Monday, November 30, 2009

Colette Patterns' Curvy Models: What Do You Think?

Have you seen the gorgeous new line of Colette Patterns? Designer extraordinaire Sarai Mitnick unveiled them for pre-order last week, and I'm in love. I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this line, and the dress I made turned out so well that I had women at work accosting me to ask where I bought it. (Pictures to come!) But sadly, the point of this post isn't to celebrate Sarai's new line. She wrote to me over the weekend to tell me about an unfortunate comment she received on her blog regarding her use of "huge" models.

On the post where Sarai revealed her new designs, a way-out-of-line commenter (let's call her or him "Commenter X") made the following nasty remark:
"Hate saying this...but if you had put the clothes on someone slimmer they would have looked better..I understand you need to market patterns for bigger sizes but they just don't look that good on your huge models.."
I think Commenter X's statement may be true . . . ON OPPOSITE DAY. The clothes look ravishing and the models are far from "huge." It strikes me as sad that Commenter X would look at these beautiful women in these beautiful designs and only be able to issue an insult.

Here's what the ever-eloquent Sarai herself had to say about the incident:
I found this upsetting on a few levels. First, if my clothes only look good on someone very thin (and I don't think that's true), then they are not well designed. Second, the two models are about a size 4/6 and 8/10. That anyone would find this "huge" seems so warped to me. Third, I think variety is beautiful and I find it so upsetting that there are people that are so hellbent on every woman's body conforming in order to be beautiful.

I'd be really interested in what you and your readers think, since you've written about this sort of thing yourself. I really worked hard to find these gorgeous models amidst a sea of sameness, and I know that many women appreciate it, but it's disheartening to hear that some people still think stick-thin is the only way to make clothes look good.
I think it's probably pretty clear where my opinion will fall on this matter. In my interview with Sarai from last summer, I commended her for modeling her first line herself; I thought it was fantastic seeing a curvier body type on a pattern envelope. And, obviously, I've written about body image fairly often here and discussed sewing as a way to come to love my own body, which obviously does not meet the super-slim criteria that Commenter X holds for pattern models.

But I can also admit that there is a self-destructive part of me that's internalized the core of what Commenter X is saying (however screwed up it may be): "clothes always look better on skinny women." I've grown up in a culture that accepts that opinion as a truism, so it's not surprising that a small part of me still worries that it may be true, even as another part of me is saying, "Damn, these women look hot." So while it's obvious that this conflict of opinion exists in society in general, it surely also exists as a niggling piece of doubt in many women's individual minds.

But, for Sarai's sake, I think the most productive conversation we can have here is this: How should pattern companies choose models? Should they follow the fashion industry's lead? Should they strive for a variety of body types? Or just a more "average" body type (whatever that means)? Do pattern companies have an ethical responsibility here? Do you think using larger models helps market patterns, as Commenter X suggested? Does it help you to see designs on women who have a similar shape to you? Or do you not care either way?

Whew! So many questions. For discussion's sake, let's please keep the following in mind: it's not productive to demean any body type, whether curvy, skinny, or anything in between. And also: no body type is more "real" than another, i.e. curvy models don't necessarily represent "real women."

Can't wait to hear your thoughts, lovely readers! And don't forget to pre-order your new Colette Patterns here.

145 comments:

  1. That commenter must have on crazy glasses because these women look BEYOND beautiful! I agree with Sarai that it is insane to think of these women as "huge". I think they show off, as she mentioned, the well made patterns. how are you going to see that the pattern just isn't a sewn together pillow case with holes for arms and your head if the model doesn't have some shape? How can you see that the garment has a great waistline accent if there isn't anything to seperate the waist from the hips from the bust in terms of size?
    Also, like I said in the begining of the comment, these women look AH-MAZING. I would buy the pattern just in hopes that I could look half as put together and elegant as these women. Classic looks mixed with modern dresses make me excited! Congrats Sarai, these garments (and subsequently the patterns) are lovely.

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  2. Isn't that terrible? We've grown so used to seeing skinny model types (and so used to feeling bad about ourselves in comparison!) that it really stands out when someone like Sarai tries to represent a more realistic spectrum of model sizes. It shouldn't even be an issue. Should pattern companies follow the fashion industry? I know that runway models are not meant to be the 'average woman', they are not meant to be 'hot'. They are, for want of a better description, walking clotheshangers for the designer to showcase an idea, and if the model is more noticeable than the clothes it probably defeats the purpose.
    Pattern advertising seems different - us buyers are looking to buy a concept we can adapt to our own needs easily, to make something that makes us feel good about our shape, our perceived 'bad bits' and to highlight our best features. We need to see patterns on a wide range of models, because we have to translate those patterns into a real world which comes in all shapes and sizes!

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  3. It’s actually quite funny. I did not think of these models as big sized. I just looked at the pretty dresses. Actually, when I saw the header of this post, I thought “Oh, is there a “bigger line” as well?”

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  4. I feel sorry for Commenter X for having such a narrow definition of beauty. I hate the whole models-are-hangers mentality. The thing I love about and drew me to Colette Patterns is that I look at the clothes and I think--wow, those women are beautiful and the clothes express that, not--gee, those are great clothes and it doesn't matter who is wearing them.

    On a more positive note, the new line is stunning. I'm so excited about the Lady Grey coat and the Ceylon dress. Shoot, I'm plum happy that the designs are named after some of my favorite teas. I'm scheming up ways I can justify buying them all.

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  5. Hey Gertie— I've been reading your blog for a while now and just wanted to say how much I enjoy it. In response to this comment I have to say Ugh. The whole point sewing (IMHO) is to be able to make clothes that flatter you. It's really hard to do that if the patterns are only shown on one body type, especially if that body type is the far end of the spectrum. I've taken to drawing the clothes I'm envisioning on a mock-up with my proportions--very revealing and its saved me a lot of time not making unflattering styles. If a pattern company shows their clothes on a range of models it makes it much easier to envision how the final product will look.

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  6. I adore the latest line of Collette patterns and the revamped website. Such a shame that someone had to rain on the parade. Thin models work for the catwalk because they are literal clothes hangers. No bumps to get in the way of an outfit's hang, just shoulders for something to drape from. That's their logic - fine. But with a sewing pattern, we need to see how the outfit works with a body. Are tummies flattered? Will those ruffles work with my chest? How are the sleeves going to hide my bingo wings? We have our own logic. Choosing an extremely slender (therefore non-invasive) model for pattern photo shoots would only invite a stream of complaints as poor souls toiling at home discover ... oh well, doesn't work for me. And that's not even going into any of the body politics of this debate. As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder for a large part of my early adult life (Well, my entire life, let's be honest about the mindset. It never fully goes away.) I find it such a shame to think that any woman or man is judged on something so meaningless as the shape of their body. That'll be the body that goes into the ground or an urn when it's all over. That's how much it matters. Not at all. So perhaps we just shouldn't engage with someone who calls beautiful models huge.

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  7. And another thing! A sewing pattern photo is part of a collaboration between the designer and the craft person at home. Fashion shoots are not engaging, but projecting an image. They can therefore employ models to satisfy their needs alone.

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  8. Um - "Huge"?! Is she blind?!
    I also think that if anyone DID think of these ladies as large, it could only be a positive thing, and might encourage more women to sew for themselves, because such shape-enhancing styles are pretty hard to find for curvy ladies. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and look at those patterns for myself!

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  9. Wow, I can hardly believe someone would write that. I have to say, my first reaction on seeing the release of the new patterns was (after "Yay they're here!") to think how gorgeous the models were (before I even noticed what they were wearing!). I didn't think about their size, and I certainly wouldn't say huge! I'm a small size myself (2/4) but seeing a curvy model wearing these designs doesn't make me compare them to me, or them to other models. I think "They look fantastic in those clothes, and Sarai is a great designer so I think I, too, could look great in those clothes" regardless of what size I am! Classic designs with great details and good fit can look good on anyone regardless of their size or shape. And I agree with other commenters: the purpose of home sewing is to see a design work for you and produce the fit that you are after, and I must say that having models more close to the average American woman's size (on patterns produced in the US) more accurately displays how it might look on you - the average woman.

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  10. Wow, if these girls are huge, then I am a mammoth. How sad that X has such a skewed view of the world. I think the models that Sarai chose are perfect for showcasing her beautiful designs. (Ceylon is destined for me!) I really think that showcasing clothing in a variety of shapes would be so much more useful to the consumer, both in the sewing pattern realm as well as in RTW.

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  11. It's truly a sad and sorry reflection of today's warped celebrity mentality that the beautiful girls modelling these stylish clothes can be considered huge and/or detrimental to the presentation of the clothes.

    Thankfully I am confident that the commentator is seriously outnumbered by people whose views are less blinkered by airbrushed hype than his/hers.

    Gertie and Sarai...keep up the good work.
    Commentator X...I think you need to get out a little more!!!!

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  12. I second Anna's comment. I didn't look at those women and think "big" or even "not-tiny." I thought, "GORGEOUS."

    And I think anywhere that the body diversity envelope can be pushed, it should be pushed. If Sarai wants to have women of various body sizes and types modeling for her patterns, she'll be showing off the versatility of her work and the value she places on beauty that ISN'T contingent upon weight or shape.

