Not Martha

The Colette Sewing Handbook

Colette Sewing Handbook

I got a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick and I think I swooned a little. I’ve been a fan of Colette Patterns and her tutorials for a long time. The book contains five principles (a thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric, and a fine finish) and five patterns (a scalloped-hem skirt, flutter-sleeve blouse, sweetheart neck sheath dress, asymmetrical flounce dress, and a lined dress with gathered sleeves). Each section of the book takes you through creating each garment, teaching you techniques as you work.

Colette Sewing Handbook

The book has my favorite spiral binding so it will stay open while you work, as well as a set of patterns in the back.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing needle and thread types

The book takes you through the basics, showing tools and techniques very clearly explaining the benefits and uses for each kind.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing how to lay out a pattern on a table top

Each section of the book uses one of the patterns in the back and acts as a complete lesson in sewing a garment from start to finish. This is how I learn, I need a real project to work all the way through, so I adored how this book was arranged. You build your knowledge with each project.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing draping on a form

She gives very basic and practical tips so you don’t have to struggle. Every step is clearly displayed and explained.

Colette Sewing Handbook, page showing a model wearing a flutter sleeve top

And of course all the items in the book are things you definitely want to wear. Easy enough to take on, with just enough clean detail to be super cool. Just look at this top, gorgeous. If you want to learn to sew your own clothes and need a set of lessons to start you off this book is perfect.

· comments [15] · 11-28-2011 · categories:books · sewing ·

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Danielle // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    What are the pattern sizes for this book? I’ve used Colette in the past and know she goes up to 18, but are the patterns in the book up to size 18?

    I’ve been burned by Built by Wendy in the past; before I shell out for this, I want to make sure the clothes I make will fit my body.

  • 2 falnfenix // Nov 28, 2011 at 9:17 am

    see…i need a book like that. thanks for sharing.

  • 3 mcauliflower // Nov 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

    And just in time for my yearly pledge to better my sewing…
    Sounds excellent.

  • 4 Amy // Nov 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

    What sizes are the patterns? I am a bigger girl and wouldn’t want to buy the book if I couldn’t use te patterns for myself (selfish!!)

  • 5 McAuliflower // Nov 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

    noticing there’s an ebook version… can you speak to the features of this one? (ie how does it deal with patterns?)

  • 6 Kenzie // Nov 28, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I was excited to read about this book at first because it sounds like just the thing I need to help me get started with sewing clothes. I was about to add it to my christmas list when I realized that of course it probably doesn’t do plus sizes. I checked, and yes, unfortunately it only does sizes to 18. I’m a 20 or 22.

    Once again, another message that fat people don’t deserve nice clothes (at least not without doing a lot more work than slender-er people).

  • 7 Kristin H // Nov 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve been hearing all sorts of good things about this book and I love Colette’s blog. I might just have to add this to my Christmas/birthday wishlist.

  • 8 Sarai M // Nov 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Wow! I thought I was the only person named Sarai, I’ve never met another one in my 36 years.

  • 9 megan // Nov 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Danielle and Amy – The sizes in the book go up to 18. I don’t know anything about clothing size standardizations but you can take a peek at her size measurements to see how they compare.

    McAuliflower – I’m afraid I don’t have a copy of the e-book so I cannot say how it would work out with the patterns.

  • 10 Heather // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Ooooohh! I’m super excited to peruse this book! I love Colette patterns!

  • 11 Jane // Nov 30, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Right now I’m reading Stitch by Stitch by Deborah Moebes. I think I’m going to have to my next to read list. These kind of books are great for beginner sewers.

  • 12 Kristen // Dec 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

    This book looks awesome. I love the 5 principles! May have to get this… :)

  • 13 Andie Miller // Dec 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

    My daughter (13) received a sewing machine from her grandma for Christmas. Would this be a good starting point for her (other than the time spent learning from her grandma)?

  • 14 megan // Dec 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Andie – This book would be great once your daughter starts to learn to make her own clothing. If she needs to learn to sew first I would start with a book that covers more basics. But this book would be great once she is interested in making her own clothes because it shows how to fit and personalize clothes — I used to f ind that clothing made from patterns was such a poor fit for my petite frame that it was very discouraging. Best of wishes!

  • 15 Andie Miller // Dec 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Megan, perfectly helpful response. I may still get this book and the more basic so that she has both and can move on when she’s ready. You (and your blog) are really quite lovely and I thank you for such a prompt response.

Leave a Comment