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Sneak Peek: The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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I learned so much in the course of creating this book.

This was my first time acting in the role of a producer rather than an author. One of the awesome things about this is that I got to immerse myself in someone else’s expert knowledge for almost a year.

Apart from hand knitting, I’ve always been a wovens gal. I came into this project with some basic experience in sewing knits. I knew how to use my serger to put things together, I could figure out how to finish edges (like necklines), and I knew a few home sewing tricks (like using a twin needle to hem knits).

By the time we wrapped this book up, I could tell you:

  • Which knit fabrics are best for any project, and what to look for when fabric shopping.
  • Ten different ways your could finish just about any opening, like a neckline or armhole.
  • If you don’t have a serger, what kinds of stitches work best for edgestitching, topstitching, or seaming.
  • How and why to use different serger stitches for different parts or types of garments.
  • All about the myriad options there are for adding details and trims to knit clothing.

I also learned that I really want to buy a coverstitch machine someday. I’m in love with the chainstitch! Sigh.

Today, I just wanted to share the cover (above), and a few peeks inside the book.






Learning from Alyson was like taking a class from a master and I’m so glad we got to document it all into this book for you guys.

The book comes out April 15th, and I’ll be sharing more behind the scenes, knits tutorials, and book details throughout the month.

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 63


How exciting! I love to sew knits and it looks like this book has all kinds of wonderful ideas for finishings, details and advanced techniques… I can’t wait !

lisa g

i am very much looking forward to this book, i’ll definitely be buying!


Wow! The book looks like it’s going to be amazing!


Yay! I am so happy to see that some lingerie techniques are covered in this book!


Lingerie does pop up here and there, even though that’s not the focus. One thing I’ve learned is how fun it is to use lingerie fabrics and trims (meshes, stretch lace, etc) in other kinds of garments. So many possibilities!


this is just what I need to get started with knits! can’t wait!


SO excited for this!! :D


ohhh it looks fantastic! troubleshooting overlocker problems? yes please!

paige @ LPD

You guys have no idea how exciting this is for me. I’ve had a serger for 2 years and been too intimidated to use it beyond woven seam finishing! I’m going to snatch this book up first thing. A few questions though if you don’t mind too much. Are they’re going to be new patterns included in the book? Are you guys self publishing? If you are it would be interesting somewhere down the line if you could talk about that, at least for me. ;)


We have two new patterns coming out the same day, but the book is a technique book rather than a project book. We wanted to dedicate it to basic knowledge and techniques that can be used with any project.

Yes, we are publishing the book. We are sort of evolving into a small press at this point, which I’m very excited about.


I am really excited for this book! I tend to buy most of my knits RTW because I am just unsure about sewing them, especially finishing them.

One question, though. If I don’t have a serger, am I going to be able to use some of the techniques here? I have had some success sewing knits with a zigzag stitch with my machine. Maybe I’ll ask for a serger for my brithday. :)


Yes! The approach we took is to cover techniques you can use without a serger (like zigzag and other stitches), but also go into detail on demystifying the serger so that you can decide for yourself how important owning one is for you.


Im Definitely Looking Forward To The Book :) Will Be Buying As Well :)


I’m really looking forward to this book, too. I’ve had this fear of sewing knits (even though I love to knit :-p) & I’m eagerly waiting for the release announcement.


I’m so excited about this book. I have a bit of a sewing book embargo currently, but I have recently entered the world of sewing with knits (I’m pregnant) and recently bought my first overlocker/serger, so I think this book will be a real investment. There is so much I don’t know or understand about sergers and knits. I’m looking forward to having a lot demystified!


looks gorgeous, sarai!! i think you deserve that coverstitch.

amy w

Looking forward to reading the book. It’s going to be so helpful!

Alice F

I can’t wait for this book ! I already have many sewing books (some in english, some in french) but nothing specifically on knits. And since following your Wardrobe Architect I have figured out that I like to wear mostly knit tops. So this is the perfect book and a perfect timing too for me ! Thank you for writing it !

P.S. : The pictures look amazing ! I just love it when something useful is also beautiful !


Can’t wait for the new book! I’ve been wanting to start learning how to sew with knits!


I have knits in my stash, yet have never sewn with them! I can’t wait for this book so that I can make way for new fabrics! :)


Can’t wait even though I just purchased a book on this topic today by Nancy Zieman.
Is this going to be a physical book? Please say so as I can’t stand e-books.


