back to basics with colour

You know what’s easier than making trousers that fit? Rifling through the stash and reorganizing it, that’s what.

I started re-thinking colour a while ago, once it occurred to me that perhaps I was choosing particular colours for clothing out of habit or availability and not because they necessarily did me any favours. This led me to doubt all assumptions and take a fresh look.

I got a bee in my bonnet last week about figuring out my palette. When I was in high school I self-diagnosed as a Summer (when there were only 4 categories to choose from), but there were still a lot of colours that didn’t grab me. Now each season is subdivided, so you can be either a “true” whatever, or that season influenced by any other season, which makes for a total of 12 categories. I believe I’m a Soft Summer. Claim to fame: apparently the most popular palette for towels.

So I went through my stash: everything that I wouldn’t want to wear – whether because of fibre, fabric type, weight, etc – went immediately to the non-clothes pile (for use as home dec, muslins, whatever). I then sorted on the basis of colour by holding every piece up to my face in front of the mirror to see whether it looked good. Why bother using fabric for clothing if I can tell before I start that the colour will keep me from wearing it? Here’s what made the cut:

reds & purples with berry tones; greens on the blue side (including teal) - these completely hit the spot for me

smoky blues, bluish greys, black (not fantastic, but fine for bottoms); purply fuchsia wool (which didn't fit in the other box) - I feel mostly meh about these ones

Most of these colours have a muted quality, a certain fogginess – this is the softness of the Soft Summer. I feel a little iffy about most of the smoky blues themselves – they look OK and they appear on the same palettes as those other colours, so I think they technically suit me. However, I find that most of them look really washed out, and I tend to favour more saturated tones. So we’ll see what happens to these.

A note about fibre: I was on a wool kick when I did my most recent batch of collecting, but I never got very far with sewing it. As a result, I have a pile of wool in the stash that I’m not sure what to do with. I guess trousers are the obvious choice, but I’m not going to cut until I feel like I have a fair chance of success and I’m just not there yet. I rarely wear skirts, but I’ve been wanting one that works for fall so I can get more use out of my awesome riding boots.

A note about storage: I fold my fabric in half selvage to selvage and wrap around a flat core. I used to keep these bolts on shelves at my old place, but now that our storage is all in the basement (which has some wildlife in it), it needs to be in something. I discovered that when I take these tidy bolts and fold them once more, they fit into letter/legal size file boxes quite neatly. Narrow stuff (45″/115cm) goes widthwise, while wide stuff (60″/150cm) goes lengthwise. Wish I had known this when I was packing last year!


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
This entry was posted in stash, style. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to back to basics with colour

  1. chris says:

    thanks for posting this – inspired me to review my own stash

  2. Pingback: back to basics with shape | Blood, Sweatshop & Tears

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