Sarai Mitnick is the owner and designer of Colette Sewing Patterns. Chances are if you’ve seen something gorgeous made from a modern vintage sewing pattern, it’s one of Sarai’s beautiful, classic designs. Our reviewers have absolutely loved Colette Patterns, and they echo what we’ve heard throughout the sewing community; Sarai creates truly well-designed patterns that teach you how to be a better sewist.
We’re so happy to have Sarai’s thoughts today about 2010 and 2011 to add to our series! Don’t forget to join in for your chance to win one of five $15 Sew,Mama,Sew! gift certificates on January 15th.
Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
Sarai: As a designer of garment sewing patterns, I tend to look mainly at themes and trends surrounding fashion or garment sewing. I don’t rely all that much on trends, but I do like to be aware of what’s out there, especially when it falls in line with my aesthetic! In that realm, vintage styles were a huge trend in 2010, particularly 1950s and 1960s looks inspired mainly by Mad Men. Structured, ladylike looks were all over the fashion pages and in stores, and that always translate to home sewing. Faux fur always makes an appearance in fall, but it seemed particularly strong this year (maybe because of the return to that era). Leopard print too (which I love).
Sarai’s Negroni shirt for her father, in chambray.
SMS: What was the best thing you made in 2010?
Sarai: I made a lot of things that are still under wraps! But one thing I loved making was this shirt for my father. It’s from my new men’s shirt pattern, in a soft grey chambray, and the final product was so wonderful. It was really special to me, because it was for someone I love, and because the design and detail was something I put so much heart and soul into.
Sleeve detail from Sarai’s Negroni shirt.
SMS: What were some of your favorite things?
Sarai: Since the 1960s are one of my favorite fashion eras, I did love seeing that come back in a fresh way.
SMS: What was your very favorite fabric collection or print?
Sarai: I just adored the spring collection from Liberty earlier this year. Everything they do is lovely, but I was particularly smitten with this collection.
SMS: What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
Sarai: I will be totally self-centered and say that I LOVED seeing all the coats people made when Gertie hosted a sew-along for my Lady Grey pattern. There were just some outstanding pieces and it was really neat to see the variety of looks everyone achieved with different fabrics.
Lady Grey by Liz, zilredloh
SMS: What do you think 2011 has in store?
Sarai: I am hopeful that we’ll see more garment-weight fabrics out there from fabric companies, the way Free Spirit and Anna Maria Horner created their wonderful voile collections. Overall, I think garment sewing is going to continue to grow, with new fresh voices, designers, and ideas.
SMS: Anything you’re ready for the world to get over?
Sarai: As my dad always says, “de gustibus not est disputadum” (you shouldn’t argue about taste). But I’d love to see more of shift among customers toward a wide range of small, caring businesses like small designers and independent fabric stores. But I think that has been happening to some extent.
SMS: Any thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate? Predictions or wishes?
Sarai: I guess I use it as a way to talk to my customers and interact with people, rather than as a promotional tool, and that seems to work for me. I especially love twitter (@saraicat) because for some reason it just feels very casual and conversational, and I love that. The Colette Patterns blog is another outlet, and this year I’ve involved some new people to help write tutorials, reviews, and more. I love the interaction and coming up with new ideas. I’d love to take it further.
I’m planning to add a forum in the next few months, for even more interaction and conversation. I think it will be really cool.
SMS: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2011? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can reveal?
Sarai: I have some fun stuff in the works for 2011, and some of it is brand new for me! Nothing too public yet, but I can say that I hope to expand my site a bit and make it a lot more useful for sewists. I’d also like to collaborate with other bloggers, writers, teachers, and business owners. I have tons of ideas, only a fraction of which I can feasibly carry out this year, but I’m really excited about some of the things I’ll be able to offer soon!