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  13. The model is certainly not huge, but the orange dress and the white dress that she is wearing are too small in the bust. Perhaps she could have used a model that fits the dress better. I would not suggest that she do a large bust adjustment on the pattern because, since she is trying to sell the pattern, she should show it made up as is, with no adjustments.

    I realize this is not the point that offensive poster is trying to make and I'm not defending that poster's verbiage.

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  14. Beautiful models and patterns! Love the retro vibe these have.

    It's hard not to take snide comments personally when it's YOUR creations on the line! However, there's always going to be someone with a nasty point of view. You can't please everyone all the time....and there are people that just like to cause trouble! A down side to going public!

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  15. I think the models chosen fit very well with the vintage look of the patterns. The fact is, everyone's body type is different and you can't expect the pattern to fit you exactly the same as the model--that's what line drawings are for.

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  16. Actually, I think she was very smart to use models that weren't rake thin for these styles - I bet you they'd still look good, but with some curves they look fabulous.

    The downside to bigger-than-the-standard models was one I never thought of until someone else pointed it out to me. They said they had to work against the impression that the North American Burda-from-the-catalogue patterns "made you look bigger" because the models they used for those patterns were larger sizes than the ultra-thin ones in the European Burda magazine. If people are comparing Vogue sketch drawings to Colette models, there may be a subconscious reaction that the Vogue design is more slimming, even though no one looks like the sketch once it's made up.

    That's why I have my own croquis - it has to be "tried on" by my body shape before I leap to conclusions!

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  17. The curvier models are great, but I have to agree with Claudine, especially on the orange dress, that the bust fit is just too tight. Making sure that the fit is perfect is certainly more important for marketing than having skinny girls model your clothing. It's not just that models have been getting skinnier, they've been getting younger and I don't know about you, but I just can't relate to prepubescent girls.
    Her models are a breath of fresh air.

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  18. Seriously, he thought they were huge? I wear an 8/10 in RTW clothing and have worked hard to get here and stay here after 7 children!

    I love her new line - and will be checking it out more...

    And I think the Big 4 could start using models of all sizes and heights!

    My big pet peeve is that I have 5'4" and nothing looks the same on my shortness when compared to their height!

    And yes, what about some models with a D bust size?!

    The only person I know who looks like the models the Big 4 uses is my 14yo daughter - who is a size 0 and is 5'6"...

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  19. Goodlord! that's a terrible thing to write!!! What about Sophia Loren, and Maralyn Monroe? They were 'plus' size too (whatever that is) and mad a fortune from looking gorgeous!! Skinny rakes are easy to make clothes for but they don't look better! OOooooh! I cant believe someone would have the gaul to say something like that in public! Grrr.. These pictures are of REAL women! Women are SUPPOSED to be curvy...

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  20. Truly, that is high on drugs. Those models are lovely and the clothes fit them beautifully. That's the aim of a good pattern.

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  21. I agree that the comment was mean. And I also agree with spottedroo that sarai should show the final products on several body shapes that she intends to market to. Not all clothing types will fit any body types. I love love her design but always worry whether it will look good on my 5' 1" and 110 l s figure and mind you that while I am grateful for my size it's hard to find something that fits in store or sewing pattern

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  22. Commenter x is a fool. Those ladies are gorgeous. And I'm running to Colette's to see her patterns!

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  23. The models and the patterns are beautiful! They are not huge, and before I read commenter X's comments I did not think of either model as "huge". I'm an 8-10. I think variety is beautiful and it gives you a more realistic view of the pattern. So many times I've bought a pattern because the skinny mini on the front looked great in the pattern only to have it look not so great on my body type. I'd rather see someone similar to me on the front, but not labeled "plus size", that I am not.

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  24. I am shocked and dismayed that someone left that comment about Sarai's line of patterns. I think they are gorgeous. Flattering the figure is the mark of a good designer, and I think these designs do just that. Most people who buy patterns aren't looking to make an art statement; we're hoping to make ourselves look good. Another thing that I think is a good design mark that Colette patterns diplays is a lack of complicated styling. That is to say that often one must be on the lookout for models posed in awkward positions or taped and pinned out of sight because that is the only way that the garment will photograph in a flattering way. The straightforwardness of the Collette pattern shoots make it clear that the garments actually fit the models it the way that they appear to fit in the photographs. That allows us to properly judge how a garment will fit on us. Usually, I can barely pay attention to the pattern photograph at all. I have to turn immediately to the back of the pattern to see if there are enough darts or seams to give enough room for my bust but still nip in at the waist. With a good pattern photograph I can say, "I think that woman is shaped like me. This looks good on her, so it will look good one me." or "I think my bust is larger than hers, and the pattern makes her look large chested. Maybe this isn't the style for me." Those are the sorts of things I want to know, and using models that aren't on one extreme of the size category gives me that. And it's probably at least part of why I've been lusting after Colette patterns ever since I found them.

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  25. I love the "larger" models. What doesn't look good to me are the emaciated models that we see so often in ads. These women make these clothes look gorgeous!!!

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  26. As one who used to be super skinny with no curves (drank nutritional supplements to gain weight in high school) to one dealing with a few curves too many (down, pot belly, down!) I love the images. I was lucky to test the Oolong dress and I can HAPPILY say that I look quite like her model in it. That someone thinks that woman is huge is beyond me as an 8/10 is pretty svelte. I know that the comment upset Sarai, but there is always some internet troll out there waiting to negate someone's happiness. Probably just a frustrated home sewer, blogger, or entrepenuer who sees that her choice of model will actually bring her more business.

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  27. Unfortunately it's not the first time I hear of commenters getting catty on a sewing blog or sewing boards. The Threads boards are getting famous for people bitching about crazy things like size or tattoos. As if anyone is perfect enough to be offended by someone else's appearance. On my blog, OneSizeKnitsAll.blogspot.com, I make it clear that I won't tolerate those kind of comments because the whole point is featuring knits that flatter a variety of shapes and sizes, but I've never had a comment I had to delete. I wonder if the sewing community has a different level of tolerance (or intolerance?) than the knitters/crocheters?

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  28. I always love it when a blog that I don't really consider a 'body acceptance' blog (as in, that's what it's primarily about) surprises me. Not that your opinion is a surprise. But it makes me warm and fuzzy.

    Thank you Gertie! And thank you also for linking to Big Fat Deal and Shapely Prose (although they're no longer with us!)

    Garnet

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  29. Like everyone else, I LIKE the use of models who just look more like women and less like they're ill. I made one of Sarai's dresses for some weddings this year and it was the first time I made a pattern without altering the shape (ever!), and the designs always look fantastic! She is to be commended for designing for everyone (unlike so many other clothing and pattern lines). Good luck to her! emily

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  30. I appreciate seeing a pattern company using a model with curves because it allows me to have a better idea of what the pattern will look like on me. Even if the model is smaller than me, but curvy, I can see what that dress will look like on my my curvier form. Seeing an item of clothing on the human equivalent of a clothes hanger does nothing to help me evaluate how that item of clothing will hang on MY body, which is why I tend to use the pattern reviews on PatternReview.com to search for people with body-types similar to mine in making pattern selections. It is also why I appreciate the videos that Trudy at hotpatterns.com makes...as a heavier woman, the fact that the clothing looks good on her makes a difference to me, and makes me more willing to try that particular style. So I say "thank you" to Sarai for selecting models with curves, because seeing how flattering those dresses are on them, are certainly a selling point for me.

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  31. I think the models are gorgeous.
    Actually, my reaction was the other way around: man, I wish I had the bust to make that dress look so good!
    It is actually important to me to see a design on a similar shape to mine. So in my opinion it would be a good idea for the pattern industry to show off the design on different bodies. Sketches would already be good enough, I think!

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  32. Those comments left on Sarai website make me sad. I rushed to see the designs too and found the models beautiful. I like how Sarai uses different body shapes to accentuate different parts of each dress.

    It is a sad commentary on our culture today - and I have to wonder when is this going to change. I think the answer is when women start appreciating intelligence and character over purely physical beauty and an idea of the "ideal." Great job Sarai - I enjoyed seeing how you displayed your art.

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  33. Your models are magnificent, Sarai, that's all a model is supposed to be, whatever their size is! I'm only afraid I could not look as good as them in your designs, precisely because I'm quite skinny myself (between your size 2 and 4 at the bust, and a little below your size 0 at the waist)! Which doesn't mean that I recognize myself in super-tall, super-skinny models either...

    I appreciate Colette patterns models, because they are gorgeous, and because I'm really pleased to see models that girls of my environment will find closer to their bodytypes.

    As an independant designer, Sarai can't do it, but I rather tend to think that big pattern companies who can afford it should picture each of their designs on many models of very different sizes and bodytypes...

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  34. I'll be honest, I ADORED the models. From the make up to the hair to just THEM, I thought it was a great shoot. I didn't even notice their size. So, until you mentioned that they were a size 4 and a size 8 I genuinely had no idea. I was more obscessed with the whole look.

    As with Sarai's last batch of patterns, which I LOVE, I'm always so relieved to find patters that allow for a bust, that seem to be made for women and not women built like 13 year old boys. (Not that there's anything with women built like 13 year old boys, its just tough for me to fit into those clothes.)

    Did you ask if we were going to buy the patterns? I can't remember. Anyways, I was planning on buying today (using cyber Monday for good and not evil) even though, I probably won't have time to even think about making them until January.

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  35. I'm with Carlotta and prutsprinses -- I need a little more up top to make the dresses look as good as the models do, though that won't stop me from making them! (The curvy hips I can provide.) The dresses and models are gorgeous, and I love seeing the dresses on models instead of seeing a pattern illustration that bears no relation to the actual human form!

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  36. I think that pattern designers should talk to at least 5 seamstresses of a variety of sizes (like the dove campaign) get each one to make it, and take photos of each one wearing it. That way they show the clothes fit a variety of women.

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  37. HUGE? WHAT? What is wrong with X. The first thing I thought when I saw the new patterns, aside from how gorgeous they were, was that I could see myself in them. Most patterns have very skinny models on the envelopes. I squint my eyes when I try to picture myself wearing the items. It was refreshing to see real, beautiful women modeling the new line. It should give women a boost of confidence that we too can look stunning at the size we are.
    I am guessing X has self esteem issues.
    Hopefully one day we will live in a world that doesn't see size, only the person.

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  38. Wow, what a warped view. The funny thing is that I looked at the pictures, read the text, then had to go back to the pictures to work out which model was supposed to be huge. And, nope, I still can't see it... Sarai chose some beautiful women for her designs, and they look great in them. And to those saying the orange dress doesn't fit around the bust, I guess it's a matter of taste. I like that cheeky, sexy look, and it works for me.

    Not only do I not consider these models large in any way , but what I love about the Gallery on Colette's Pattern's site is that you see women of all sizes wearing her designs, and wearing them well. Surely that's a lot more inspiring to potential dressmakers (of all sizes) than some ideal of perfection, that I can only imagine Commenter X uses as a stick to beat themselves up with.

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  39. Any sensible person can see that Commenter X is being quite idiotic. Sarai's designs are gorgeous!

    I know you said, Gertie, that we shouldn't refer to one body type as being "more real woman" than another, but I do think that using very thin models, who are in the minority, has alienated women who are in the majority, and for the purpose of selling a product, this seems ludicrous to me. I honestly do feel "more real" than the illusion of beauty that is promoted through gaunt and airbrushed figures.

    You would think that from a purely strategic point of view that in marketing products to a home sewer, more businesses would be following Sarai's example.

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  40. Highly offensive comment and so unrealistic and unhealthy. URGH - you think we could get past this.

    If I were marketing a line of clothing patterns, I'd consider the size of the average woman. If that is a size 14 (which I believe it is but don't know for sure) that's the size of model I'd probably use unless I was creating a petite or plus size line.

    Like you, I've come to appreciate my body size and shape much more through sewing. It's wonderful.

    These patterns are gorgeous. How fun to be a tester.

    - Myrna

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  41. I think that Commenter X (aka "there is something seriously wrong with this person") would be well advised to expand his/her mind a little. The models are fabulous. I liked that Sarai modeled the original patterns too. All of the photos for the Colette Pattern line are classy and beautiful. Perhaps "X" is pacing at home, sipping water and eating lettuce while (I'm sure) these fabulous women are living, as humans should...Perhaps insecurity and issues led to the comment.
    Oh silly world.
    Andrea

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  42. I have to admit, I'm one of those skinny ones, but I really enjoy seeing models of all shapes, colors, and all levels of quirkiness that represents our varied world! I think beauty can be found in all sizes and should be celebrated. Perhaps that girl who made the mean comment has low self-esteem. I feel sorry for people that make comments like that. It's obvious their hearts are not very generous.

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  43. That is ridiculous! Those women are gorgeous and hardly huge by any means. And like Sarai said, if clothes only look good on stick thin women then the designers have failed.

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  44. It is amazing that our society still has such a warped view of women's bodies. Just recently I showed my aunt a picture of me modeling my latest blouse (http://www.smokingneedles.blogspot.com) and her comment was "you're not that big!" as I thought to myself "of yes I am." Due to medication I have recently but on some weight and the problem (or not) is that I don't feel the need to diet it away. I rather like it! After all I'm 52 and have no illusions about who I am. I love me just like I am and looking at those models let me know that I too, like them, look HOT! So Mr. or Ms. Comment X should just get a life!

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  45. I think they're stunning. Personally, I prefer a variety of models. All women are not the same and I would expect to have that reflected by pattern makers. It's nice to see women like these who happen to look more like me than the typical models. Sameness is boring! Cheers to Sarai for making fabulous designs that look great on different bodies.

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  46. You know what I thought when I saw these photos for the first time?

    "Wow, these girls have a body like mine."

    I can honestly say that's the first time I've ever thought that about a model, and it was so refreshing.

    The thing is, while no one would look at me in real life and say "she's really thin," no one would say I'm "huge" either. Why do we judge someone so differently simply because she's in a photograph? I think we're trained to expect a certain body type to sell us clothes, movies, perfume, and just about everything else on the planet. We have to work a little harder to erase ideas that produce comments like X's.

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  47. Wow. I was so excited to see Colette Patterns new line, and my first thought was that these dress made the models look GORGEOUS! And they looked like me, ie, I could make this and it would look good on me. I believe that pattern makers should choose a variety of different models. Part of the wonderful thing about sewing your own clothes is embracing your own body and creating things that look good on you!

    Boo to Commenter X.

    Thank you to Sarai for creating such beautiful designs! I can't wait to get mine!

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  48. This is the first time I've commented, but I feel I have to: Not only are those women anything but "huge" but when I asked Himself for a male opinion, he said "Those women are HOT!"

    Surely the most practical idea for fashion companies would be a bit of analysis on their sizes sold and to have a range of models within the most popular sizes sold. I am aware that practical rarely ever happens when commercial factors are added, but it would make sense.

    Plus the new range is *lovely*

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  49. Oh My how anyone could say that these ladies are "LARGE" is beyond me, I think these are beautiful models, and yes I for one would like to see pictures of patterns on more average figures not bone model thin.

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  50. The models look like proud, confident women. Perhaps Commenter X is jealous.

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  51. I love her patterns; I love her models. That X person is a troll. You know, some people make negative comments about women's sizes because they know that women are sensitive on that subject and they know it hurts, They want us to hurt. It's a form of social control to make them feel power over you - similar to physical abuse.Don't let it bother you!

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  52. First of all let me just say I love Colette Patterns. I have made 2 so far and have 3 more on order. The reason I was attracted to her patterns is because her patterns were being advertised on normal sized women. I myself am a size 10 in Sarai's patterns so to see someone close to my size modelling the creations definately attracts me to purchasing them. I think pattern companies should use normal sized women in their advertising because they are selling to normal sized women. There is no point trying to attract normal sized women to your products by advertising them on stick thin models who do not accurately represent your target market. I think Sarai should keep doing what she is doing because I have heard countless comments from bloggers that love her patterns ad she should not let one negative commenter ruin that for her. She should be proud of what she has achieved and keep going with it.

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  53. Wow, I cannot believe Commenter X! I saw the preview a few days ago and remember thinking how beautiful the models looked and how wonderfully styled the photos were. Looking at the pictures again, I think the patterns are such that they celebrate women's curves, and would appear that way on any frame. I've long admired Sarai's patterns, and I hope this doesn't dishearten her at all.

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  54. Overly skinny models are boring. Women have curves. The poster on Colette Patterns' website clearly has issues with body image to impose such a strict standard of beauty on everyone else. I work in fashion and am surrounded by overly thin (and clearly starving because they are all so bitchy all the time) women. I'm a size 4/6 and get the 'up and down' when I wear a vintage dress that shows off my curves. The hell with those skinny chicks. Bring on the Real Women!

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  55. I'm inspired to try sewing a dress now. I'm a large busted woman (G Cup, breastfeeding etc) and so far have avoided sewing any dresses or tops because I'd have to adjust the pattern SOOOO much.

    The models show off these styles really well and are georgous. I think the designer made an excellent choice.

    I think commenter X is a 'troll' who made the comment with the main purpose of causing hurt.

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  56. My first reaction was, "Wow, if those models are considered huge, what does that make me?" I have always been a 10, and during my premenopausal years, I have crept up to a 14. I have struggled to tell myself that I'm not a blob; my rational mind knows that, but the part of me that looks at fashion photos and watches movies starts to have doubts...

    But looking at those models, even with my own internal struggle, there's no way I'd call them "huge." (looking at them again...) Nope, "huge" is not the word I would use. Beautiful, maybe. REAL, maybe. But not huge.

    Real women have curves. It's nice to see a pattern company that remembers what a real woman looks like, and who can design clothes that fit us and LOOK AMAZING.

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  57. If these girls are "huge", what the heck is Joan Holloway? And everyone thinks Joan is the bomb, no? I really don't think 'skinny' women look better in clothes - at least not in vintage clothing (I do think healthy bodies are attractive, though). I congratulate Sarai on using beautiful, slightly curvier models to model her patterns. I think she's made the right decision both ethically and on the level of marketing.

