The Colette Sewing Handbook

The Colette Sewing Handbook : 5 Fundamentals for a Great Sewing Experience

4.15 (599 ratings by Goodreads)
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A great plan, a great pattern, a great fit, a great fabric, and a great finish: These are the five fundamentals for perfecting any sewing project. Sarai Mitnick, an independent pattern designer setting the high water mark in the industry, shares her knowledge of these fundamentals and offers five beautiful projects to go with them.

Powerful instruction: A former expert in user experience in the tech industry, Sarai Mitnick's Colette Patterns line has gained a great deal of respect for comprehensive, clear instruction.
Comprehensive resource: The chapters cover sewing techniques, planning and fitting, working with patterns, working with fabrics, working with linings, finishing techniques--in essence, each chapter focuses on what the entirety of another book might cover.
Gorgeous package: Pitch-perfect combination of illustration, step-by-step photography and beautiful project shots, all with a clean, lovely design.

*Disclaimer: eBook does not include Tissue Enclosures as enclosed with print book.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 203 x 254 x 23mm | 930g
  • Krause Publications
  • Ohio, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1440215456
  • 9781440215452
  • 14,478

Table of contents

Introduction; 1 Getting Started; 2 A Great Plan; 3 A Great Pattern; 4 A Great Fit; 5 A Great Fabric; 6 A Great Finish; 7 Keep Learning; Recommended Reading; Resources; Index.
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Review quote

-This may be the first book of its kind that I actually read from cover to cover.- --Darling Adventures
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About Sarai Mitnick

Sarai Mitnick is owner of Colette Patterns and majors on modern sewing patterns for design-orientated sewers. She has written for Design Sponge, Modern Seamster, The Storque and DIY City Magazine and her mission is to share the joy that sewing can bring. Sarai lives in Portland, Oregon and her work can be viewed at
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Rating details

599 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 42% (251)
4 37% (219)
3 17% (100)
2 4% (25)
1 1% (4)

Our customer reviews

I would consider myself to be an intermediate seamstress. I learned all the basics at school (where I studied home ec and then fashion) and have tinkered by making the occasional garment ever since. This is the book that I wish I were given when I started sewing. This is the book that I gave myself - because the author Sarai Mitnik keeps me interested and inspired whenever I read her blog. That point of view is reflected in this book. I figured the projects would be good - like all Colette Patterns they are classics and timeless. Feminine, but not too trendy that the projects won't still interest me in 5 years time. And they are: 1 simple skirt, 3 dresses and a blouse. This is a book for women who want to sew custom made beautiful classics for their wardrobe. But when I received this book I found myself reading every word from front to back. I was so surprised! Sarai has a wonderful attitude to fitting and making clothing that you will wear: don't worry about being pear shaped, or apple shaped, or identifying a figure flaw so that you can hide it - understand what you feel comfortable wearing and make it and wear it! Clothing is an expression of your own personality and Sarai understands that sewing and dressing your body should be fun. The book contains a section on fabrics which is excellent and steers new dressmakers away from cottons for quilting (an easily made mistake by most beginners and one that I'm guilty of) and instead glides over the technical differences between weaves and fibres and instead encourages readers to evaluate fabrics based on body, weight and drape. The fitting section is suited for beginners and covers some of the most common alterations and describes them step by step. Even though it's more basic than some of my other books devoted to fitting I will still refer to this one simply because the diagrams explain the process so well - and much better than my other books. I can't recommend this enough. If you have a woman (or daughter) in your life who loves clothes and has a crafty, DIY or creative side this is a beautiful gift. If you've ever been interested in making your own clothes start with this book. I also bought the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook and while I like it - and will be inspired by the many variations photographed by not explained - I simply skim read over the text and left it on my coffee table for some pretty pictures. The BurdaStyle book is a nice book, but the Colette Sewing Handbook is a must more
by Cassandra Duwell
What a great book. Wish I had it when I started sewing way back. Or when I started sewing again a few months ago. But I was lucky then to discover the Colette patterns, which are not only lovely, wearable, flattering vintage inspired patterns, but come in great little booklets with detailed instruction and illustrations of steps - I was lucky to start off sewing again with her wrap dress, Crepe, and not with one of the Big Four patterns which would have thrown me for a loop in my beginning throes! After that I ordered and made more of her patterns, and was really excited to see that she was going to publish a book - and pleased for her - she deserves a wide audience. I pre-ordered this book, even before I saw previews of the patterns enclosed,, partly because from following the writer's blog and the great detailed, clever and thorough tutorials thereon I expected it to be a great resource, and partly because I knew it would be gorgeous - I love her aesthetic. Then after seeing the pattern previews I was dying for the book to come! I was more than satisfied in all respects - the book is thoughtfully written and beautifully photographed and laid out, and the sewing instructions and tips therein are excellent. Plus, I want to make all the patterns..... The book made me think about planning my wardrobe in a way I hadn't before - I tend to crush on fabric, buy, make and then realise I have a skirt which goes with nothing.... She advocates a more thoughtful approach with beautifully made items forming the base of your wardrobe - plus getting fit right, and then using the same patterns again and again in different fabrics with different detailing or embellishment - makes sense to me, instead of jumping from pattern to pattern always hoping one will look nicer and fit better than the other. The photos and descriptions of different kinds of fabric made me realise where I've gone wrong in my fabric choices at times - the knitters reading this will understand if they've ever made a ribbed fitted sweater in suri alpaca - all that work for something that becomes an A-line, loose and matter under the arms after two wears! On a practical note, the book is hardback but ring bound, so it lies flat - yay! The sewing tips detailed are photographed clearly. There are loads of photos of different ways to adjust patterns - and now I see that the way I was adjusting waistlines was wrong all along - no wonder my side seams were off..... I've bought a lot of sewing books, including the three that came out recently with patterns included - see my other reviews, if you wish. This is the only one that's going to sit on the little table near my sewing table along with my Threads sewing guide, Claire Shaeffer's Couture Techniques, and the Reader's Digest compendium. LOVE.....Highly more
by Francesca P Amodeo
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