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This week: Studio visits and fresh paint


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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The highlight of my week was definitely a visit from Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns.

Tasia was passing through town and stopped by the studio for a visit. We had coffee and a nice long chat. Needless to say, we have a lot in common to talk about and she is just the nicest person. I feel like Tasia and I share a cooperative attitude and I like that we can share ideas and experiences so easily. She’s awesome!

I’ve also been riding my bike to work again, with a brand new paint job! Kenn had it painted for my birthday and I’m going to slowly work on fixing it up a bit more. But riding to work again has been so much fun. This is apropos of nothing, I just wanted to show my blue bike.

I’m still working on the two new patterns, along with getting some digital patterns ready for your downloading pleasure. We’re hoping to have those available real soon now. Chugging along!

Here are some wonderful links Casey found for us this week:

  • Tips and ideas on working with quilting cottons in garment sewing.
  • This little eye mask how-to would be a great way to use up scraps and as gifts for friends (or yourself!).
  • A fetching DIY skirt that would be great for transitioning from late summer to fall.
  • An interesting article on why sleeve cap ease is a myth.
  • A huge selection of pocket-making tutorials for a variety of classic and novelty styles.
  • Looking for ways to bring out the saturated colors of photos you post online? Here are some fantastic tips.
  • Check out the LACMA digital collection for some gorgeous examples of garments from various eras.
  • Excellent tips from Threads Magazine on how to achieve better topstitching.
  • Yet another option for DIY custom, sew-in clothing labels.
  • Kick back at the end of a long afternoon of sewing with a glass of this (summer perfect) peach sweet tea.

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 17


Have you taken pictures together? ;)


Tasia took a couple photos while here, but I didn’t whip out the camera for some reason!


What are your thoughts, Sarai or Caitlin, on the premise that sleeve cap ease is a myth? I read the article you linked to & I’m miffed! I suppose the logic or arm/armsyce anatomy is not hard to accept but I suppose I’m just wondering how that can, or should, change my sewing technique moving forward? Does this effect your approach to pattern design? Or is this old news to ya’ll? I look forward to hearing anything you may have to share on the subject.


I think her larger point is that ease should not be a substitute for a good sleeve draft. That is something I agree with certainly, and I do not draft symmetrical sleeves. I have found that some small amount of ease helps round the sleeve over the shoulder, and it also makes it easier to deal with the seam allowance, but I would not include heaps of ease as a replacement for proper shaping. And of course this changes for some sleeves that have ease added for style reasons.

I think her book goes into this in some detail.


Thank you!


Oh, I love your bikes pretty new paint! Mine is like a shade lighter than that, so obviously I’m biased :) I really LOVE your saddle, though – where did you find such an amazing thing??

And lucky you, getting to meet up with Tasia! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation haha :)


Ha, I want to replace that saddle! It came with the bike, actually. It is kind of cute, but not as comfy as I’d like.


As someone who just figured out that I have been inserting sleeves the “wrong” way, I feel so relieved that this sleeve ease article has given me permission to never attempt to ease in sleeves again. I always thought I must have cut the pattern wrong and made the sleeves too big, so I’d cut out the extra, and only on my last shirt realized there was this thing called “ease” and spent forever trying to get the sleeve in the correct way. I’ll go back to doing it wrong and change the shape of my sleeves!

Nancy Winningham

I read this article by Kathleen Fasinella years ago and am still looking for that perfect pattern with the correct sleeve draft. Any thoughts on how to replicate this draft for sleeves that have been drafted to be perfectly symmetrical? I’d like to be able to get perfect sleeves on blouses and jackets. Do you know of a publisher who is printing patterns with this type of sleeve draft?


You may want to look into her book, which has detail on this type of sleeve!


Sounds like a great day! I can’t wait ’til Tasia gets back from her vacation and start blogging again. I love her patterns and great blog entrys, as I love yours too. :) I just finished the Thurlow shorts from Sewaholic and it’s a great pant!


The DIY labels are on my to-do list. I found a tutorial (no personal affiliation, just adoration) that used the one you posted BUT put the design on the bias so that you don’t have to do all the ironing of the edges down. (It won’t unravel in the wash if on the bias)

here’s the link:


Great links – thank you for sharing. I shall explore!
The one that caught my eye for immediate reading was of course… sleeve cap ease!

My Mum taught me to sew (her mother, and her mother’s mother, and probably the women before them in the family all sewed). I soon wanted to make more complex styles than my Mum attempted. Sleeve caps, and setting in sleeves, soon became an issue. You simply cannot get the look of a good ready made garment with the instructions (and pattern pieces) a commercial pattern provides. I felt ripped off.

I searched – this was pre-internet days! I looked at books, I asked a friend of my Mum’s who sews. Then I found a short course at a community education centre. I learned how to pad and set in sleeves from a tailor. Bless him, he was a hard taskmaster (he told me I needed a dress model to accommodate my belly and bottom – “try the 30s”, he said). But I could then make jackets that I wore in my professional job.

My disillusionment with commercial patterns only grew from then. I realised they were a starting point – I bought books on fitting, on pattern drafting. Sadly, said career interfered and I didn’t sew again for years. But imagine my joy when the internet became a friendly place for sewers, knitters, crafters. JOY! Alas, I think I’ve lost my sewing mojo, and lost a lot of confidence in my ability to sew, to select fabric, the works! Time to reeducate myself – perhaps another course at that community college!

Your blog, your business and your posts (like this link) are everything that is good about the net!

Warm wishes from Australia! Well, it’s cold actually, but warm wishes anyway!


I feel a little bit bad only commenting on something that has nothing whatsoever to do with sewing, but I can’t not say anything–oh my goodness that is a beautiful bike.


Thanks! I should make some accessories for it… I keep thinking about sewing one of those bags that attaches to the frame, or some panniers for the back.


I did a seat cover last year (about time for a new one…) and I think about making panniers from time to time, but have never followed through on it. If you wind up making anything, I’d love to see them/it.


I love your bike! My bike is purple and has a little white basket on the front. It stands out from the crowd, too.
Please, do teach us how to sew something for our bikes. I’d love to make some saddle bags for my daughter to use on the bike she uses at college.
I am jealous that you can ride to work. I used to be able to do that, but now I live too far away from the office.
Oh, and a gel seat is a girls’ best friend!

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