Sneak Peek: Choosing Fabric for Fall Patterns


After going back and forth on different palette combinations for our fall photo shoot, Sarai and I finally settled on seafoam, cream, black and ballet pink. One of the fabrics is extra special because Sarai designed it! She used Spoonflower, which is an excellent tool for anyone interested in printing their own designs on fabric. Wait ’til you see what we made with it!

On a beautiful summer’s day, Colette reader Alison was in town and came to visit us in the studio. We roped her into accompanying us to a favorite fabric store. She was such a good sport, taking photos of us as we contemplated fabrics.

While shopping, we goofed off and were easily distracted by some crazy fabrics. We even got a shot with our favorite lady at Mill End!

Because these patterns are coming out in time for fall and winter, we wanted to choose fabrics that reflected those seasons. We went with lightweight wools, silk and silk cotton. With each design in mind, we played with the drape of the fabric, testing how it would hang when made into the final garment. It was difficult to make a decision with so many pretty fabrics to choose from. This is often a problem! Narrowing down fabrics, even when you have a specific idea in mind, is hard. Thankfully we were able to make good decisions and bust out of the fabric store in less than two hours.

I hope you enjoyed these photos from our fabric trip!

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 49


Hi – I read somewhere on your blog that you are doing cigarette pants as part of your Fall Collection – I can’t wait! When will the patterns be available? (I’m sure it is written somewhere here – but I couldn’t find it!).

Congratulations on the book – I’m heading over to Amazon now!



They are being bound right now! They should be ready to go in 1-2 weeks.


♥ Yay ♥ I can’t wait!


Ooooh fabric shoping…so hard and so wondefull to do at the same time!
I love your color palette, not mine, but I can’t wait to see what you will make from it.
Thanks for sharing theses photos.


Brandy Layton

I love the color palette. I am not a pink person in general, but I am a ballet pink person. So classy and pretty together. I look forward to seeing what you make and my book with those lovely patterns. Thank you for the inspiration! Bran


I am definitely a pink person. But ballet pink and coral pink are my two favorite shades.

Laura S.

Oh dear, I am seriously jealous of that fabric store! I’m looking forward to seeing the new patterns. Your palette is lovely, as are the fabrics you chose.


Oh, the agony of waiting to see the Fall patterns. That fabric store looks lush.

Gail Ann Thompson

Looks like you had a Wonderful time, wish I was there!!! I love fabric stores.


It’s a lovely selection of fabrics – I particularly like Sari’s Spoonflower one. That fabric store looks amazing – wish I had one like that near me!


i just ADORE that color palette. i can’t wait.


What a fabric store! Maybe we should skip shopping trips to NYC and head to Portland instead! Ballet pink is my very favorite color of all time. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.


We really do have some great fabric shops here! We should write up a guide sometime. Lots of other wonderful craft-oriented stores too.


Eeeeps!! Mill End fabrics!! Reason number 3 to move *back* to Portland!!! Or within less-than-a-days driving range ;)
Lovely photos, lovely ladies! Can’t wait to see what you’ve conjured up!


Isn’t it awesome? And I love shopping somewhere with such nice people too. Bolt and Mill End are my faves!

Jessie L. Bower

I love these photos, I am happy to see that I am not the only one that feels challenged when visiting the fabric store. Endless possibilities… The fabric store likens a dream, all I have is jo-anns. Not a spot of silk to be found in the whole place, let alone wool . I dream in natural fabrics.


Aww. At least there are the online shops, though I realize it’s not quite the same thing.


Arghhh, these are basically my favorite colors! So not only will I be forced to buy ALL the patterns, but I’ll have to go get some more wool & silk! Such a hardship, I know… :)

Lizzy B.

I agree with Meredith… with this color palette I will undoubtedly fall in love with all your new designs. I guess I shouldn’t resist it. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

Lisa Steffl

Gorgeous color palette! I wish there was such a wonderful fabric store near me. Fabric shopping is just about my favorite part of the creative process! Can’t wait for the release of the patterns!


Me too! Both the shopping and the planning.


WOW, I’m pretty sure I could lose days to that store! The colors look great, can’t wait to see what you have planned!


