Introducing Sarai, from Colette Patterns

We’re excited to have Colette Patterns join us for Indie Pattern Month 2015, I think they were my first Indie Pattern crush 😉

Sarai was kind enough to spend some time give us a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Hi Sarai! First up, tell us all a bit about your designs. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?

If I had to describe our aesthetic in one word, I would say “classic.” We strive to create designs that have a timelessness and wearability to them. We often incorporate vintage details and elements, with a particular focus on body-flattering shapes from various eras. At the same time, we want to keep the overall look modern and fresh. Our patterns should fit into a real wardrobe, work together, and be able to be rendered in a wide range of personal styles.

How did your come up with the name for your label?

Colette Patterns was named after my sweet little black cat. In turn, she was named for the French writer, Gabrielle Sidonie Colette. She was a strong, free spirit who reveled in her strength and femininity.

We’d love to know the story behind your label. What inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?

Before starting Colette Patterns, I was working in the field of User Experience, so I was keenly interested in how uncovering people’s real life needs could help create better, more useful products. While I enjoyed my job, I always knew deep down that I was the sort of person who would relish the challenge of running my own creative business. When the time came and the move felt right, I knew my experience in designing products would help me in a field I had always been passionate about – sewing.

At the time, I felt that sewing wasn’t a part of enough women’s lives, and part of this was due to the lack of stylish, approachable pattern options. Not that there weren’t any, but not the variety we have today! Now there’s this great ecosystem of independent labels and independent shops, and I see it growing even more.

And looking forwards, where would you like your label to be in five years time?

As a company, our mission is to help revive the art of sewing. We’re going to be continuing on that path, through our patterns, our new online magazine Seamwork, and through other future projects that haven’t been dreamt up yet!

What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?

We love seeing what people do with them! It’s amazing to put something out into the world that allows other people to feel empowered and creative. Seeing patterns come to life and hearing that sewists are enjoying them is the most motivating thing in the world.

Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?

It’s so hard to choose. I’ll cheat and choose two. The first is Laurel, for purely selfish reasons. I love wearing shift dresses, and I love how easy it is to sew in such a wide variety of fabrics. I could wear it every day! The other is actually Negroni, our men’s shirt. I love the detail of the instruction and the wonderful finished result. It’s the sort of project people complete and feel really proud of.

Do you have any new patterns coming out soon? Any hints you can give us? (We’re so impatient, haha!)

We have a new pattern set for release in May 2015. We consider it sort of a bridge pattern between beginning and intermediate sewists, with some versions offering a little more challenge than others. We’re very excited about it!

Where do you do all your work? Reckon you can share a photo or two with us, so we can have a sneak peek at your workspace? 😉

We have a really lovely studio with tons of natural light. The studio is divided into a few separate areas. In the center are our desks, where we each have quite a bit of space to work on our own, whether it’s digital pattern drafting, writing for the blog, and emailing customers. In back of our space is our warehouse area where the shipping takes place. We also have an area set aside for sewing and fit sessions, another area for photography, and a little sunny corner with our conference/work/lunch table. Each of us has a lot of space in which to work, whatever we’re doing.

Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business? (Or both!)

I have a business mentor who inspires me tremendously. Her kindness and generosity coupled with her incredibly smart approach to her business and work/life balance makes me excited for the future. Seeing other women succeed is really motivating to me.

What tips or advice would you give to someone who was wanting to start their own indie pattern label?

I think I’d give the same advice to someone starting any sort of business, which is to figure out what your strengths are, and find support from people who complement those strengths. Having any sort of sustainable business is hard work, but knowing what you enjoy and what you’re naturally good at (which are usually the same thing) makes everything go smoother.

Wow, what an amazing studio! Has anyone sewn anything from Seamwork magazines yet? A great new way to get your indie pattern fix. A big thank you to Sarai and Colette patterns for joining us this year.