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  58. Just ignore him - why give this person the validation of thinking his viewpoint is relevent, interesting or important? The Colette Patters customer 'gets it' on all the different levels of asthetic appreciation, fashion sense and feminist theory, so who cares what some random troll thinks.

    There's going to be an idiot with a poorly thought-out opinion for anything anyone posts on the internet... So just ignore.

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  59. Oh my, what a silly comment by that person. Those models are gorgeous and show off the clothing beautifully!

    I think the models chosen showcase the clothing line perfectly. Those dresses will flatter all body types and honestly, it's refreshing to see clothing displayed on a non-runway type figure.

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  60. I think the comments by "X" is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The models are very beautiful and in my opinion, more realistic of the everyday person. While it is true that there are skinny people, it is not the majority of people. And isn't good marketing to target the majority? I think it is safe to say the person with this comment is no more skinny than these models are "huge". People tend to attack to compensate for their downfalls.

    I think that more companies should use models that represent the everyday person and stop giving little girls complexes about their weight. Curvy is beautiful!

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  61. Both of the models are beautiful, and so are the clothes. Not all clothing is going to be always flattering to one body type, or all of them. Sarai made an excellent point. If you can only design or sew for a dress hanger then maybe your design chops aren't all that great.

    All healthy bodies are real, strong, wonderful, and capable of amazing things. I find it extremely sad and disheartening the kind of pressures and unrealistic, dishonest ideals that are placed on young girls and women, not only by the media but by their own peers.

    Any company or business' goal is to make money, and the best way to do that is to have wide appeal. By only following what's "en vogue" from the runways this or that season, they are doing themselves and their customer base a great disservice.

    Women of all sizes sew. Each and every one doesn't need to be represented on every single pattern envelope, but they shouldn't be ignored, either. Ultimately if you are sewing clothing for yourself, you should become familiar with your body, it's quirks, and what looks good on you, so that you don't need to compare yourself to a drawing or photo to evaluate whether 'x' or 'y' is suited to you.

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  62. The commenter was clearly a 'puter "troll", ie, a creep who gets its creepy trollish jollies out of throwing out hugely inappropriate and inflammatory insults at bloggers, just to watch the sparks fly. The blog's actual contents are, in that context, secondary, as the troll in search of new victims would've found something trollishly vicious to say anyway, no matter what the blog contained. Best thing to do is ignore these creepy remarks & move on.

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  63. I think the models are absolutely goregeous! First I think we should see a variety of body types in all areas of modeling to give us a better view of what the clothes look like. Second most of us who sew know to look at the shape of a garment and how it constructed and where darts are placed, length of arms and hems ect... to know if a pattern is right for us, not how it looks on a model.

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  64. .... I'm with digs: Commenter X is just being a sh--stirrer, and is no doubt thrilled to have provoked 'blog reactions'. Comments like this are the internet equivalent of weeds.
    Both models are hotties, end of story.

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  65. What that commenter said was disgusting and wrong. The reason why so many women around the world have serious body image issues is mainly due to the media and big fashion designers using stick thin models, often with unhealthy body issues themselves. I think Colette's patterns and her use of normal sized models is highly commendable, I would want to buy her patterns because I can see myself in those clothes without groaning that I'd have to adjust the bust out or the waist in or worry how it will fit over my thighs. Ultimately, a lot of women (at least my friends) like the more classic silhouette in clothes, and more retro and vintage looks were based on women that had a figure and didn't look like a drainpipe which seems to be the trend in fashion today. Very few women look good in clothes that are designed for super skinny women and then sized up to fit all, because not all women look like they're still 12 years old. And besides, no matter how much I diet and exercise, my thighs will always be bigger than hips, and I'll always prefer my C cup bosom. My clothes should fit and suit my body shape, not the anorexic girl held up as someone else's ideal.

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  66. Huge? Unbelievable. Didn't even look twice at the models' figures! Perfect to me.

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  67. I have several thoughts on this matter. First of all, I think that "Commenter X" demonstrated ignorance and insensitivity in their thoughts. The models pictured are far from "huge." Unfortunately, our society has become so thin-centric, to the point of being unhealthy in many cases, that plenty of folks hold the same kind of opinions.

    As someone who went through eating disorders in the mid-90's, and was a size 3 back then, I will be the first to say that straining to attain a lower size than one is meant for really takes its toll on your body, and cannot be maintained in the long run. I have a swallowing/choking disorder today that is in part due to the bulimia, and it interferes with my daily life. My metabolism is so screwed up now, my body is very reluctant to drop weight, because of what I did to starve it all those years ago. So when someone speaks disdainfully of any woman who dares to exceed a size three, I have difficulty not wanting to punch them in the throat. :P Not everyone is designed to be that small, and attempting to do it when you aren't only leads to medical woes. That said, I also have friends who struggle to keep weight on - they want curves and can't achieve them, because that's just how their metabolism operates. Diff'rent Strokes for different folks, ya know?

    Finally, I think that pattern companies should cater to ALL sizes, because creativity doesn't have a BMI. :P I think it would be a disservice on their part to refuse to serve any particular segment of sizes/weights because another segment is disdainful toward it. We all have a right to make ourselves pretty, quality clothing, and should not be restricted because of some closed-minded jackasses who apparently think that everyone over a size 8 should just wear mumu's and give up on life.

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  68. Holy Hannah; I can't even believe this! It has to be a prank, right? These models are not only ravishingly gorgeous but quite notably slender (if with fetching, enviable curves)! That writer is off their nut. As Katie said, this person is definitely wearing their "crazy glasses"! I think these models show off the line to stunning, ideal advantage!!

    Seriously, like drawings on vintage pattern envelopes, where the game falls somewhere between a realistic analysis of how my real life body can pull off the looks and the fantasy idea of what I hope to achieve with the garment- I think these models absolutely embody the "fantasy" part of it- the spark of style and excitement that gets projects off the ground and carries you through the boring prep bits at the beginning before you get to the actual sewing.

    Man, this really makes me sad. I'm so over the moon about the new line, though! [I'm actually kind of regretting giving the patterns as gift idea to "Santa" because I'm chomping at the bit to get started as soon as they ship...]

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  69. ...but actually, you asked a more productive question than what I just answered. I'll try to offer a more nuanced analysis ;o)
    My problem with the way patterns are illustrated/photographed by the major companies is that they just are not glam enough. Size-wise, I can pretty well figure out what types of styles are going to flatter me, whether they are on a size-2 model or a larger model. The thing I really respond to in Colette's pattern photographs is the overall polish, the attention to styling detail. It was only when I came here to your blog that I even considered if I thought the girls were bigger or smaller than 'normal' (which is....?). I can't decide and don't think its ultimately important. Those girls just look like high-octane babes and the clothes are beautifully sewn and photographed.
    The established pattern companies do shoots for their clothes that look identical to clothing shoots you see in a Walmart or Kmart catalog, modelled by wholesome but not terribly interesting-looking folks. This is NOT a style that induces me to crazed acquisitive longing ;o) Colette's shoot is like what you see in a fashion editorial in Bust or Venus, shown by girls whose looks are arresting and aspirational. Makes you HAVE TO HAVE THAT ROOIBOS PATTERN!!!!!
    If these girls are so much bigger than whatever is normal, well whatever. It means we need to see more variety of shapes of the gals all kinds of ads who are just visually striking at whatever size they happen to be, so sheltered people get used to it LOL.... I mean doesn't it make you wonder where these folks who seem to be shocked by bigger hottties live, I mean I see great-looking fashionable women all over the place in my daily life and in blogland and they're all kinds of different shapes... Commenter X needs to get out/netsurf more and then she/he will maybe get a clue.

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  70. On the nasty comment, I feel that commenter X is not a home sewer like myself. As a home sewer, I will only consider myself that is not stick-thin when selecting which pattern to sew and will avoid being candy-eyed by the styled photographs. Actually all I need is a technical drawing, although a finished dress will help.

    On Collete patterns, after a little research, I've decided that these patterns are not for me. I'm a B cup - petite and at the pattern's price + shipping cost to Japan, I'm not willing to make any adjustments. However, I checked out the Collete pattern's flickr pool the other day and found many flattering dresses in bigger sizes, worn by bigger women and these women look GREAT. I think Collete Patterns has found its niche in pattern market. And IMHO Sarai needs not to cater to all kinds of body types.

    Warm regards from Tokyo.

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  71. I think it's nice to see a healthy dose of reality!!!

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  72. Crystal Renn. Enough said.

    Don't even start with me on this crap.

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  73. Uh, yeah. That dude's lame.

    one thing I liked that you asked was if it helps to see the clothes modeled on women with a similar shape to ourselves. Totally! One thing I like that Vogue does is having the shapes that the pattern will work on. That way I can see the model is a pear shape but that it will also work on my hour glass. you know?

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  74. Commenter X is what is commonly referred to as a TROLL. When you live under bridges, your view of reality gets a bit skewed. As a plus-sized gal, I love my curves and like to use clothing to emphasize and flatter what I have. Love what ya got! Most of the time, when I see "regular" size O models, I just want to feed them.

