12 beautiful travel wardrobes: Check out the Knitcation contest winners!

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Going through all the entries into our Knitcation contest was like a quick trip around the world right at my desk.

To recap, this contest invited you to create a 7 day travel wardrobe using our two latest patterns for knits, the Mabel skirt and Moneta dress. Thanks once again to our beloved prize sponsors, Hart’s Fabric, Grey’s Fabric, and Brooklyn General Store.

We had ladies traveling to Greece, Vietnam, Uganda, Iceland, and California. We even had one staycation right here in beautiful Portland, and a trip around the world for fabric shopping!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. I hope you all had as much fun creating your travel wardrobes as we did looking through them.

I wish I could showcase every single outfit here, but that might be a bit much. I’ll share the winners, and a few more to show the wide variety. We had so many entries, there’s no way I could post all of them, but if you created one please feel free to leave a link in the comments if you’d like everyone to check it out!

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for all of you who took the time to show off your beautiful creations.

Grand Prize: Emma’s trip to Iceland, Greece, and France

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Emma writes:

“In a month I’m off to Europe! I’m heading to Iceland, Greece and France amongst other places. I am relatively new to sewing but I am now totally addicted and excited about creating a handmade wardrobe. As soon as I saw the Moneta and Mabel patterns I knew I had to make them. I hope you enjoy my pics, next I’m looking forward to taking snaps of these outfits in the real places!”

Read more about Emma’s travel wardrobe >

Second Prize: Sim Shwen’s trip to Melbourne

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I loved how creative Sim Shwen got so creative with her paintings! And it was fantastic to see some options for the southern hemisphere as well.

She writes:

“I love Melbourne as it has a great mix of fun, outdoorsy things to do as well as heaps of cultural/educational destinations! It’s winter in Australia so I had lots of fun mixing in big jackets and coats and cute tights. Melbourne is one of the top fashion destinations in Australia so I wanted the outfits to be quirky and colourful, but also feminine and romantic.”

See more of Sim Shwen’s travel wardrobe >

Instagram winner: Becky Geller

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Our Instagram winner is Becky Geller!

Becky writes:

“Later this summer, I will be heading to the Heartland to celebrate my grandmother’s life with my family. Nothin’ too fancy or formal, and we’re all about comfort – knits are perfect! While we are family reunion-ing, we won’t be doing the usual vacation things like shopping and sunning at the pool, but there will be plenty of relaxing and hanging out together (and eating). There will be some sights to see and walks around the park and food and bein’ cool.

This was so much fun! I loved having the motivation to make a bunch of makes and then putting together an entire week’s worth of outfits from them.”

More travel fun

I can’t leave it at just that, so here are some selections from just a few of the beautiful entries we got. Again, I wish I could include them all. Since I can’t, I went for variety.

Danielle’s trip to California

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“I actually am going to Cali in a couple weeks and coming from Boston, wasn’t quite sure what to bring. I really wanted pieces for this trip that were light, fun and versatile and I knew the moneta and mabel would be wonderful jumping off points for this. I love how easy it was to make these patterns “my own” and think they’ll be perfect for California!”

See more of Danielle’s travel wardrobe >

Amber’s Independent Fabric Shopping Around the World

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“I travel for work and one of the things I really enjoy doing is visiting fabric stores. I’m completely happy, getting out of my work uniform, putting on something comfortable (like my Moneta dress), and going out to see a new place. I’ve taken sewing classes in Portland, searched for bag hardware in the LA garment district and gotten lost in Cabo San Lucas searching for a specific shop with limited Spanish.

I love my new knit patterns and this was a fun way to see all the possibilities to create outfits. I used Polyvore to get started”

See more of Amber’s travel wardrobe >

Carla’s 7 Days in Singapore

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“We’re about to move to Singapore for a while, and its always great to get rid of surplus stuff when you do a big move, I thought this would be a good exercise in paring down my wardrobe.”

See more of Carla’s travel wardrobe >

Amber’s trip to Uganda

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“I traveled to Uganda recently and really could have used Moneta and Mabel. Too bad I received my Colette Sewing for Knits book and Mabel and Moneta patterns just before I got on the plane. So for my knitcation, I made a fanciful recreation of what my travel wardrobe would have been for the trip had I been able to stretch time to get a bit more sewing in.”

See more of Amber’s travel wardrobe >

Ally’s trip to Toronto

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“I wanted to channel my wardrobe architect work into this mini travel collection and sew my modern/hippie style into reality! Toronto is HOT, MUGGY and a generally stylish city, so I really wanted to sew comfy, breathable (read cotton), clothes that made me feel like I fit in. Mission accomplished I think!”

See more of Ally’s travel wardrobe >

Aimee’s trip to Los Angeles for the Anime Expo

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“I have some friends coming in to Los Angeles from out of town for Anime Expo so I decided to do an ideal trip I’d take my friends around town with. We are all seamstresses who like Japanese Animation, cute things, geeky things and yummy food. Sadly, we will all be too busy that all of this will not actually happen on their trip, but we’ll do as many as we can fit in.”


