Talking with us today is Sarai, the founder of Colette Patterns and the author of The Colette Sewing Book. She tells us about her love of sewing and why she decided to start creating her own line of patterns. I am also in love with her adorable and helpful blog, Coletterie!
Hi Sarai! Colette Patterns and the Coletterie blog truly stands out from the crowd. We’d love to learn a little bit more about you- the person who started it all. Can you tell us about yourself?
I am originally from southern California, but have also lived in New York and San Francisco before finally settling down here in beautiful Portland, OR. I love the pacific northwest, and really feel at home here!
The people here are so nice, and there is just creativity everywhere you look. I live with my husband and two charming cats in a little old house I sometimes call "The Cottage." I spend most days working in my studio, located in a beautiful old factory building about half a mile from my home.
I love crafts of all kinds, but seem to take particular pleasure in learning new skills and trying new things. I also knit, draw, write, cook, garden, preserve food… you name it. Oh, and I love a good cocktail.
How did your passion for sewing develop?
I’ve always loved clothes, and when I was about 16 I asked my grandmother to teach me to sew. She taught me the basics, and it just grew from there.
I think what I love best is that sewing allows me to indulge my passion for clothing and dressing up and all the creativity around that, without feeling trapped by the pull of consumerism. Sewing is all about expressing yourself (the positive side of fashion) and less about just spending money and acquiring more and more stuff.
What led to you start creating your own designs?
I had a hard time finding pattern designs that I wanted to sew. I began using vintage patterns for the most part, but those often had an odd fit or poor directions. I thought I could do better! I started drafting my own patterns, just for my own personal use, and eventually hit upon the idea of creating patterns for others.
Your designs clearly have a retro influence mixed with a modern wearability. Though you draw from past styles, there is a fresh element to all your designs. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration really comes from anywhere! I like to see what real women are wearing on the street, and love checking out all the street style blogs from around the world that are out there now. It’s interesting to see how real people put outfits together.
I also pay attention to high fashion, since I think you see so many amazing ideas come to life on the runways. But it’s really only with real women that you see what people actually want to wear in their day to day lives.
Of course, there’s also the usual sources of inspiration for most designers: art, film, nature, it can really come from anywhere!
We specialize in 100% flax linen at Fabrics-Store.com. Do you ever work with linen?
I love linen, especially for summer clothing! In fact, I’m taking a trip to the southern hemisphere soon, and just today bought a lovely linen for sewing up a dress to take with me. I love how breathable, soft, and durable it is.
Thanks for sharing with us, Sarai! One last question to encourage any beginner sewers out there. Do you have any words of advice for anyone who is hesitant about sewing?
Don’t be afraid to do a little research! If you can’t figure out how to do something, there are hundreds of tutorials online that can help you, not to mention books (like mine).
Be willing to ask lots of questions and experiment, and don’t be afraid to use your seam ripper if things don’t go according to plan. Chances are, you’ll make some mistakes, but it’s all part of the learning process.
Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview!
*Interested in learning some of Sarai’s sewing techniques? Check out her great new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook!