12 Oct 2011

Spotlight: Colette Patterns

Clara of Clazzerati prompted this post with her comment on my Sorbetto Surprise. You see, Claz has apparently never heard of Colette Patterns (I know, right!) and was wondering where to look for patterns. For those out there who also don't know Colette Patterns, these are the patterns you've probably been looking for.

Colette Patterns was created by Sarai. She's produced a range of beautifully packaged, easy to follow patterns that allow the user to create gorgeous clothes. The Coletterie, the blog for the site, is stuffed full of tutorials, tips and tricks and lovely pictures. Commercial patterns can be purchased from the shop, however Sarai has also designed some free patterns that are available for download from The Coletterie.

Not content with just some amazing patterns, Sarai has written a book on sewing (complete with patterns) available for pre-order from Amazon in the UK and US and she's currently running a sew-a-long on The Coletterie. She took a few minutes out to answer some questions for me:

Who are you?
My name is Sarai Mitnick, and I'm the creator behind Colette Patterns, an independent sewing pattern company. I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband, who manages the customer service and operations for the company, and my two darling felines.

How would you describe Colette Patterns to someone who doesn't know it?
I'd describe it as a boutique sewing pattern company that specializes in feminine, timeless styles. Style-wise, they definitely have some classic vintage inspiration, but in a very wearable, modern direction. We're also known for having great instructions and lots of additional tutorials and fun stuff on our blog, The Coletterie.

What inspired you to do what you do?
I've been sewing since I was a teen, but I was always disappointed by the offerings from the big pattern companies. It wasn't even necessarily the design choices that were available, but I didn't understand why the instructions had to be so complicated and cheaply produced.

My background is in User Experience; in other words, designing products that are usable and pleasurable. I thought it would be great to create a sewing pattern that would be fun and inspiring to use rather than confusing.

Where do you get your inspiration?
It comes from everywhere, really. I've always loved vintage, and lately I've been especially into the styles of the 1960s. I love a really simple sort of glamour, beautiful without being overdone.

But I also pay attention to modern fashion, and I particularly love seeing what real women are wearing in their daily lives. I love seeing the character of real people shine through in their own personal style. The development of so many street style blogs has been awesome to watch, it's really inspiring.

Finally, I'd say I'm hugely inspired by color. That can come from anywhere: art, nature, fabric, anything. Color ideas really motivate me creatively.

How do you push through design/ sewing fatigue?
I don't really get design fatigue, I don't think. And I'm lucky enough to have my assistant designer, Caitlin. She helps me do a lot of the daily sewing and sample making and tutorial development for the blog.

A bigger problem for me is having too many ideas and not enough time to implement them all. This can feel really discouraging and overwhelming sometimes. Keeping my ideas and projects organized really helps with that. I have a list of projects that I want to work on and try to stick to it, so I don't get overwhelmed with potential project ideas.

What's the most useful sewing tip you've ever been given?
It's not just relevant to sewing, but the adage "go slow to go fast" really applies. Rushing through sewing projects just doesn't suit me at all. I've found so much more enjoyment from sewing since I stopped trying to make things as quickly as possible and skip over the "boring" parts, like making muslins.

What's your favourite thing you've ever made?
It has to be my wedding dress! I bought some imported Italian 4-ply silk in gold, and trimmed it in a pearl-beaded organza. It was such a luscious fabric to work with, and the dress felt just perfect for me. It's a real treat to work with high quality materials like that.

Thank you Sarai! You can follow Sarai on Twitter here, or Colette Patterns here. I highly recommend signing up for the Snippets newsletter on The Coletterie, full of useful tidbits and, of course, the patterns! Lots of fabulous choice, something to suit everyone.

Please note all pictures are (c) Sarai Mitnick/ Colette Patterns.

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. I really love their patterns- the book is in my Amazon wish list!!!

  2. Great interview! You know I love Colette's style and I'm finally getting hip to the "go slow to go fast" bit.


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