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  75. Well, for what it's worth...I've been underwhelmed by the illustrations on Collette patterns, but these beautiful women make the clothes look lovely. NOW I'm interested!
    -Sandra

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  76. OMG, the patterns are named after teas! I might have to get them just because of that. I really like the jacket pattern, and Lady Grey is my favourite tea - a match made in heaven!!

    As for the post topic, I can't add anything new, and can only agree with you and pretty well everyone else.

    Tea-named clothing = LOVE LOVE LOVE

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  77. When the pics popped up in my feed reader my first and only response was "Damn. Looking fiiiine, ladies."

    They're both cute as a button.

    That said, I don't know how appropriate it is for us all to pile abuse on this guy and question his sanity without some serious pot/kettle colour debate.

    While he certainly lacks tact and civility he's entitled to his opinion. Diversity is beautiful - even when it comes to opinions.

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  78. In my mind, Collette Patterns were developed to celebrate a voluptuous, hourglass figure, which is why I I subscribe to the feed, as well as to Gertie's blog: for what I perceive as an alternate view of beauty--alternate to that I see in magazines and stores. I know where to buy clothes and purchase patterns that look good on a size2. Everywhere. Anywhere. There are a million other sites out there in cyberspace where Commenter X can seek others to bully and hate and indulge her or his own insecurity. I choose my sewing and fashion sites based on my individual idea of beauty, which celebrates womanly shapes...
    Oh, and BTW-- I don't think the bust is too small on either dress--I got 'em and I'm flauting them.

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  79. Seeing these gorgeously-proportioned women in these dresses makes me want to go and buy the patterns. What I see are real women looking damn fine in these clothes that I might actually be able to work with too(though like all models they are more beautiful than the average schmuck, and as I said, nicely- proportioned). There is I think a perfect balance here of realism, but also possibility. Marketers know that we tend to be drawn to things that we want to become... these girls make me want to be more stylish and beautiful, but they are not so out of reality's grip that I want to go commit suicide (or eat donuts in protest!)

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  80. Wow, so many reactions! And what a stupid comment, the models look gorgeous!

    Of course it would be nice to get an idea of how some design looks on every single body type! However, I don't think it's reasonable to expect from pattern companies to model their designs on an entire range of body types!
    Moreover, I feel that we know from experience what type of cut fits our body type best. I would never buy a dress pattern that does not accentuate my waist line, the same way I would never buy such a dress in a store.

    To me, Colette patterns are designed to look great on feminine body types, and to me it make sense that the models that show off the designs look curvy.
    I don't have their perfect hourglass shape, but I hope the dresses will turn out as good on me! I can't wait to get the patterns!

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  81. I think because Colette Patterns are designed with a vintage bent and also to suit the curvier woman it would be MADNESS to use skinny models. Having said that, if those models are huge then I need to hide under a rock because they are way more svelte than me. They are not even plus size models - that much is obvious. They are curvy but still very healthy, trim women.

    I love the dresses, the models and the whole look together. They are feminine, beautiful and gorgeous in every way.

    We do need to realise that women come in all shapes and sizes. Some women are naturally slim - tall and lanky - I think if we idolise the hour glass figure we can also be in danger of making these women feel less than sexy. I like to see options to make the most of whatever shape we are.

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  82. I think the models are beautiful! My first thought when I saw them: wow, I wish I had those curves. And then I followed the link to see what you said about modifying a pattern for a small-ish bust... :)
    That commenter was nuts.

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  83. I also thought the models are beautiful! The clothes looked awesome on them... they really made my want to buy these patterns. They're definitely on my wishlist for Christmas if I don't buy them before that.

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  84. I am exhaling and trying very hard to get my ranty pants off before I leave a comment here, but oh my lord this would simply be hilarious if commnenter X did not happen to represent such commonly held delusions.

    To answer your question I definitely find variety in models interesting, helpful and a top selling point. I buy Ottobre pattern magazine and one of the things I really like about them (both the women's and kids editions) is their models look like regular people and represent a range of body sizes and shapes. To see the same pattern on both a larger figure and a slimmer figure, on a tall and short or busty or hippy or boyish figure really helps me choose what I think would suit me, and what I would recommend to sewing friends.

    Having just taken a friend through the process of making her first ever dress, she had the same lights on moment we all do when we first put on something that really truly properly fits us. I look and feel great! To me that's the beauty of sewing that no reasonably priced off the rack can give me - clothes made for me and my body. People who have skinny or 'average' bodies are more likely to get this off the rack - since they are the target market - so maybe marketing patterns to the larger/taller/shorter/curvier etc is smart!

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  85. I've never sewed Colette patterns before, but after seeing the curvy models (and you can be curvy at ANY dress size!) I am going to buy some patterns. Those models make me feel confident that the styles will look good on me. Unlike shopping other pattern lines, where model photos and in particular, the drawings, can be so unrealistic, how can we tell if the style will look OK without doing extra work. Here, a new Colette customer!

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  86. I was so excited to hear Colette Patterns had a new line and checked it all day on the 27th to see the new designs.

    I thought the women looked great and was excited for the company to have models this year as I took it as a sign the company is doing well which is something we all want.

    Yes I think it helps to see the clothes on women who are closer in size to me then the models other pattern company's use.

    I am saddened that a pattern company making patterns for women with a cup size bigger then a B cup has to mean its for "plus sized" women (whatever that means). Its for the majority of women.

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  87. I think they are gorgeous, and when I first went onto the colette patterns website was really impressed with the choice of models - much better than the really weirdly proportioned drawings on pattern envelopes. My only negative thoughts were that as a size 0 I wouldn't be able to look as beautiful as them... I guess it works both ways, and people always want a figure that they don't have.
    A little off topic, but I went to the site after seeing your post on the macaron dress with the intention of buying my own macaron pattern, but seeing the measurements for the 0 were too big, was disappointed that it wouldn't fit and felt intimidated by the models' gorgeous curves.

    But I adore the patterns, styling and everything about colette.

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  88. There is absolutely no way that those women are plus sized - sure, they're curvy but judging from their arms and waists they are still fairly slender. I can't believe the nastiness of that commenter.

    I'd love to see a range of body sizes on each pattern cover, like some vintage patterns which include options for different body shapes. Overly idealistic, I know, but it is sometimes so hard to tell what a pattern will look like made up. I'm nowhere near as curvy as those models so I'd be hesitant to buy the pattern unless I saw it made up by somebody who has a body shape similar to mine. If only we all had that kind of 'preview' option!

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  89. Also

    This might sound like an odd remark and not really related to this question but....

    I have been knitting longer then I have been sewing and have been addicted to several knitting magazines for years. A number of my past male room mates have commented that knitting models both in magazines and pattern books are prettier and hotter then sewing models.

    Interesting

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  90. Those models are gorgeous. I don't understand why there is any controversy.

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  91. These woman are stunning and make the clothes look way better than they would on me. I'm stick thin, by the way, and I'll be buying her patterns.

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  92. Grrrr
    That makes me angry - I'm quite small myself but envy the curves and boobs and womanliness of ladies such as the ones modelling! They're GORGEOUS and I can't believe that someone would say that. To be honest it's always irked me about the whole 'tall, skinny' model thing.

    I agree with Sarai when she says that her clothes would not be well designed if they only looked good on smaller ladies - at the end of the day, not everyone is really tall and really skinny! If Sarai can make a boyish petite figure such as mine look good as well as the curvy ladies then that's a testament to her skill. Whoever sent that email is clearly just ignorant.

    That white coat is TO DIE FOR!

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  93. I think the models are very beautiful and so are the designs. What is the merit when a designer can only design for super thin models? This has come up in Project Runway a lot and to me a sign of inexperience. I can't wait to see your test garment. I'm in love with several of these patterns.

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  94. I absolutely love the new patterns from Colette's. The models are beyond gorgeous and it's wonderful to see 'real' women modelling. I've never loved the Stick Insect look.

    The models' figures, IMO, are also very appropriate for the vintage feel of the clothes.

    To the Nasty Commenter: I think the world would be a happier place if we all put on 5-10lbs and concentrated on supporting not competing with each other.

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  95. Well, being a 'curvy girl' myself I love to see patterns made up on all different sizes. I appreciate the fact that Sarai is thinking of the entire size range when she's designing. Honestly, I don't know how many times I've had comments and emails about the garments that I've made where people are thanking me for the pictures so they can see what it looks like on a larger figure. To this X person I must surely look like a whale! I'm not one to care what he/she thinks and I'm more likely to tell him/her to go to hell. ;-D

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  96. Well, I find this interesting.

    First off, the orange dress. LOVELY dress, and I can see how it would look good on large busted girls. It didn't quite fit right on the model and I thought to myself NOT that the model needs to be a different shape, but that the dress maker didn't do a proper fitting job.

    That's right, I said it, it was the DRESS MAKER'S FAILURE to fit the clothes properly. People have and always will come in all shapes and sizes. If a company or designer is going to get their work out to a large population, then it is up to them to keep this in mind. However, it is up to the person who sews to make sure the adjustments are made for a perfect fit.

    At my thinnest I was a size 12 in the hips and a size 8 in the waist, and a size 12 again in the bust. My hips and my waist were almost an 11 inch difference! This drove my Mother insane, but her clothes always made me feel like a million bucks. _I_ feel that designers say that curvy girls are fat for the simple fact they are lazy sewers.

