skinnies+ loose top + oxfords. Also, so very very glad to see a variety of models that more closely reflect the beautiful women that we all truly are in all shapes, sizes, ages, and cultures. Bravo!

Vicky Gorry

I’ve printed off my pattern and taped it all together (first time I’ve used a PDF pattern, oh my goodness!). Tomorrow, if all goes well, I’ll be pinning and cutting out my Aberdeen, recklessly attempting it in a woven cotton. I don’t really sew with knits and have some cheap floral yardage begging to be used. If it works (fingers crossed) I plan to make it in a lightweight denim, possibly with buttons and placket to replace each side seam. And pockets. And lovely topstitching. Wish me luck….!


Please let us know how it goes!


I’m really enjoying the articles in Seamwork. Your model is great! I hope my hair ends up beautiful and silvery like that.

The Story of Wool is so interesting. I just read a bit, and plan to take my time and savour the rest.

I enjoyed the close-up look at the 60s dress. Very cute, and nicely made. I always like a scalloped crochet edge, and using one as a button placket is a nice touch. Are the flowers a separate brooch, or attached to the dress?

I knit and crochet, and I just wanted to point out a couple of little things… I really can’t agree with crochet being described as a method of knitwear, it is its own separate craft. Maybe in the ready-to-wear industry it is considered part of the same category, but having different crafts lumped together under one description is one of my pet peeves.

Crochet (actual crochet, not just crochet “look”) is always done by hand. So far, there aren’t any “crochet machines” in the way that there are knitting machines. I believe that the structure of regular crochet (not so sure about Tunisian), and necessity for usually working only one stitch at a time would make adaptation to machine work rather difficult.

I look forward to seeing what is in the next issue!


Hmm, but is there a term in the RTW industry for crocheted clothing? I generally see it described as “knitwear,” but perhaps there is a more descriptive name.

I think the fact that true crochet can only be done by hand is one thing that makes it so cool and interesting, especially in terms of manufactured clothing! My understanding is that there are machines called “crochet machines,” but it isn’t the same as hand crochet. However, that’s a bit more detail than I thought appropriate for that particular article. :)


Thanks for responding, Sarai! I understand about the lack of a better term, and that more in-depth detail might not have really fit the focus of the article. It is just something that bothers me, partially because I do multiple needle crafts. When I was first learning to knit, crochet, tat, etc., what I think of as mislabeling made it more difficult for me to figure things out. I have even seen machine embroidered netting (generally in the form of blouses or dresses) and chemical lace described as crochet. I think a lot of the vagueness has to do with the general population no longer having personal experience doing these types of crafts, it leads to confusion, and perhaps there just isn’t any perceived necessity for being more specific/accurate for most of the RTW industry.

As far as crochet in manufactured clothing, I have to agree that it is cool! I always find it so interesting to think about who actually made the garment, how long did it take, where do they live, etc. I realize there could be concerns about working conditions or pay especially in some parts of the world, but I also think that handcrafts are sometimes a better income option in some places. It can be a complicated subject. I haven’t bought any ready-made crochet items for years, but I still enjoy seeing them.

I believe the “crochet machines” are used for chain stitch, possibly edgings and similar applications, but I haven’t researched it much lately. I do find it fascinating that after all this time there still isn’t a machine that can produce the structure of hand crocheted fabric. So many textiles which were formerly done by hand can be replicated by machine.

Anyway, thanks for letting put in my two cents! I really enjoy the Coletterie blog and look forward to more issues of Seamwork.

P.S. Thanks for answering about the brooch.


Oops, forgot to answer about the flower! That piece is separate, just a little brooch.


Thank you for another lovely emagazine and for encouraging us to sew and think about fashion as an expression of values/creativity with these thoughtful articles, posts and projects- and a most sincere thank you for celebrating women of all ages, backgrounds and body types and for highlighting your colleagues in the industry- you are such a lovely and thoughtful woman


Another fun issue… there are many comments about women of different ages, shapes & sizes here… which leads me to wonder if the Osaka will work in a longer length, or will the overlap be no longer overlapping. Older plus sizes want to know…


The angle at the front isn’t too severe, so I definitely think you could lengthen it. I’d just lengthen the pattern pieces, then lay them on top of each other to check the lap at the bottom. If you need to, you could adjust the angle of the front edge a little to give more coverage.


Wow! Love this issue, it’s my favourite so far. I totally agree with everyone about the model, she’s gorgeous, my gray hairs have been multiplying for a couple of years now and I hate it, I have very dark long hair so they’re quite obvious, but seeing this model has made me look at it in a more positive light, she looks modern and fresh.

