I recently purchased The Colette Sewing Handbook, and it is absolutely fantastic!  Sarai Mitnick (the author) breaks down clothing construction to “five fundamentals” and describes the importance of each in beautiful detail.  I recently purchased fabric with 3 Colette Patterns in mind: the Meringue skirt (featured in the book), the Jasmine blouse (a separate pattern), and the Hazel dress (another printed pattern).  Eventually, I would like to make ALL of the Colette patterns, but for now I am starting the first 2 on my list: the Meringue skirt, and the Jasmine blouse.

Sarai Mitnick recommends starting each sewing project with a “thoughtful plan,” and so this time, rather than rush through the cutting and pinning and marking and boring stuff, I decided to take my time and work on being precise and patient.  I carefully examined the finished garment measurements and compared them to my own.  Like many new and innovative pattern makers, Sarai Mitnick has her own version of sizing and since I am new to the fit of her patterns, I must take extra time to get the right fit.  I was surprised that her sizing seemed much closer to my actual measurements than any other size chart.  I am extra curvy and usually have to span multiple sizes to get everything right.  With these patterns, I only made alterations to the top of the skirt, giving myself just a little extra wiggle room in the waist. 🙂


Pattern cutting and tracing and marking is undeniably the most BORING part of sewing.  The prospect of having to do this with new patterns makes me procrastinate and drag my feet, but these patterns are so beautiful I could wait no longer.  Taking Sarai Mitnick’s advice, I decided to try to look at the patterns in a different light.  I very carefully cut the patterns roughly from their original tissue sheet and ironed them until they were pristine.  The warm sheets of pattern felt comforting on such a cold day and I focused on enjoying the sensation.  (It is currently 8 degrees here).


I have a giant roll of tracing paper that I bought at a local art store.  After ironing my pattern pieces, I placed them under the tracing paper and carefully transferred the cutting lines and markings for my size.  To add some width in the waist, I carefully graded my size out with a ruler and transferred the markings accordingly.


As you can see, I am using large metal washers as pattern weights.  I got this idea from reading Sarai Mitnick’s blog on sewing.  Since “pattern weights” are super expensive, this is a GREAT IDEA.  I bought 2 packs of “Create-A-Bolt” from Home Depot.  At $4 a piece, this “Create-A-Bolt” package comes with 4 hex nuts, 4 flat washers, and 4 lock washers, all at 3/4″.  Amazing.

Anyway.  This is as far as I have gotten tonight.  The patterns are crisp and clean and full of potential.  Tomorrow I will take my freshly washed fabric and carefully cut the pieces and begin the sewing process…………

Stoked! 🙂


About Karen Sofie

I love sewing, knitting, cooking, and creating.

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