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  97. "That's really good i suggest you Model.de is big online agency for models, photo models, actors, photographers.
    http://www.model.de
    ."

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  98. craziness. those dresses and their models look so beautiful. i hate that women are still fooled by the idea that your dress size is what makes you either good or bad, etc. it's ridiculous. now, being unhealthy, that's another story. but i loved hearing from colette that "if her dresses only look good on thin models then they are poorly designed". if i was a sewer, i'd definitely snatch up her patterns. they are awesome!

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  99. I think the models look great. Since I'm a size 10 RTW, I like seeing what the garments look like on someone similar to my size. (I've had BAD luck with Burdastyle patterns in that regard.) The thing I didn't like about the new colette patterns is the fit of some of the dresses on the models. The rooibos and ceylon pictures show some funky waistline wrinkles, which makes the dresses look like they might be a bit too small for the models. I think this is a fit issue though, and has little to do with the "huge" (I can't even type that without rolling my eyes!) size of the models. Actually, I'm curious to see more versions of these dresses to get a better idea of the fit (hint, hint, Gertie!).

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  100. LOL, I just bought $70 worth of Colette patterns. I didn't even get through your whole post. I didn't know we had an issue here until after I got my order confirmation.

    That said, if Commenter X is a woman, I would like to make her a bowl of grits, hug her, and tell her it's okay to fill a dart--it is.

    If Commenter X is a man . . . well . . . it wouldn't surprise me.

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  101. I think the comment was left because of the model in white.The dress clearly is too tight on her and it sort of accentuating her butt in the picture of the dress back.

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  102. If the question is whether designers should follow the fashion industry's lead or do something unique that appeals to their individual sense of what is beautiful, I say absolutely put your own stake in the ground. Sarai chose those models, as she says, because they stood out, and I assume because they fulfill her vision of what makes her dresses look beautiful.

    I agree that Commenter X's comment was unfortunate and ridiculous, but when you do something different and in your artistic vision, it is very difficult and disheartening to hear someone criticize it. I would like to encourage any artist out there to stand by your vision, knowing there may be controversy, and also: pick your battles.

    People on the internet especially, under the cloak of anonymity, can say some hurtful, ridiculous, and just plain ignorant things. The worst ones tap into people's insecurities, but that doesn't make them right. When you take a risk and know that you're doing something different, then someone criticizes you for it, it can make you feel very vulnerable about that risk. If you feel strongly about your choice, that what you're doing is right, as hard as it can be, stand by your choice and ignore the critics who want you to be like everyone else.

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  103. I agree with Katelyn in the comment about fit. I think the models are beautiful, but the fit of the dresses looks a little off in areas. I actually think that is what is stopping me from loving the Fall collection as much as I loved the first collection (of which I bought 3) though that coat is tempting.

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  104. WOW. No time to read all these 103 great comments, so sorry if I am repeating another poster's comments, but my first thought was "FANTASTIC!!! That is ME!"
    I am not plus sized, nor am I skinny, and I am NOT *ever* represented anywhere commercially. It is great to see "normal" (I know, whatever that is, right?!) feminine looking ladies whose shapes I identify with in beautiful outfits that also happen to fall in step with my sense of style!

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  105. I'm the same, would love to read all your comments, friend's of Gertie, but thanks Gertie for posting about this!

    I saw those Colette clothese only yesterday through another blog, and did NOT for ONE second even notice the models being of a particular size or shape. I think I thought GOSH I LOVE CLOTHES, and then liked their hairstyles and make up and how well the art direction had pulled together the whole look.

    People of all shapes and sizes should be on the internet/telly/magz etc and one of the main reasons why I started sewing was that I'm short as all hell at 4'11'' and needed clothes that actually fitted me rather than lust after being supermodel tall/fake beautiful etc

    Yay for Sarai!

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  106. Hi! I love your blog (and vlogs)! Hmmm, I've thought a lot about this particular post and drafted a lot of responses, ranging from angry to disappointed to just outright exhausted. I now wonder if by discussing body size etc we are not actually buying into it all a bit too much. Maybe when we just stop commenting on it at all, it will become a void topic and we can breath a sigh of relief. We all obviously agree the models are beautiful (although I would hardly class them as 'plus size' or even curvy, for that matter); we all obviously look different than these women; we are all obviously open to the concept that 'beautiful' is dynamic and ethereal and varied; so why do we care what X said? Whatever or whoever was used on the packaging of patterns, it would never look like me because no-one looks like me - that's a good thing, right?

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  107. [Sigh]

    On the one hand, there’s the relentless cheerleading that goes on in the world of sewing blogs. (How many times have we seen glowing comments on a post that features a home sewn garment with mismatched seams, wayward topstitching and sloppy hems?) On the other there is this tactless comment by “Commenter X.”

    Surely there must be a way to find balance and offer constructive criticism online now and then. Especially when we are customers or potential customers. And business people who sell on the internet must be able to take this criticism. I hope Sarai can take a nugget of truth from this unpleasant comment and use it to strengthen her business.

    The models DO look plus-sized in the photos. (They’re also stunningly beautiful, I might add. AND there is nothing wrong with being plus-sized!) However, their actual size is irrelevant. The way they’re shot and styled and the way the clothes fit them make them look larger than they are.

    This is unfortunate. Because every woman I know, no matter what her size, wants clothes that flatter her. Nobody I know wants to wear clothes that make her look larger than she actually is.

    I’m 5’6” with a 38C bust, 34” waist and 43” hips. Not exactly slim. I wear size 10/12 in the Gap and Anthropologie. I was sure these models were larger than me.

    Roobius in particular puckers around the model’s waist and rib cage and the length (so short) makes her look stout as a result.

    Likewise, Oolong also puckers at the waist from the back, and the rear view is rather lump-ish, not smooth (note the left hip line in particular in that photo of her from the back). The sleeves are too snug and the shoulder seems a little tight. Further, the cut of the neckline is so modest and doesn’t make the most of the models assets. Had this dress featured a deeper V, it would have been way more flattering.

    Ceylon is also disheartening. God the model looks delicious. What a face! And the dress is a beautiful color. But the way she has been shot (dead straight on, with arms at her sides and poor posture) and the way the hem rides up at each side makes her hips look wider than I’m sure they are in real life. (The hem is also illustrated shorter at the sides than at the front and back in the technical drawing. This is really weird. Is the dress really longer in the front and in the back than at the sides?) This rather slumped pose, btw, is great for waif models, but not so great on normal-sized or larger women.

    Also Ceylon puckers and looks tight at the bustline and ribcage as well. Again, there is barely any skin showing at the neckline. It just begs to be re-drafted with a lower neckline.

    I’m puzzled as to why this collection is so modest. This is the main problem for me. All necklines are high/closed up. Considering that Colette Patterns are drafted with a C cup in mind, this doesn’t make much sense, as large busted women benefit from a nice, deep V-neck. This lengthens the body line and gives a slimming effect.

    I was really looking forward to this collection, but I doubt I’ll buy any of these patterns. Bottom line, they don’t look good on the models and that means they won’t look good on me.

    I admire what Sarai is doing and appreciate the fact that she is drafting patterns for those of us with larger breasts. I can imagine the incredible amount of work that went into this collection and these shoots. And I feel bad to have to give the line anything less than a glowing review. On the other hand, I hope she can appreciate honest feedback. My guess is as a business person, her goal is to sell as many patterns as she can. And to that end, this feedback, though unpleasant to read, may be helpful to her.

    I wish her much success with Colette Patterns and I plan to purchase two patterns from the previous collection which I think ARE flattering on a body like mine.

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  108. Huge? That's ridiculous. I think that these kinds of dresses look better filled out and, therefore, show the dress off at its best. Isn't that what a model should be chosen for? And these women are gorgeous and I certainly didn't think 'huge' when I saw them.
    -Andi x

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  110. A lot has been said but I needed to mention, as some other people have, that the reason I decided to learn how to sew (and knit!) was because I was frustrated with the looks on the high street, which, in addition to being cheaply made, have horrible fitting issues in a short, wide hipped, small breasted Portuguese lady like me... the fact the clothes in question are beautifully fitted and designed has nothing to do with the size of the models! If anything else, it is a breath of fresh air.

    Apart from this I love the tea theme :) I love the design of Sencha and might get it for Xmas (I just need my sewing mojo back!)

    Gertie, great job with the blog! I found it recently and love it, and love your coat Vlogs!

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  111. Hello Gertie, Sarai, and everyone!

    I like to sew a lot and a couple weeks ago I watched Project Runway for the first time--just to see if it would be helpful to a person who is learning how to draft her own patterns. Unfortunately, I didn't like the show and I was actually appalled by the thin models. They looked so unhealthy and I wasn't paying much attention to the dresses they wore because this train of thought was plaguing my mind! A lot of women and men think these thin models are the apex of beauty but I think of them as unhealthy. The women used for Colette Patterns look wonderful and I would never think they were overweight. Never. The models remind me of those that are chosen for Interweave Knits magazine--which I love. So Sarai and the models seen here: please do not have this commenter and future commenters to lower your spirits. For as you can see here and elsewhere, you have people who believe that what you are doing is what fashion companies all around the world should be doing.