Love the patterns too, the top is ideal, I plan to sew a few for my Wardrobe Architect project, I have some bamboo Jersey in mind for summer tops. The skirt is such a great idea too, I am trying to incorporate more skirts into my life and this one looks ideal!

So inspiring, as always!


I can not say enough about the articles in Seamwork. They are all great! I agree with the other comments about the models they are all beautiful. It is so refreshing to see the diversity, all ages, sizes, race.
Thank you for yet another great issue.


I really like the Osaka skirt! I’m a beginner, so I have a question that’s probably kind of dumb. I would like to make the skirt knee-length, probably keeping the bottom band about the same width and just lengthening the top part. Can I just….make it longer? I know it would be simple on a pencil skirt, but since this has a different shape is there anything else I need to consider? I’d like to keep the same shape, just longer.


Not dumb at all! Lengthening it without adjusting the hem circumference will definitely give a little bit of a different shape, but will still look great, I think. See my comment above about testing the pattern out after you lengthen it and adjusting the front lap if need be. :)


Great, thank you! I really appreciate that you read through comments and answer questions – I know it must take a lot of time, but it’s so helpful!


I so want to thank you for your choice of models! I am thrilled to not see anorexic children modeling your patterns, but instead real women of real sizes and ages. Also women who do not appear to be surgically altered.

Also, I think the pattern designs are fabulous. They are so practical and I really need good, comfortable, yet tastefully stylish clothing to begin making a functional wardrobe that reflects who I am. I sew for relaxation, but like to have something in the end that works! Also, I am very thankful that the sizing goes up to “my” size.

Sarai, I have wanted to say this for a long time: you are very talented and I appreciate your contribution to the sewing community.


Thanks, that means a lot. :)


Another one…
Is the skirt ment to be sewn only with non-stretch fabric?


It’s meant for wovens. If your woven fabric has a bit of lycra in it for stretch, that shouldn’t be a problem.


I just attempted to sew up the Aberdeen. Is it just me or are the instructions (and especially the illustration) for step four just wrong? It would seem that if you flip the band over after attaching the neckband then the point would be going up, if you sewed it as the illustration indicates. It even seems different from the tutorial included in the magazine, which makes more sense to me when it comes to sewing the V. Having never done a V-neck before and really wanting to learn to do it well, I’d like a little more description on how to avoid the potential problems that can happen right at that V point in the front! It’s super tricky for me.


I took a look and you are absolutely correct that the neckband appears flipped in that illustration. I’m very sorry about that. We’ve already fixed it, so you can download a fresh copy from your account. Again, it was our mistake, and I sincerely apologize.

As far as dealing with the v corner, it definitely is a little tricky. Are you using a serger? If so, I recommend turning off/removing the knife as you approach it. I actually find it easier to baste the corner with my regular sewing machine before stitching with a serger, as it gives me more visibility and control, and tells me exactly where to stop stitching. The staystitching (both in the instructions and in the article) are helpful for that as well. Follow the staystitching so that you stop stitching at exactly the corner spot.


Thanks! This actually helps a lot. I am using a serger, and was having trouble seeing when I needed to stop. Think I will just try sewing this with my regular sewing machine first as you suggest.


Are the cutting instructions on the pattern pieces for Osaka correct? It seems like way too many pieces for the contrast version.


Can you explain further? What version are you making?

There are multiple cutting layouts for different sizes for some of the fabric, so you have to choose based on your size. Perhaps that’s the issue you’re facing?

Also, version 1 reverses the contrast and main fabric on the inside, so you cut a complete skirt from each fabric.


I’m making Version 2. It looks like I’m cutting out four complete skirts if I follow the numbers directly on the pattern pieces. Am I just confused? Should I instead look to the cutting layout?


I’m sorry, I thought you were talking about the layouts! Let me check in with Kristen and get back to you. But yes, the cutting layouts are correct.


I ordered several cotton corduroy colors for the osaka reversible and didn’t realize there was such a difference in whales and weights. Will it affect the structure and drape of the skirt if I use different weights? Light and medium for example? I was thinking if I used the heavier on the top it might be ok…and as far as the different whale cords go is it really a matter of preference? I have a pin cord, 8 whale and 10 whale cord…who knew?

BTW I too love the simplicity and elegance of the seam work patterns and diversity of the models. Thanks for the continued inspirations!

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