Fabric Fives: Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns

I’m so thrilled to have Colette Patterns owner Sarai Mitnick stop by on the blog today to share her Fabric Fives. I got to meet her at Quilt Market and see her schoolhouse where she talked about her beautiful new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook. I learned several things: 1. That her name is pronounced “Sehr-ie” and not “Suh-RAI” like I was saying it in my head; though I think it’s such a pretty name either way. 2. She used to work in user experience at Google. I mean, of course. Everything about Colette Patterns is about the user: Sarai’s all about making everyone feel welcome without a hint of patronizing, and she helps the newbie navigate sewing without ever letting them feel lost. 3. So she’s a born teacher, and this book is meant to bring people into garment sewing, building skills and confidence via five versatile sewing patterns.

Have you read Sarai’s Quilt Market report on the Coletterie? The topic of the “sewing vs. quilting” divide came up a lot during market. I’ll revisit it in a wrapup/trend post, but for now I’ll just say that no matter what tends to roll off your sewing machine, we all share a love of fabric. Thanks to Sarai for helping to bridge the gap, and for sharing her favorite fabrics here today!

+ + +

My Stash

I recently cleaned up my fabric stash. It was previously on open shelving, but I worried about sun damage because my studio is extremely bright. It was also getting pretty messy.

I bought these boxes at Ikea. I still wanted to be able to see what was inside, so my assistant and I cut little swatches from each box and pinned them on a ribbon to the outside. The boxes are roughly color separated, and all the fabric inside is rolled to save space. It’s so neat and functional! Finding a particular fabric is a breeze now.

Five Favorite Fabrics in Your Stash Right Now

1. Premier Prints Zig Zag in village blue
2. Vintage rayon in navy, with a “lucky charms” theme print
3. Liberty tana Lawn, Caesar
4. Vintage teal silk with dots and x’s
5. Vintage rayon with roses and loops

Five Fabrics on Your Wish List

1 Liberty paper roses
2. Julia Rothman nethercote in bone (image from Hawthorne Threads)
3. Liberty Edenham
4. Madeline Weinrib raspberry Daphne (way out of my price range, I just like it)
5. Premier Prints chipper

Five Fabrics You Could (or Do) Consume by the Bolt

1. Coral colored silk. My favorite color, my favorite fabric. This is a luxurious 4-ply silk from Denver Fabrics
2. Polka dots! I love any and all dots, but especially white on black. This one is from Thai Silks.
3. Gingham, the fabric I actually do buy by the bolt. I use gingham for my muslins, because it shows the grainline so clearly. But I also just love the look of it, so crisp.
4. Stripes! I am a stripe fiend. I wear stripes all the time. This one is a stripe shirting from Denver Fabrics.
5. Cotton / silk blend from Dharma Trading. This is the perfect blend of casual and luxurious fibers, great for so many projects and takes dye beautifully!

Five Most Recent Acquisitions (and your plans for them, if any)

1. A gorgeous clear blue Pendleton wool. I picked up a couple yards for super cheap at the Pendleton outlet, and plan to make them into Clover pants (one of my new patterns).
2. Black and white houndstooth wool/lycra. This soft wool is going to become a pair of long gloves. It’s my first try sewing gloves.
3. Indigo blue stretch silk charmeuse. I will use this to line the blue Pendleton pants mentioned above.
4. Grey/white leopard print stretch silk charmeuse. I admit that I bought this with the intention of lining the blue pants. But then I fell in love with it and decided to make loungewear with it instead. So I bought the equally beautiful charmeuse above. Now I’m a little bit in love with that to, and I’m sad it’ll be hidden as a lining!
5. Black and white silk crepe, which will line a terra cotta wool coat I have planned!

A Favorite Five Fabric Combo

Shades of coral are my favorite! Anything in the peach/coral family is my cup of tea. This is a peach cotton twill, black and white polka dot charmeuse, pumpkin orange charmeuse, 1960s style floral print cotton lawn, and another peach cotton twill. I love mixing dots, stripes, and florals.

+ + +

Follow the Tour:

Nov 2: Craft Buds – interview and giveaway
Nov. 3: Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – lace insertion tutorial for the Licorice dress
Nov. 4: Sewaholic – book excerpt
Nov. 8: Flossie Teacakes – Interview with Sarai and book review
Nov. 8: A Fashionable Stitch – book excerpt and review
Nov. 9: Pink Chalk Studio – Book review
Nov. 10: Craft Gossip – Interview with Sarai and giveaway
Nov. 11: Bolt Fabric – book review
Nov. 14: True Up: Fabric Fives with Sarai (you are here)
Nov. 15: Frolic! – On styling the book’s photos
Nov. 15: Threads Magazine – Giveaway
Nov. 16: Whipstitch – book review
Nov. 16: Honey Kennedy – Styling ideas
Nov. 17: A Dress a Day – Interview with Sarai
Nov. 18: Not Martha – book review
(break for Thanksgiving week)
Nov. 28: Casey’s Elegant Musings – Project Planning, book excerpt and Casey’s thoughts
Nov. 29: MADE – giveaway
Nov. 30: Sew Weekly – book review
Nov. 30: Oh! Fransson - Elizabeth’s version of the Taffy pattern
Dec. 1: Sew Mama Sew – Guest post from Sarai on grainlines

… and don’t forget enter to win a signed copy of the book and 5 Colette Patterns of your choice here on the Coletterie.


  1. Monica Lee says:

    Oh Kim, I couldn’t resist this topic over at Sarai’s blog. Thanks so much for pointing it out, great discussion. I, of course, had to lend my voice to the subject on my blog-long winded girl that I am!

  2. Saskia says:

    It’s so lovely following this tour! Every time we lear something new about Sarai and her book :o )
    Thank you for the great interview :o ) and Sarai … I LOVE your way of ordering your fabric!!!! What a great idea!

  3. moira says:

    I’m just about to start to make myself a jasmine top with some liberty fabric – super nervous! thanks for the heads up re sarai’s blog

  4. krystina says:

    I love this interview, thanks for posting!