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  112. Holy cow! I actually can't believe that someone would say something like that! The ladies modelling are beautiful! personally I am grateful to Sarai for finding not only diverse, but also "normal" models. Why would your avarage Jane want to buy something that only looks good on a stick figure? This commenter is crazy.

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  113. I cannot believe that anyone would make such a rude comment! If those women are "huge" than what is everyone else!? I applaud Sarai's use of normal and beautiful women to model her clothing. It helps to see what the dresses look like on normal women, i.e. me, instead of rail-thin girls. It helps me to see how flattering (or not) something will look.

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  114. I'm the photographer for Colette Patterns... I photographed the models and am Stunned by the comment by 'x'.

    I photograph women of all sizes. From agency models to plus sized pregnant women. I think all people are beautiful in their own right, in their own size.

    It is sad that 'x' is so trapped by body image issues. Obviously these women are both gorgeous, and Sarai's patterns are darling, and the photographs are fantastic.. if I do say so myself!

    I think both girls are stunning. Sarai sought out curvier girls, she wanted girls with hips and boobs. Why? Because women have hips and boobs! (women also have bellies, yes! and butts too!) I am thrilled with their photographs.

    Thanks for addressing it. It's refreshing to see the outpouring of support from your readers.

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  115. The models are gorgeous! I'm skinny and I love it, but models like those make me want to put on weight (until I remember that that's not MY ideal bodytype, and not for me).
    I think that there will always be people who have very strong opinions about what is right or wrong. Just look at Burdastyle, as soon as they post a pattern with a model with small boobs they get oodles of mean comments calling her "not a real woman", "childlike" or "skinny stick". I would equal that to the comment about the "big" models at Sarai. I think they both are wrong. Beauty is not about being curvy or not, there's a wide spectrum of beautiful women, in MANY sizes.
    Wouldn't it be great if the clothes were modelled by two or three women with VERY different body-types? As opposed to the blond-brunette-redhead with identical bodies you get these days... That way we could ALL get a good impression of how the clothes would fit us.
    And I think it's sad that so many of the comments here fall into the trap of condemning women who "lack shape". Slender women are beautiful too, in another way than curvy women. Why must it be one OR the other, come on...

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  116. But I think there is some serious vanity-sizing going on over at Colette patterns, I'm smaller than a size 0 according to their charts... my gosh!
    I'm known among my friends to be the girl who outeats men, and who needs food every 4 hours to function (but also as the girl who doesn't eat fast food, except for sushi), and I'm of average height. And there are LOADS of girls who are smaller than me (but I'm not big). So I find being a size 0- very disturbing (or at least very surprising!).

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  117. On what planet are the woman huge???
    I scrolled down the page expecting to see hot plus size chicks in hot clothes!

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  118. I think some of the other ladies are correct here.Yes the models are beautiful but there is some very clear vanity sizing going on.The woman are obviously plus sized(I am a size 8-10) and the models are WAY bigger than me.(No way they are a size 10 or as sarai claims)
    Also the way the clothes are fitted it looks like they were fitted in smaller sizes than they could fit in specially the girl in the white dress.The back pose clearly shows the dress being very tight on her hips.

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  119. I think some of the other ladies are correct here.Yes the models are beautiful but there is some very clear vanity sizing going on.The woman are obviously plus sized(I am a size 8-10) and the models are WAY bigger than me.(No way they are a size 10 or as sarai claims)
    Also the way the clothes are fitted it looks like they were fitted in smaller sizes than they could fit in specially the girl in the white dress.The back pose clearly shows the dress being very tight on her hips.

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  120. First time commenter!

    What strikes me is that Commenter X doesn't say anything about the patterns, just about the models. Which makes me think Commenter X doesn't so. In other words, Commenter X is probably not Sarai's customer base - as the glowing reviews here indicate, we home sewers are practically salivating to get our hands on these patterns and start making them up. I could give two cents about Commenter X. Some people just need attention to make their lives worthwhile and they are just SO SAD. Commenter X, get therapy, take up a hobby, get bent, whatevs.

    Moving on, Gertie is there anyway to highlight this or get this memo to Stefanie Sarah in Tokyo? I'm a tall skinnie minnie (5'11" and a size 0/2, small B cup) and Sarai's patterns TOTALLY fit me. Plus, I'm short-waisted; so I'm a bit shorter through the torso than a normal/tall woman. I was SO impressed with Sarai's fit when I made up the beignet skirt and I would hate for a potential customer not to give her a try. Stefani Sarah, if you're out there, Colette Patterns fit small gals, too! Really, really well! Check out Colette's gallery if you need more proof!

    And re: your own question, Gertie, I love seeing a range of models - like many other commenters/sewers here, it's nice to get an idea of what the garment will look like ON YOU. I wish more pattern companies could understand that; home sewers need to be pragmatic and practical about sizing and cut and fit. Too much time and effort AND money goes into making one's own clothes for it to go disastrously wrong. This is not the same industry as the fashion runways, and I think the home-sewing industry would be better served by advertising that recognizes the degree of difference and allows for a little specialization here. It would, in fact, be a better business plan. (I've sworn off large commercial patterns for the time being because I am so frustrated with their poor fit. I'll just have to go back to draping my own, apparently - and snapping up Sarai's lines.)

    sorry to go on!

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  121. I didn't read the other posts before writing this, but that commenter just made my blood boil. I am an 8/10 and have NEVER considered myself plus size (granted, I used to be a 6/7, but that was about 20 years ago). I am thrilled to FINALLY see someone my normal size modeling clothes. It's such a relief.

    I think we need to see a VARIETY of models. Humans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and variety will better reflect that.

    The Colette models are beautiful, the outfits are gorgeous, and Sarai should continue to do as she's doing.

    And I love the Gertie models her clothes too. It gives me inspiration and better self confidence.

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  122. The models are very beautiful and shapely. No way near being huge. Perfect for the kind of design that's inspired by a time in history that appreciated the female form. (Whatever other faults that era may have had - the curvy gal was hot). Poster X obviously needs her/his head examined!

    Vibeke in Oslo

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  123. I've always been a fan of plus-size models! There's a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:

    http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

    They're all gorgeous.

    The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

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  124. I think, to be fair to that commenter. We've lost all perspective on size. I once heard girls calling Cindy Crawford fat. I think the models are beyond gorg. But, at the end of the day, we're used to very skinny and very tall girls. I am the size the models noted and recently had an aunt call me fat. So.... you can imagine what I think of the comment.

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  125. I was really excited to see those pictures..... I've NEVER seen a picture of a model anywhere close to my size, and I have a figure that fits well into those 1950's hourglass shaped dresses. Just checked it out, and it looks like Marilyn, still a huge fashion icon today, had one size smaller than I do..... yet there are many stores where nothing at all comes in my size. I think that being healthy is the most important, and size is definitely second (or seventeenth) on the list of Things To Do. A mix of sizes and shapes is what you see in real life, so it would make sense to me to use a mix of sizes and shapes as models, and to create good looking clothes for different women. I'm always horrified at the medium sizes that get put in the 'Plus size' department at stores like Laura and Reitmans.... most of the people who shop at those places are nicely rounded, not fat :(
    I for one am planning to get a pattern or two from that collection for Christmas.... :-)

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  126. The models are gorgeous and they show Sarai's latest incredible line to perfection (as do you, Gertie). Brilliant!

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  127. The models are gorgeous and the designs are very flattering. Kudo's to Sarai for using curvy women of varying sizes. I think it shows how well the designs work on women with curves (even though some commenters have pointed out minor fit issues -- though I didn't notice any large binder clips like the mainstream pattern maker use). I do believe that designers and some seamstress' use very thin models as that allows them not to worry about how the look is designed or how to deal with fit issues, i.e., Project Runway.

    There will always be critical people and the critical people probably haven't looked in a mirror lately.

    Keep up the beautiful work Sarai.

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  128. I have to say that I was so happy to see pattern models with figures similar to my own: curvy. I have a very hard time imaging vintage-inspired designs on my frame because my frame looks more uncorsetted-Renaissance than 40s/50s! I hope more designers try their hand at designing for a wider range of silhouettes. It was refreshing to see a pale beauty with curves! The theme here is variety. I like it. Keep it up!

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  129. I immediately noticed that the models were curvier than one normally sees, but I saw it as a practical choice to show off patterns that are retro-styled for curvy women. As an extreme hourglass, I feel confident that these patterns won't have to be modified for my curves, which is a refreshing change.