Kati, I know what you mean about eBooks. I have some, but honestly just don’t enjoy them nearly as much. The only time I look at them is when I’m on vacation and can’t bring my regular books along. The announcement on March 6th said that we have a choice of paperback OR eBook, so you won’t be forced to deal with ebooks. :)

And… it would just be the best thing ever if this book has a cover that allows the book to lay open without needing weights put on the corners. Just my 2 cents, and too late to change anything, I know.. just saying. I’m planning to have this book open and on the sewing table being well-used, and not having it shut on its own would be lovely.


If it is soft cover you can take it somewhere and have it made spiral bound. I did that once before and it seems like it was under $5.00.

gabriel ratchet

me three.

if you purchase and download an e-something like “the cooper companion” to a flash drive, you can take the drive to a business/copy place (i used a local ups store), and they can print up a nice coil bound copy for your personal use. not cheap, but worth it to me.


I’m with you on covers that can lay flat. It just blows my mind, after all the author’s hard work, the publishers of craft books put regular bindings so you can’t lay the book down and work with both hands. They even do that with PIANO books! As if it isn’t obvious that you need both hands free to play!

Sorry, little rant there. It’s a huge pet peeve, especially because sometime they don’t leave quite enough margin to get a spiral binding put on yourself.


It’s funny you guys say that because that’s why I love ebooks for this sort of thing! It’s so easy to prop up my ipad next to my sewing, and it only takes a finger to turn the page. I know they’re not for everyone, though.

This book is perfect bound, like a standard paperback. I’d love to do a lay-flat binding (like The Colette Sewing Handbook) someday for future books, but it isn’t in the cards right now for various logistical reasons.


That’s an interesting point, propping up the kindle/iPad at your work station.

I feel like a child waiting for Christmas Day! So excited about this book. LOL
a reason to look forward to tax day!


Yes, it will be available as both a paperback or a digital book. Your choice!


I can’t wait! I have a serger and coverstitch, but I’ve only scratched the surface of everything those machines can do. And, I also love to wear knits and pretty much live in knit shirts, so learning more about how to sew them well has been high up on my list of sewing related “things to do”.

Looking forward to pre-ordering, I will be among the first as soon as it is announced. :)


Can we pre-order the book on amazon? I couldn’t find it there. It looks like it will be full of great information.


It’s not available on amazon yet, but if you sign up to the list at the bottom of the post, you will be able to pre-order and get in the first round of shipments.

Juliana Calado

really, I can’t wait!
I want to read it!!!
looks beautiful, but I’ll wait ’til I get it to make the proper compliments. For now, would you please just hurry? I am sleeping early so days will go by faster.


I am so excited for this book. I am pretty new to sewing and already have some knit fabric, but have not had the guts to use it. This will spur me on.

Claire (aka Seemane)

I’ve searched Amazon UK & US (in order to pre-order the book) and I cannot find it anywhere :(!


It’s not yet available on amazon, but if you get on that list (bottom of the post), you’ll get the free chapter plus be able to order first.


Thank you for yet again, for a book that will be looked forward to in anticipation/purchased w/ joy/and utilized.
I look forward to obtaining this publication.

Lady ID

This is exciting. I’ve been sewing more and more knits lately – I put up some photos on the blog today – so I’m sure I will want this for my library. Plus the peach lace on the cover?? I’m on a bit of a peach kick lately!


congratulations, Sarai! I think this is going to be a great resource for all sewers!


This is great! Cant wait to see more :) I love how you describe your experience of working on the book like being in a master class. It reminded me that over the past year or so I’ve been looking some kind of “Sew Camp” for adults that has the feel of your blog (and a few others that I follow-just a younger, stylish, well made vibe). I know there are so many egroups and ecourses and eclasses… but I would love to spend 5 days in person (in a pretty place! with good food!) just totally emerged in sewing, designing, making, learning, making blocks etc.. Its sooo different making and learning with true hands-on camaraderie and teaching. There are many Quilt Retreats like this and I know of a very few Sew Retreats (but the style isn’t quite what I’m thinking) Do you think this is something you or or company would ever do? Or, do you know of someone who is working on this idea? Anyhoo, just thought I’d ask :)
Best, J


It’s a lovely idea, and I’ve often thought it would be fun! I’ve been hesitant because I know events are a lot of work.

