Book Review & Giveaway: The Colette Sewing Handbook

I know, I know; I’m slightly late to the Colette party, but better late than never. This darling book was published back in November of 2011, but it only popped up on my radar around Christmas and I finally got my own copy last month. I had already been itching to start sewing my own clothes again, and I couldn’t have asked for better inspiration than The Colette Sewing Handbook.

For me, sewing… reclaims fashion as an opportunity for creativity, joy, and self-expression. – Sarai Mitnick

This may be the first book of its kind that I actually read from cover to cover. Usually, I skip around to the various projects, but Sarai took the time to detail her Five Fundamentals and as I read them I realized that there are several things about sewing clothes that I never considered or, at least, took for granted.

  • A Thoughtful Plan
  • A Precise Pattern
  • A Fantastic Fit
  • A Beautiful Fabric
  • A Fine Finish

For years, I’ve been struggling to find trendy fashion or even just quality wardrobe staples that fit me well. I’m on the curvy side, so my options are generally limited. I was about to give up entirely until last summer when I managed to lose 40 pounds. Now, I’m still curvy, but I’m more interested in clothes that fit well and make me look and feel good as opposed to clothes that disguise my body.

The Colette Sewing Handbook is intended as a resource for any adventurous, beginning sewer who wants to branch out…

A couple of months ago, I straightened the legs of a pair of cargo pants with a boot cut flare. I love them and wear them all the time. If a little bit of sewing could give me trendy pants that I get complimented on, what would my wardrobe look like if I really put in some effort?

Sarai encourages readers to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to building a wardrobe, especially when planning to sew items instead of purchasing them. This is where having a thoughtful plan comes in. Chapter two ended up being my favorite part of the book because it taught me how to think about the clothes I like to wear to understand why they make me happy. If you take the time to identify your style before you shop/sew, you’ll never again stand in front of your closet and say to yourself, “I have NOTHING to wear!”

…as well as intermediate sewers who’d like to brush up their skills with a new, more thoughtful approach. – Sarai Mitnick

Before this book, I simply bought mass-produced clothing willy-nilly without much thought than this is cute or this is on sale. Now that I’ve taken the time to ponder my wardrobe, my favorite pieces, my sources of inspiration, and my lifestyle and work environment, I can say with confidence that I prefer feminine, flowing dresses with a retro flair as opposed to tailored or fitted styles that bind. Armed with that realization, I’m already planning several sewing projects to finish in time for summer. More on that later.

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), I highly recommend this book – so much so, that I’m giving away a copy. Just use the widget below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Lacey says:

    I would love to sew a few things for myself, but mainly I want to sew for my daughter in the coming years! I need practice now!

  2. LaWanda Sutherland says:

    I used to sew all of the time, but both of my grown girls do. I would love to win this book for one of my girls.

  3. Donna Altieri says:

    I don’t sew my own clothes but I do like to make gifts and quilts. I would like to make myself something, I’m just not brave enough yet!

  4. Emily R. says:

    I don’t sew my own clothes because I don’t know how, but I’d love to learn!

  5. Deborah says:

    I don’t sew my clothes but I sew doll clothes and children’s clothes

  6. Sherry says:

    I love sewing but do not get the time to sew for me.

  7. I don’t sew my own clothes, but, like you, I am all about some vintage flair. I’d love for this book to help me transition into making my own.

  8. Annamarie Magee says:

    I don’t make my own clothing, I don’t have the time nor the talent to do so, but I know have to fix holes, make things smaller and add decor to it. I also love modding my shirts.

  9. cassandra (rab pom) says:

    i never sew my own clothes but its a skill i really want to learn. i never have because i never knew anyone who knew how!

  10. Zoopa M says:

    I just purchased my own sewing machine so i’m not ready to start making clothes yet but I’d love to as I learn more!

  11. Karen M. says:

    I don’t really sew my own clothes anymore, although I did for a long time. Now I am getting more interested in sewing crafts.

  12. Candace Butler says:

    I use to sew a lot but have medical problems that make it difficult to sew. But my daughter is going to school to be a tailor soon. I think that is really neat since it is a dying career.

  13. Holly S. says:

    I do sew my own clothes because I like them to reflect my own style, and not necessarily what’s in the stores at the moment. And I LOVE Colette patterns! I’ve sewn the Eclair and the Chantilly and am lusting after the Cinnamon and Lady Grey. Thanks for the FABULOUS giveaway! hstorm799{at}gmail{dot}com

  14. Pam says:

    I use to. I started when I was 14 and continued for many years, even sewing my children’s clothing when they were toddlers. When I went back to work fulltime I had to stop, but I am just getting started again. But, I am staring small with just some accessory items. I’m sure it won’t be long before I graduate to actual clothing items. I might need a new sewing machine. Do you know anyone with a sewing machine giveaway? lol.

  15. Adrianne B says:

    I don’t sew my own clothes, but I do a lot of mending and tailoring of items I already own.

  16. Deborah says:

    No, I haven’t sewn anything for myself in a long time. I have sewn easy things for my daughter (jumpers, pants/vests, etc)

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  17. Mechele Johnson says:

    I sew mostly all my toddler’s clothing, but have only made a shirt and a skirt for myself. I am gaining confidence however, and wanting to sew more “big people” clothes!

  18. Nancy says:

    I don’t sew my own clothes due to lack of knowledge.

  19. Debra W says:

    I am going to give it a try and make myself a spring dress :) For the most part, I have been into sewing crafts, dolls, and children’s clothes – I’m a bit anxious about making my own clothing but can’t wait to try!

  20. No, I don’t but I have always wanted to learn how to sew.

  21. domestic diva says:

    I’m just learning, but I’d love to do more.

  22. kemberley crosswhite says:

    i do not. but i would love to start. i recently asked my hubby for a sewing machine :)

  23. Christina Anne says:

    I don’t sew my own clothes but I want to learn. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and it’s still in its box:( I’m afraid to open it because I don’t know how to use it. But, if I had this book I’d be less afraid;)

  24. Jayme H. says:

    I do not make my own clothes because I am not very good with the sewing machine yet!


  25. Sue Bunting says:

    yes I sew some of my own clothes!

  26. deanna says:

    I sewed my dance dresses in high school to save money

  27. Darlene Owen says:

    I do not sew now, but plan on retiring soon and want to have a hobby.

  28. Emma H says:

    No, I don’t know how. I just started trying sew girl clothes.

  29. sarah says:

    I’ve always preferred sewing my own pieces of clothing to purchasing them. I usually spend hours in my favorite fabric store called King Textiles here in Toronto where I usually find everything I need to design my own clothes. I know the book and I think it can really be a great source of inspiration for someone who wants to reveal the secrets of sewing and gradually develop his or her own unique style.


  1. [...] of the comments I received during this last giveaway reflect a general desire to sew clothes, but a common fear that it will be difficult. I began to [...]

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