Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Colette Sewing Handbook

I've been aware of the Colette pattern line since it first came to market and even though I've admired some of the garments made from the patterns, the line didn't really fit my lifestyle.  I was also aware that Sarai was writing a book and I have to admit that I really had no plans on purchasing it. 


Then I saw my first Meringue skirt and I wanted one.  I really wanted one after I saw a few more versions and Sarai posted instructions on her blog on how to add a waistband to the skirt.  I don't know about my fellow plus size sistahs but I NEED a waistband on a straight skirt that has a zipper!  The hunt was on to find the pattern...and that's when I realized that the only way to get the pattern was to buy the book.  Since I needed a few Christmas gifts from Amazon, I threw it in the cart for me.


The book arrived this morning and instead of finishing up my McCalls dress, I've been sitting here engrossed in the book.  Why do you ask?  Because even though this book is geared to the beginning sewist, Sarai said a few things in her introduction that had me shaking my head "yes" along with her.  These three sentences sealed the deal for me:


"There's only one trait that I think every sewer should possess: curiosity.  Learning to sew is an ongoing process; in fact, the learning never really stops.  Each project has the potential to teach you something new."


Those are such awesome and wise words.  It's the reason I call myself an intermediate sewist 'cause I believe that there is ALWAYS something new to learn about my craft.  


Then Sarai sealed the deal when she discussed wearable muslins positively.  Now anyone who has read my ramblings for any amount of time knows that I don't make a muslin and that I believe in wearable muslins.  This can be such a divisive subject in the sewing community so to read that she actually understands that there is a place for the wearable muslin, made my heart sing.  Especially because many times I'm the one standing alone or in the midst of the minority on this technique.


The final selling point (the one that made me write this blog post) was that I learned a new fitting technique.  My  AHA! moment occurred when I was reviewing the pivot alteration that she wrote for adding width to the hip line in a skirt and in a bodice pattern piece.  I've always added space/width at the center front of the pattern piece but Sarai shows how to add it by slashing and spreading, then pivoting the pattern piece.  Now I can't wait to use this technique on a new pattern!


So look for a new Meringue skirt here soon and if you've been wondering if you need a copy of this book in your sewing library, YES you do!  To help you along I'm including a link to Sarai's bundle special, buy the book and get 2 patterns for $50.  Since it's Shop a Small Business Saturday, place an order today to support this small sewing business.


I'm off to finish my latest dress which is turning out better than I expected.  Love when that happens!  I still have tomorrow to sew and I just might dig out the piece of fabric that I'm thinking about and make my very own version of the Meringue skirt...


...as always, more later!


  

20 comments:

  1. I'm getting this book for Christmas and it's great to read such a positive review. I'm also a fan of the wearable muslin.

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  2. I asked for the book for Christmas. I can't wait to get it. I'm with you on wearable muslins. I started calling them "practice garments" to avoid the fury. For me fitting isn't the only thing I want to try out. I want to see how it wears, how it works on me after a day at work, does it ride up, pinch, whatever, before I sink time and money into pricey fabric.

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  3. I share your admiration of Colette patterns, but agree with your comment that most of the styles, while cute don't suit my lifestyle. So I assumed this book wasn't for me. Your positive, and specific review has me thinking again! My interest is particularly piqued by a new way to add width at the hips!

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  4. Just ordered this book yesterday. I need all the help I can get and this book should really help. Thanks from the review!

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  5. I've been going back and forth as to whether to order this book or not. Now it looks like I probably will!

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  6. I pre-ordered the book a while ago and am still waiting for it. I'm starting to get antsy :) It's great to hear another positive review, just another affirmation that the book is money well spent.

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  7. I've never really looked at these patterns before but I've seen many people sew them. I am going right now to order this book. It sounds perfect and it needs to be in my collection. It will be my christmas gift to myself!

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  8. I look forward to seeing your Merinque skirt! I also love what I have read so far in The Colette Sewing Handbook. I have been meaning to write a review on my blog, but I confess I have not read the whole thing, so I don't feel comfortable reviewing it just yet.
    However, I felt the same way you did when reading the intro. I thought, "YES! I agree!!"