Ohhhh….I can’t wait to see the fall patterns! and I must check out this fabric store in Portland! YAY! Love your fall colours too!


How lovely! I bought the fabric for my wedding dress at Mill End. I miss that store living here in Pittsburgh!


That’s so cool! I was just in San Francisco this weekend and stopped in at Britex, where I bought the fabric for my own wedding dress!


I particularly love the combo of colors with the yarn, zippers and thread in that last photo, mmm! I’m thinking about fall sewing too and ordered some wool and wool blend gabardine in a few colors for slacks. I’m just waiting for that cool breeze to REALLY start my fall planning!


*squee!* I’m sooooooo excited for the new patterns to come out! I’m trying to get my fall/winter pattern list together now.
I long for the day I can spend a few hours in the fabric store. These days I’m dragging a testy 3 yr old around with me and a trip to the fabric store is mapped out like a battle plan and less like a leisurely outting while enjoying a hobby.


Oooh, I love the look of that fabric store. I’ve yet to find anything like it. I’d be like a child in a sweet shop! The colours are lovely and strangely echoing those of the website! :-) Me likes! Can’t wait to see the new patterns…

Robin Kataja

Love the color choices and can’t wait to see your new Fall collection!!!


The colors you selected are my colors!!!! Looking forward to seeing the fall collection.


I love the Mill End Store. Ride my bike past it every day. But why don’t they carry your patterns? I’ve looked for them there, but no luck. Should I pester them about it?


So the five yards of lovely mint colored wool twill (?) that I bought LAST fall for the Lady Grey that never happened might get used this fall??? I really, really hope that you can show me how to make pants for my difficult frame. I have almost the same bust, waist, and hip measurements. Everything about clothing myself ( in anything other than a potato sack) is difficult and depressing!


So this is what paradise looks like! Eeeks! I love it!


I love the pallet. Nice to see a choice of colors that will be a POP in the dreariness that can happen during fall!


Um, please say that you also snatched up some of that great cat fabric. That alone would be worth the trip. Even a 600-mile one.

(Also, I’m really excited about the fall patterns.)

Suellen Tomkins

The colours are lovely and so is the Spoonflower fabric. Do you ever pay any attention to the Pantone colour forecasts in choosing your colour palettes?


The seafoam coloured fabric is absolutely lovely! I can’t wait to see the fall patterns and what creations the fabric will become.


What an awesome shop! I wish we had shops here in Melbourne like that. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us with those yummy colours :)


beautiful palette. it is bright and classic at the same time. reminds me of late 1950’s early 1960’s. living in the northeast my autumn/winter colors lean to black, grays, browns with off whites. I am tempted to change my ways….thinking on that one. thanks for the inspiration!


That cat fabric is amazing! Do you happen to know the type/brand/name?

melissa fey

I was thinking the pictures looked very familiar! I don’t live to far from Mill End and have encountered the wonderful help of Shelley, as well.


That is a beautiful palette. I love love love the pinky coral pink and seafoam is one of my very favorite things of all. It really looks lush together and I can’t wait to see the new things!


Oh wow, I am intensely jealous of that fabric shop.

And the colour palette is beautiful, so classic!


Is this the Mill End in Portland? I haven’t been to that store yet, but have been to the one in Beaverton and it’s not as good, I have heard.


firstly… How did you manage to select fabrics in that store.
I would have taken a picnic and stayed there until they kicked me out!

And secondly….cigarette pants? Oooooooh! I was just about to start drafting a pair from scratch having not had the most success with the pair I’ve just made. Having used the fantastic Sorbetto pattern and deciding it’s now my “go to”shell top pattern, I think I may just hang on until your pattern is available.

I swear you live in my head. In a good way!


I love your star fabric! Which of their fabrics did you make the dress from, and will you be making the starry fabric pattern available for your fans on spoonflower?


If anyone is interested, it looks like the starburst pattern is available here:

Thanks, Sarai!


Oh my goodness… seafoam green!! I happen to have a few metres’ worth of just that shade, but in silk charmeuse. The color scheme you ladies chose is just beautiful, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it.

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