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  130. I think those models look fantastic in those clothes! I don't think that they are ill fitting at all to look at, its just that people are so used to seeing pictures of women who do not fill out their clothes properly and do not have that healthy/fertile/sexy little bit of shape on their stomachs that they think that a flat stomach or slim hips is the only norm.
    I don't consider inches to be in any way equated to beauty, proportions in comparison to height and skeletal/muscular build are much more important.
    Take for example the 'plus size' models in the european burda pattern magazine. I would never consider them to be plus size, they are perfectly and healthily proportioned for their build. What I consider plus size is women who have health problems due to their size, or have trouble walking for a good distance. As for a models bum looking big, shouldn't that be a complement for anyone, including the model? More essential for the more robust venus-like and less otherworldly femminine figure than breasts is a small hip/waist ratio. That inevitable includes large thighs and bums. If the waist looks small by comparison, great! This is just as beautiful as the slim, tall, graceful, ectomorphic figure idealised, and more approchable for many women too.
    I am not saying that all skinny women can be deemed glamourous, as some are far to thin than is natural for themselves. An example of this is some of the models on the asos site, when you look an some of the open back clothing no effort has been made to airbruch away the unhealthily jutting bones on their backs, so the truth is revealed, they are more deathly than glamourous.
    Surely the most beautiful and attractive features that should be looked for in a model are health, happiness, and personality rather than height and weight.
    To use beautiful models regardless of their size or height is an incredibly brave, respectible and wonderful thing to do, and it should be done by more companies.
    Also I agree totally with Ladykatza, people should not fit clothes, clothes should fit PEOPLE. Whoever said that a different model should be chosen for the dress most likely did not mean any harm by their comment, but surely chosing the model to fit the clothes used for the front picture of a pattern defeats the purpose of home sewing? You might as well just put them in ready-to-wear off the high street if you have that opinion. The clothes should be cut and measured for the models proportions, rather than using the base pattern as it would be sold, as most home sewers would most likely alter the base pattern to fit themselves.

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  131. Interesting. I recently bought the Sencha pattern... still waiting for it to arrive. Can't wait!
    I had a different response to the models. I am pretty thin. Not too curvey, and flat chested. Think Kate Hudson, but not nearly as toned! ; )
    I ENVY these gorgeous women and their luscious curves. At the same time, I hesitate to by a certain dress pattern of hers(can't remember the name of it) because I worry that it won't look nearly as gorgeous on my frame as someone with curves.
    There's body issues on both ends. I'd love to see her garments on smaller women IN ADDITION to the gorgeous models she's already chosen. This way I could see what it might look like on me.

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  132. Very refreshing to see patterns made up and modeled on women who are more representative of the average woman. It's a stretch of the imagination to figure out how most patterns will look on the average person because they are either modeled on anorexic teenagers or drawn in a way that no human could ever be that thin because their bones could never been that narrow. I have been a very small size most of my adults life, and I still had to imagine how things would look on a me much of the time. Now that I'm a RTW 10, I can relate to the photos on this pattern line and very easy imagine how they would look on me. It's so nice to have patterns for which I don't have to do as much of an FBA as I normally would have to do. Anyone who thinks the models are huge has their thinking oriented by popular use of models and not by real people.

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  133. I just ordered two Colette patterns, and I did so because of the curvier models on the website! It's so refreshing to see what clothes look like on a woman above a size zero, and not have to try and imagine the clothes fitting my curvy frame by squinting at the line drawings on the back of the envelope and looking for fit clues.
    The photo shoot looks wonderful, the clothes look well designed, and the choice of models is what tipped me over towards purchasing. I think Sarai did a great job!

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  134. One of the reasons I am attracted to the Colette Patterns is because of the models. These dresses suit them very very well. They aren't the cloth racks you see in runway shows, but that's not necessary. In this case it has to give potential buyers of the patterns an idea of the dress and how it would look on themselves if they'd make the dress and wear it themselves. So you don't need sizes 2 or even 0, you need normal women. Sizes 4/6/8/10. I love the models Sarai picked out. They look very distinguished in the dresses and I think they really bring across the message very well. Plus they are absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I mean... look at them. I'd kill to look like that.

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  135. I think the models look fabulous in the clothes. BUT I can sort of see where "Commenter X" is coming from. I sell vintage on ebay, and I model most of the clothes myself. After a photo shoot, I always choose the photos which make me look thinnest (in fact I may as well confess I sometimes resort to some light retouching) - and not purely for reasons of vanity! I think that if buyers see a slender model in the clothes, it makes them more appealing, because "these clothes will make me look slimmer". Then again, perhaps I'm wrong...

    Tuppence Ha'Penny

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  136. I like to see a variety of models: size, ethnicity and age. But mostly what I want to see is a person who appears healthy!

    I personally do find it very helpful to see a pattern on someone with my shape. Since I am thin and fairly tall, most of the time a model is somewhat in my size range.

    Still, I do not like a lack of diversity in models because it projects the idea that women are all the same or should be all the same.

    Healthy is beautiful. Could we strive for that?!

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  137. Commenter X was way out of line. I think the models for the Collette Patterns are gorgeous! I have a boyish figure (small bust, small hips, wide waist), and wish I could fill out a dress like those lovely models. It does, however, make me a bit hesitant in purchasing a Collette pattern because I'm afraid that I'll have to alter the pattern drastically (which I'm quite inept at), or that it just won't look as nice on me as it would on a curvalicious woman. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but that's just the impression I get by seeing the finished garment on the models. Bummer... I'm so in love with the Parfait dress pattern... especially your version in pink seersucker. Swooon!

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  138. I think it's important for pattern companies to use models that epitomize the female form they design to.

    I only recently found out that Collette Patterns are drafted for larger cup sizes (C-D) than the standard (B) you find with most commercial patterns. Yet I almost didn't need to be told - I can see from the photos and how Collette Patterns are marketed that they are suitable and will still look stylish on curvy women.

    I am only an average-skilled seamstress, but part of what drew me into making my own clothes is that as a very short, slim and very busty girl most ready to wear clothing is uneven on me - tight in some places and way too loose in others.

    Models that are chosen to sell patterns usually tell me nothing about how a pattern will look on me. Collette Patterns do. And that makes me want to buy them.

    Therefore, I think their models are doing their job - selling the patterns to the right audience.

    (Frankly I wish more commercial companies would take this approach. Or at least include a D+ bodice variation piece - I'm just not skilled enough to do that kind of major adjustment on every type of pattern).

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  139. I totally agree with you. In fact, all I can do is shake my head. Ironically, I've been reading a lot of pattern reviews for Collette Patterns before I dive into making the Rooibos or Sencha, and the biggest complaint people seem to have is that the designs would look better on them if they were bustier. I find that hilarious because as a D-cup, my usual problem is finding tops that fit my bust without also looking like I'm wearing a muu-muu. So, everyone has trouble finding clothes that fit, which is why so many of us take up sewing our own!

    As for Commenter X, I think because we are used to seeing a specific size of woman modelling clothing, it's hard to get out of that mode of thinking. Which is sad. We need to see all sizes modelling clothes - it might help in determining whether a particular style is flattering on one's own body.

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  140. In my case, the model made me buy the product. A lot of the older brands use drawings of women that are pretty, but make me wonder if the dress pictured would look good on someone with proportions more similar to my own. Colette's models didn't make me think "what would this look like on me?" but rather " 'Oooh, Barracuda!' Now all I need is a chignon."

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  141. I know this is an older post, but I just had to comment. Seeing these beautiful curvy women modeling made me say "Hallelujah!" I frankly could not stop looking at them when I first ran across Colette Patterns this summer. They convinced me I could look sexy in these designs that accommodate a curvy figure. So many patterns are not designed for us busty gals it's down right refreshing to see them. I'm making the Macaron dress for my 10 year wedding anniversary and I know, because of those gorgeous models, it will be a show stopper!

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  142. So I know I'm like a year late with this, but I just found Colette patterns, then I found your blog through them! It really makes me wonder how a person views the world around them if they can leave a comment like that. The models are not 'huge.' If you think that you must have some serious issues going on in your life. One of them probably jealousy. I vary from a size 20 -26 UK (so I know what huge is!) and the fist thing that caught my eye when I looked at the Colette patterns website was the gallery section. I love how you can see all the different patterns on so many body shapes, and they all look damn lovely if I don't say so myself! It's been great for deciding which patterns I think will look best with my body shape (that's right commentor x. I said 'shape' even though I'm plus size, crazy huh!!!) I mean those triangle and rectangle 'body shapes' on the back of the big company patterns, you know what I'm talking about? I can't tell anything from those, or a stick thin model on the front! Model doesn't look like me, triangles and rectangles don't look like me!! That is why Collete patterns is so refreshing. Any body type can go onto the website and see a picture of someone that might look a bit like them wearing the clothes. Ahhhh bliss! It's really a shame that that person made that commet. Sarai's patterns are beautiful, elegant, timeless and stunning, no matter what body is wearing them.

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  143. The Collette models are gorgeous and feminine; they are noy fat; they are certainly not 'huge'; that comment from someone must have come from a media slave. Sad really.

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  144. I think its refreshing to see models the shape and size modeling patterns that flatter them. Some clothes suit curvier models some suit skinnier models I think the model should match the clothes not just put them on the same skinny model because that's what the fashion world expects. Surely you want to show the items off to the best advantage by putting them on the models that they flatter most and for that a variety of model shapes and sizes are needed.

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  145. There are for sure some clothes that look better on girls with no curves. Much of the Haute Couture world is just this way. Vintage patterns in particular, however, look better with some curves, and foundations undergarments. Many of us sew because off the rack clothes don't fit the way we want them to. It's easier for me to make it myself than to be frustrated and have to take it apart and remake it anyway. These models are lovely, and hardly huge. Sometimes people should remember the adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." If you don't like something, keep scrolling or clicking past it.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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