    I like the Lady Grey coat pattern, too, and I bought that a while back, hoping to get around to it eventually.

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  9. Thanks. I just bought the book and 2 patterns I've been looking at. I'm meeting Karen tomorrow morning for coffee and then will be fabric shopping in Philly on Monday. Hope you had a lovely holiday. g

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  10. You are such an enabler! Now I am going to have to get this book... and two patterns too, it would seem!

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  11. I felt the same way when I first heard of the book.... I'm not really a vintage seamstress, and though I admired her patterns from afar (and loved that most of them are named after different varieties of tea), I figured there wasn't really much in there for me. It was actually a series of in-depth chapter-by-chapter reviews on one of the blogs I read that convinced me to get it. And I'm glad I did. The fitting suggestions are some of the most clear and concise I've ever read, I loved every word of the "Thoughtful Plan" chapter, and I agree that it was nice to get a shoutout to the wearable muslin, since I try to do those whenever possible! (I hate wasting fabric.) Also, I want a Taffy blouse.

    Ironically, I've spent the last 4 days making one of the vintage-looking dresses from this very book. What can I say... I got invited to a "Mad Men" dress-up themed party, and the Licorice dress actually fit the bill pretty well. (Pics to come soon, as I still need to hem it first.) I have a feeling that I'm going to be using this book a lot more than I anticipated, and I'm glad I gave it a chance.

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  12. There is likely a copy of that book in this house in the Amazon box right now. I asked for it for Christmas and my husband thought it was okay to tell me that box had my Christmas present in it. It's very difficult.

    I have 3 of her patterns but so far I've only made up Sencha blouse and I am currently suffering a Sorbetto addiction.

    And I'm with you on the wearable muslin. Probably the only true muslin I did was for a party dress when I didn't have extra fabric for an oops. I have a good stash of cheaper fabrics that if it doesn't turn out I'm not heart broken, but if it does, then I'm set.

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  13. I read about this book on Amazon, and something about it spoke to me, but I thought that I didn't need a basic sewing book. Your thoughts have made me re-think that. I do a muslin out of calico that is very rough, and is just about figuring out basic size and fit. I am embarking on pants making, and my first effort will be wearable cos I think I need to see the whole thing done to get the fit right.

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  14. I'm a big fan of the pivot method for adding hip width to bodices - it's so much more accurate than blindly grading between sizes :-)

    I've also asked for the Handbook for Christmas - partly because I NEED a Pastille in my wardrobe, but also because I was so drawn in by some of the more discussion-y type extracts that I read on the blog tour.

    (On another note, my word verification is 'derierr' - seems appropriate when discussing a pattern line designed for curvy girls!)

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  15. I ordered the holiday book bundle yesterday bevor I read your text and I didn't know if it could help me, because i'm a plus size. And in bookshops in Germany I cannot have a look. After reading your blog from yesterday im happy I did.
    Thank you for blogging.
    Mema

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  16. Excellent review! I'm with you on the wearable muslins too!!

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  17. The patterns in this line are a bit too young for me but I love her tutorials. I am thinking about the book though.

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  18. Their patterns are mostly not my style, but I LOVE the Colette Patterns Lady Grey coat I made last winter, and I would give top marks to the pattern and instructions, which were thoughtful and thorough. SO, it doesn't surprise me that the book would be similar.

    Wearable muslin - Unless you sew a muslin for every single garment you make, the first time you sew a new pattern, call it what you will, it's really just a wearable muslin, right? Some of us just don't like admitting it.

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  19. Yay. Wearable muslins. I can't stand making muslins for the sake of making the real garment. I'll keep my eye out for this book. Thanks for the advice.

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  20. I bought the book a week or so ago for the Meringue skirt pattern too! And was going to post a review on my blog today but I hit the wrong button and the review disappeared and I'm too tired to rewrite it :-) It's a great book for more than the Meringue skirt pattern!

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