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Seamwork 22: Power Dressing


The September issue of Seamwork is up and ready for you to read!

First, a big round of applause for our Editor-In-Chief, Haley. She’s been at the helm of Seamwork for quite a while, but you can read her very first letter in this month’s issue, as she shares some encouraging thoughts on power dressing, with a little help from Dolly Parton.

Speaking of power dressing, this month’s patterns will encourage you to wear your me-mades to the office. We’ll teach you some couture finishing techniques for your seams, guide you through an up-close-and-personal experience with your iron, and give you reasons to be thankful for your pants.

Here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:


Neenah is a classic turtleneck dress, appropriate for both the office and cocktails. Its body skimming shape and knit construction make this dress as easy to wear as it is to sew.

Use a solid-colored, merino wool knit to create a sleek look, or try a fun print for a dress with more flare. It’s easy to shorten Neenah into a top, so it can be worn with other Colette and Seamwork favorites like Phoebe, Beignet, and Osaka.


Delavan is a classic blazer that will add a polished touch to any outfit. Make this wardrobe staple in a wool suiting for a sleek look perfect for the office. Or opt for a cotton linen blend for a casual look ideal for pairing with jeans.

This unlined jacket features a shawl collar, center back vent, and a blind hem. Add a special touch by finishing your seams with a Hong Kong finish or by drafting a custom lining, as detailed in this month’s issue.

A Peek Inside the Issue:


“So, the next time you pull out your favorite pair of pants, take a moment to appreciate the century of effort that it has taken for you to not be shunned or arrested when you wear them outside. Consider them symbolically, as a measure of how far the fight for women’s (and trans) rights has come, but also how far it needs to go. Then, put on those pants, walk outside, and like pants hero Katharine Hepburn, live as you please.” -Betsy Blodgett, Women in Pants

eye chart girl

“Clear eyesight and sewing are two things that go hand in hand. Imagine threading a needle or sewing with an accurate seam allowance while trying to look through dirty, wavy carnival glass. It’s hard for me to believe that I used to sew like that. It’s even more difficult for me to understand how I created the garments that I did and not have them turn out looking like a hot mess.” -Tanya Hughes, Sewing Clearly

“Sewists tend to be detail-oriented by nature. We thrive when fussing over the perfect welt pocket or finding the perfect shade of thread to match. Those times when we really slow down and cherish the details are when we shine the brightest. ” -Katie Whittle, Sewing Specifics

Also, Also, Also, there’s a new episode of Seamwork Radio!

In 2008, sewing blogger Melissa Fehr revealed something on her blog: she’d been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Soon, she’d need a complete bone marrow transplant. In this episode, Melissa shares how her relationship with her body changed before and after this life-changing experience—and how this relationship eventually led her to designing her own patterns.

Read the whole issue

You can visit to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.

Meg Stively

Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.


Betty Jordan Wester

September 1, 2016 #

The Neenah and Delavan are nice. I like the way you styled them, but I’m also a big fan of the late 70s/early 80s look. Props to the graphics too for carrying the theme!
They both look nicely sewn and nicely pressed.


September 1, 2016 #

Are you mind readers?!?!?!? I have been eyeing off blazer/ jackets like this lately, and just picked up an enormous piece of gabardine at my local op shop. Delavan goes straight to the top of the pile.


September 2, 2016 #

So happy to hear that! Can’t wait to see what you make :)


September 2, 2016 #

Not sure yet how I feel about the patterns, but I have simply DEVOURED that issue yesterday!


September 2, 2016 #

Yay, office clothes! That blazer is right up my alley.

Also, thank you for posting Tanya’s essay — I’m visually impaired and it’s always nice to read something from that perspective.


September 2, 2016 #

I loved Jessica Yen’s article, thank you! I have been employing these ideas, but never articulated them. I have worked from home for a decade, but have been sewing all of my outer garments for the past several years now, plus a little thrifting here and there as well. This easy to remember strategy will really help me quickly assess when I have a winning combo, or one I better rethink.

One additional tip: Use accessories as a fourth potential individual statement, handbags or shoes particularly. Even though you may not make them yourself, of course. One of my favorite combos was a thrifted medium weight matte silk jacket in Chinese red, paired with a simple white rayon blouse and black cotton pants I made, PLUS a pair of medium heels with fabric uppers in a large black/white houndstooth check. Those shoes are to die for, and they complimented the rest of the outfit perfectly for a one-day conference in a conservative industry. Likewise, I have a pair of medium heels in a lovely tropical print, that I pair with solid separates in complimentary colors. Yummy! I have also made use of a vintage peacock feather handbag (sixties) in the same way.


September 2, 2016 #

Thanks for pointing that out! Accessories can completely change the business casual game.


September 3, 2016 #

Thanks so much for your comment Robin! Always helpful to know when an article resonates :). And double yes to accessories! Those shoes sound amazing!!


September 2, 2016 #

I agree wholeheartedly that you must be mind readers! I have been pining for a turtle necked top and here I get a bonus dress. (Which I may or may not tackle due to my lumpiness.)

The jacket looks very doable too.

I have, like some of the other readers have stated, devoured this issue.

Well done, you!

Hannah F

September 3, 2016 #

I’m not in love with these new patterns at all! I know they’re office appropriate pieces to mix and match, but if therms were hanging on rack, I wouldn’t give them a second look. The patterns are not interesting enough to justify the previous post. I thought the main objective now was to be a little more fashion forward, and create clothes and patterns with delight and joy!
The newest issue is marvelous and I can’t wait to see more! Can you guys do a pattern hack on the dress making different necklines of this dress and maybe more structured into this sack blazer? I love you guys, and really want to see some bad ass pretty clothes and patterns!

Betty Jordan Wester

September 3, 2016 #

The article said that Seamwork is still for basic patterns that you can sew in 3 hours or less. Colette is for more involved, detailed patterns.


September 3, 2016 #

The more complicated patterns are through Colette, Seamwork is focused on beginner friendly wardrobe basics. I personally am pretty excited about a beginner friendly blazer, since I am firmly in the beginner category and need some cute blazers. And I would (and will) wear the holy heck out of that dress, and will be filled with joy while doing so. So maybe remember that, even if a pattern isn’t your cup of tea it may delight someone else. No need to style shame. Hopefully the new pattern on the 6th will be more to your liking–I know that I’m looking forward to it!


September 5, 2016 #

Thanks for the feedback, Hannah. As others have noted, these are the Seamwork patterns, quick-to-sew, wardrobe-building designs. The previous posts detailed the difference in design and intention of Seamwork vs. Colette patterns. Stay tuned tomorrow for the new Colette design!