See more of Aimee’s travel wardrobe >

Raphaelle’s trip to Normandy

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“We went to Normandy two years ago and I fell in love with that place. Warm but not too warm, friendly people (did not get teased about my french canadian accent even once!), good food (as ever in France!), beautiful scenery, history… I want to go back! Especially since we didn’t have the time to see everything I would have liked to see.

My outfits are inspired by the area. A lot of nautical blue and white as well as stripes. French people tend to dress up more than north americans and my choices reflect my desire to fit in rather than stand out as a tourist.”

See more of Raphaelle’s travel wardrobe >

Victoria’s trip to California

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“I’m a born and raised California girl now living in Missouri. I miss my west coast. The ocean, the city, the deserts, DISNEYLAND! I’d give my left arm, right leg, and a kidney to go back. These are the outfits I’d would have loved to have worn when I was there, and while hopefully visiting back home.”

See more of Victoria’s travel wardrobe >

Clare’s trip to Helsinki

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“So I’ve actually booked a trip to Helsinki for September and I’m actually going to take my knits with me! I’ve never been, but have concocted a trip based on some of the things advertised on the Helsinki tourism website. In reality, I’m probably just going to go into shops and touch all the beautiful scandinavian clothing and homewares. Thanks Colette Patterns for putting on this competition, it was fun playing with my new Mabel and Moneta & now I have lots of ways to wear them around!”

See more of Clare’s travel wardrobe >

Thanks to everyone!

Thank you so much to each one of you who prticipated in this challenge! I hope you had a great time.

I loved seeing all these outfits, but even more I enjoyed reading all the stories of places you’ve been, plan to go, or dream of going. It was truly inspiring.

If you still haven’t picked up your own copy, you can grab Mabel and Moneta in our shop.

Like what you read here? Subscribe to our blog via email so you don’t skip a stitch! And sign up for our weekly Snippets email for even more sewing tips and tricks.

Giveaway: Win 64 colors of cotton thread from Craftsy!

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Today, we’ve got a fun giveaway from our friends at Craftsy! They’re giving away a set of 64 spools of heavy weight thread (worth about $366). Read on for more info on both the thread and the giveaway.

How to use cotton thread

As a garment sewist, you’re likely familiar with the old standby thread: all-purpose polyester. And you probably own an assortment of it.

But have you ever thought about having a collection of other types of threads for more specific needs?

If you’re a quilter, you might be used to sewing with cotton thread. In the garment sewing world, it’s used less often because poly is stronger and has more stretch, so it’s the thread of choice for seams that get a lot of pull and wear over time.

But cotton thread has plenty of uses! I like to keep some on hand in a heavier weight for several purposes:

  • Machine or hand quilting (I’m not much of a quilter, but I am using it on the quilt I started long ago)
  • Machine embroidery and decorative stitches
  • Applique
  • Buttonholes (I love how they look in a heavier thread)
  • Decorative topstitching

Basically, a heavy cotton thread is a good choice for decorative stitching, and when you have it on hand you find some really cool ways to use it.

Win 64 spools of cotton thread from Craftsy

This month, we’re partnering with Craftsy to give away a 64-spool set of sulky 12 wt cotton thread (that’s the heavier weight, perfect for the uses I described above), which retails for $366!

We kind of forget how expensive thread is when we buy it one or two spools at a time, huh?

To enter, all you need to do is click the link below, and enter your info to sign up. Craftsy will choose a winner at random on July 11 (the winner must be in the US or Canada).

If you already have a Craftsy account, make sure you are signed out, then click the link and sign in again from there to enter.

Click here to visit Craftsy and enter to win!

Note: This giveaway is sponsored by Craftsy. We only partner with companies that we truly believe in and think will be helpful to you guys.

New Pattern July 15! Here’s how to learn more.

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We’re hard at work getting everything ready for the launch of our newest pattern on July 15th.

A little about our last pre-order

With our last patterns, we had a special mailing list just for those who wanted to pre-order and be first in line. Those on the list had an opportunity to order the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits and the two knits patterns – sight unseen.

I’ll tell you a little about my reasoning behind that:

We knew we wanted to have the book available for pre-order. But we also knew we wanted to offer some sort of bundle deal for those ordering the book and patterns together when they came out.

But we also have a long tradition of keeping our designs a surprise until launch day. It’s fun, and makes launch day feel like a big party.

The problem was, if we didn’t offer pre-orders on the patterns in order to keep them under wraps, but DID have pre-orders on the book, folks who pre-ordered the book would miss out on the bundle deal.

That wouldn’t be cool. It would effectively punish people for pre-ordering the book! If they wanted the patterns, they’d end up paying more, not to mention paying for shipping twice.

So we made the decision to offer everything for pre-order even though we hadn’t unveiled the patterns yet.

Honestly, I had no idea how this would go. Would people want to order patterns they hadn’t seen yet? But I had to at least give people the opportunity to order it all early for the special price.

Well, the results blew us away. Even with the patterns under cover, tons of people ordered – we were thrilled!