I know Heather Ross does a lot of great retreats and workshops!

Kristin H

I haven’t done much sewing with knits yet, so I’m definitely interested in this book. Hopefully it will help me avoid at least some mistakes!

Yzobela Hyett

I would love to see a chapter – I’m so excited about this book, I have been having mixed results sewing with knits.


I’m very curious to see the rest of the book! This would be very useful for me, as I have never sewn knits before :)

Nisha Williams

I’m currently working through the current Collette book for the modern seamstress. I am finding it very helpful. Layout, pictures, how the information is organized in the book. I’m adding this book to my Amazon wish list!! I just attemped my first knits top and it is a HOT MESS. I would love a practical guide!


Wow this looks amazing. I recently purchased a coverstitich but haven’t gone beyond the basics of hemming yet.

Adri H.

I’m so excited about this book!!! I love sewing with knits, but I feel like my current sewing books don’t ever give me enough detail on this specific topic. I’m looking forward to reading what you all have put together!


Oooh, exciting! I’m glad it will be an e-book, too, since there’s no patterns– my Kindle would take up less space by my sewing area, and my shelf of sewing books is full! I’m hoping this will help me with my continual tension struggles with my serger, lol.

Miss Crayola Creepy

I cannot wait for the book and the patterns. Is it creepy that I have been loading up on knit fabrics even though I have no idea what the patterns are going to be? :)


Ah, how exciting! I’ve recently fallen in love with working with knits, but I’m fuzzy on going beyond basic construction- can’t wait to see techniques for adding embellishments as that’s really what I need help with! I also want to see the info on using a serger… it might be the thing that breaks my resolve and convinces me I need to start saving up for one. XD


About the publishing thing….I’d pay for printed copy of the Laurel Extras. I like paper, and for what it’s worth, for future reference, I really like spiral bound books, and I’d be happy to pay something extra for that if needed in order to increase ease of use. I do understand about limits, we all have them :-).
What an exciting time for all of you. Congratulations!


I’d prefer the print book – but there’s one point I’d like to make… Sarai, please mark this or patterns as Printed Matter when you ship out of the US. My country is getting really tough lately and anything out of Europe is taxed, including the postage. The last time I bought a couple of your patterns direct from you I got taxed for the first time.

BUT printed matter is not liable. In fact, a couple of companies I’ve bought books and patterns from in the US don’t even write anything outside – no green label or anything – they said it’s unnecessary.


Our customs forms should be marked Books, which will hopefully suffice. I don’t know about the regulations everywhere, of course, but I do know that this designation is sufficient to avoid customs charges in Ireland (for what that’s worth).


I’ve sewn with knits all along, but have always thought that there was a need for a comprehensive, approachable book on sewing with knits in the market. Congratulations on identifying the gap, and addressing it. Look forward to ordering my book!


Today is my birthday and I know what I will be buying for myself in a few weeks. I live in knits, but not knits sewn by me. I hope to change that. The book looks great and I can’t wait to “level-up” my sewing skills over the next year. Thank you for your awesome work.


I too am super excited about this book and CANNOT wait for it to come out. Bring the knits!


Can’t wait for the book – I’ve just ordered a new serger to go with!


Can you do a blog post on recommended online knit fabric suppliers? I buy most of my fabric online (I live in Australia) but find the quality a bit hit and miss. It’s difficult to judge knit fabrics without being able to touch them. A resource list of reliable suppliers from either your own or Alyson personal experience would be very helpful.


having benefitted from the first sewing book, I look forward to enjoying this one as well!


I have your first book and love it. I am very excited about this one and can’t wait for a sneek peak. Thank you for your ongoing inspiration.

Alice Elliot

Looks like a good one! I love to sew knits, and your book looks like something I can really use, because I’m ready to go way beyond the basics!


Help … I am at my wits end! I’m trying to sew some curtains out of what turns out to be “stretch” fabric. I bought what was suggested by the clerk, who knew that I have limited sewing experience. Now I’ve cut out my first pair of anels and can’t get to three inches of the first hem when the fabric starts to gather behind the needle. After googling on this, I’ve cleaned the sewing machine; adjusted the tension; changed to stretch and sew stitch and replaced the needle used for stretch fabrics. Nothing has changed. Are there any other tips that I should consider??? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

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