We decided that next time, we’d do it again. Except this time, we’re going all the way – we’re offering advanced peeks for those who sign up and want to pre-order!

How to get an advanced peek of our new pattern

Our new pattern comes out July 15th.

To get a special look at our new pattern days before it’s announced on the blog, sign up below.

When you sign up, you’ll get a special email on July 11th with an advanced look and the ability to order the printed pattern first, putting you first in line to receive your copy in the mail.

You’ll also get a little extra discount for pre-ordering.

If you prefer the downloadable pattern, that’s great too. While those will be made available on launch day (July 15th), you can still sign up to see the sneak peek and start planning your fabric.

All we ask in return is that you keep the design top secret! We want to photos and pattern cover to stay exclusive to those on the mailing list. Deal?

ETA: The preview has already gone out, check back Tuesday, July 15th for the official announcement!

The 3 biggest reasons I sew – what are yours?

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Today, clothing can be purchased for pennies, almost literally.

The expansion of the fast fashion industry has made clothing an almost disposable commodity, and a highly addictive one at that. In that landscape, the idea of sewing your own clothing seems quaint to most people.

After all, why spend your precious time and money creating something you can buy at the mall for a few bucks?

But some of us look our over the sea of clothing racks and sale tags and don’t like what we see. Instead of abundance, we see an overwhelming glut. We see devaluation. We see waste.

Even if you don’t care much about the ethics of fashion, chances are that you have felt overwhelmed on a personal level by abundant choices and cheap prices. There’s just so much.

It is that very landscape that drives us to become more creative, to explore other ways of understanding our clothing, of finding meaning in the objects we surround ourselves with.

Sewing does more than allow us to make some cool stuff. It is something that has brought genuine joy into my life, and in some unexpected ways.

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Joy through creativity

Most of us get into sewing as a creative pursuit. Something inside us is itching to play with fabric, texture, and color. We want to make something beautiful.

This kind of creative expression is a pure joy in itself. The urge for self-expression comes from deep inside, and could be realized through painting, knitting, sculpture, or making balloon animals. Whatever. But for some of us, sewing is the medium that works (or one of them).

There’s another aspect of these kinds of creative pursuits that is often overlooked, and that’s the pleasure we take in learning new skills and getting better at something. No matter who you are, it’s thrilling to watch yourself get better at something you care about.

Finally, there’s another layer of creativity. Not only do you get to express yourself through the things you make with your hands, you actually get to wear them on your body out in the world. That means you get to share them with others.

Planning the things, making the things, and wearing the things all become part of a process of exploring who you are.

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Joy through appreciation.

Through the economics of fast fashion, clothing has come to have very little value for most people.

Restoring that value is one of the gifts sewing can bring. The more I sewed, the more I slowly began to see that clothing isn’t some commodity that magically pops out of an automated factory.

All clothing is handmade, in one way or another. Making clothing takes time and skill and real human hands. It has worth.

Learning the value of clothing can translate into a lot of new attitudes. For me, it gave me the sense that I needed less of it, but I wanted what I did own to feel special.

Sewing also taught me about what makes something high quality. Being able to see the markers of quality and read past marketing hype helps me make better decisions, and feel good about the things I do buy.

Sewing also helps me appreciate my time more. I’d rather spend 6 hours making a dress in my studio than three hours working extra hours to pay for a dress that has less importance to me.

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Joy through community.

Finally, sewing can connect you to a community of women (and some men!) who share your oddly old-fashioned appreciation and creative obsession.

You can connect with them through classes, through your local shops and studios, at events, or just online. I’ve never met a group of more warm-hearted, kind, and creative people than those I’ve met through the sewing community.

Not everyone gets it, and that’s ok. They might have their own creative pursuits.

But for me, nothing beats getting to wear the things I’ve created every day, and all the joy that comes with them.

What are the biggest joys that you get from sewing?

Weekend Reading: learning new crafts, travel wardrobes, and a new pattern coming soon!

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I’m taking a ceramics class right now. Exploring a new craft is always an adventure.

I love trying new things, but no matter how much I enjoy the experience, they really have to be pretty special to make their way into my list of hobbies. Not because I don’t like them or want to keep at it, but because I can only do so much.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that saying yes to anything means setting something else aside.

But this class has made me wish I had permanent access to a kiln and a wheel.

The parallels to sewing are numerous. There’s the physical similarity of controlling the speed of the wheel with a foot petal while trying to manipulate something with your hands. There’s the need for coordination and a reliance on muscle memory that takes a fair amount of practice.

But mostly, there’s the serene feeling of being completely immersed in the act of making. There’s no room for other thoughts as you concentrate on moving your hand just so.

I’ve needed that serenity this week. And rather than feeling that it’s something I want to do instead of sewing, it’s made me even more excited about the sewing I get to do this rainy weekend.

I hope you all have a lovely one, and enjoy these links I’ve found:

PS: I’m working on some fun ideas for the launch of our next pattern in a couple weeks! I’m planning to set up a pre-order list like we did last time, but this time everyone on the list will be first to get a look at the pattern, before the general public. We’ll see how it goes!

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