DeedleandThread in Boston Part 1

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding areas

Curvy SewingCollective logo
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!

In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area  sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.

Flour Bakery, Boston

Flour Bakery, Boston

More about Jenny…..
light good
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for.  I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible.  Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about  in her blog.

Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.

We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.

Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!

Now, on to the fabric.  When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Day 2:  Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of  silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns.  It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson.  Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here.  I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck.  That was my experience, so take it for what it is.

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard.  Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.

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The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

Day 3/Last Day: Off to Grey’s Fabrics and Bead and Fiber

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy.  Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber items for sale

Bead and Fiber items for sale

There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest???  Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce.  They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.

Craft Table in the middle of the store

Craft Table in the middle of the store

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I SPY: It doesn't get any better than this

I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this

Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have.  You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below.  Don’t they look professionally made?

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey's

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s

The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber.   After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own.   I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy.   I purchased the black for $10.00.  It looked easy to use.  Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza.  Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.
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Grey's Fabrics, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Inside Grey's--Hey, it's grey in here!

Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!

What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer.  I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric.  In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear.  I’m a sucker for it every time.  Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement.  Butterflies!!

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric,

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”

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With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston!  It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.

Shades of Olive Jacket Kit

Dana's Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

Dana’s Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with my mom at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington last year at about this time (Feb/Mar), and I’m a little sad I didn’t go this year. It was my first sewing expo out of Arizona and I wanted to share one aspect in more detail with you.

One of the big highlights was meeting Linda MacPhee, a patterns designer, teacher, sewing enthusiast, vendor, among other talents. Here is a jacket kit I purchased from her after seeing the kit and the finished product. From the list of presenters for 2014, I don’t think Linda attended this year, but she still offers the pattern in two color choices on her website here. If you have a moment, check out the website for the Expo for 2015. It is fun to look at the sight to get a taste of all that is available. I highly recommend attending if you want to be surrounded by sewing enthusiasts, great instructors and an ‘seamingly’-never-ending supply of vendors and supplies. It’s exhausting!

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

The catchy title of ‘Shades of Gray’ was a deliberate attempt to get the attention of customers and cause them to stop by the booth and ask questions about this art-to-wear jacket. Here we are at her booth and advertising her gray jacket kit. She was such a delight to meet in person. I have been a member of the American Sewing Guild, Tucson Chapter in years past and had heard that she had come to our city of offer classes and demos, but for some reason, I never attended. It was my loss. She is so friendly and warm.  My mom and I must have said the right things because we were asked to be models in Linda’s fashion show on the main stage!

After getting to talk to her, Linda conveyed that sewing needs to be to simplified, making it as easy as possible to open up to new and different ways to be creative. Sometimes, we get in our own way and complicate a pattern’s process, or get intimidated before even starting something and as a result, never get it off the ground and finished. So…….this jacket has taken a year to complete!  More about why later in the post.

Linda prepares the kits herself by providing various remnant squares of fabrics from her suppliers.  The kit fabrics have the weight and feel of home decorator and stretch woven fabrics.   The additional fabric needed is the sleeve fabric of your choice.   Linda chose a heavy sweater knit for her sleeves because she lives in Canada and wanted extra warmth. I selected a black cotton/poly knit remnant from my stash.  This kit requires some planning and prep to make this jacket come alive.

Somehow, she knows how much fabric to provide as well as a zipper, pattern, and creative suggestions in the instructions. The idea is to come up with your own configuration. Basically, you are creating the fabric for the jacket like a puzzle. The placement of all fabrics need to look right and balanced and pleasing to the eye. It can also be a great way to use up some laces and trims as well as any other fabric remnants from the stash.

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

As you can see, she added lace, stitching, a rhinestone encrusted zipper, and a creative assortment of related and coordinating fabrics
'Shades of Gray' Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

‘Shades of Gray’ Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Below is Linda’s sample of the olive jacket to help customers see how the pieces can come together. In the background, you can see all of the MacPhee Workshop patterns stacked and ready for sale.   There is so much to take in!  There are great garment samples from her various patterns made up for the sole purpose to try them on for size and fit.   She offers guidance with pattern selection to suit your lifestyle needs.   Some garments hang on racks for sale made up out of fabrics available at her booth.   She is so generous with her techniques and tips it is hard to not get so excited and grab the next available sewing machine in sight and get started.
'Shades of Olive' Sample Jacket

‘Shades of Olive’ Sample Jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Selvage and lace used on back

Selvage and lace used on back

Here, Linda used the selvage and lace to add interest and texture to the back. It can also be a way to hide the butting of a seam or blend two fabrics together.
Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

These two fabrics were very different and yet coordinated nicely. One is a flocked printed denim and the other is a scrolled design with a reversible side.
Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

The pattern Linda chose to include in the kit features the two pieced sleeve and princess seams to not only allow a better fit, but another opportunity to combine more fabrics in small doses to add interest.

So here is my jacket. At a glance, they look alike, but they are very different.  My mom provided a scrap of fabric that I used throughout, like on the right pocket. I also added laces of different widths at seam joints.  I suppose no two jackets could be the same because the fabric in the kits may vary and the arrangement of them will be different for every person.IMG_2651
IMG_2654You can see the back side pieces are from the same scrap fabric from my mom, only reversed. It has a slight gold fleck in it and looked great on both sides so I had to find a way to show both sides. Plus, it blended well with all of the other fabrics.
IMG_2655So why did it take me a whole year to complete? Well, I was moving right along without a hitch with the fabric piecing, but had difficulty getting the sleeves to set properly.  I’m not sure if I didn’t mark the reference points right or what, but I didn’t notice they weren’t in correctly until they had been sewn and serged.  They didn’t hang properly and had to be ripped out. I got discouraged, and frankly, allowed myself to get distracted by other sewing projects. It sat until I forced myself to tackle some of my UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).
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I hope this post inspires you to look at your patterns and fabrics in a new way. Maybe there is the possibility of a hidden jacket ‘kit’ in your stash.

Now, for the lariat necklace. If you want to know more about it, click here to get the details.

5 Tips For Wearing Stripes

I saw this Valentine card and thought is was provocative, but in a good way. The zebras caught my eye and I had to look inside. The caption made me smile but it also conjured up all of the fashion back-and-forth we read and hear about stripes.IMG_2640

Inside Caption

Inside Caption

(Card is from a series called “Party Animals” by Recycled Paper Greetings.) But back to our topic….

How DO we feel about the stripe issue? Poor thing has her widest stripes running across her rump region. It’s just the way she was made. And now that brings me to the question of stripe width such as thick or thin. Or how about the direction of the stripe layout and whether it should be horizontal, vertical or diagonal…? How about color(s) of stripes together. Does the garment look like a rugby shirt or kids clothes? And then the stripes’ ability to play well with others. Let’s explore.

I love stripes, so I disagree with the card caption, but I also understand the reason why horizontal stripes may not be the most flattering. It seems to be common sense that in dressing our bodies, long and lean is preferred over short and wide. So from a visual perspective, eyes moving from left to right create width. I get it. But I still like horizontal stripes. Here are some suggestions using stripes in our outfits to best flatter our figures and bring out our best features.

1.) Wear them under a blazer. The horizontal lines are somewhat covered and yet still bring interest to your outfit. This also goes for busy prints. The jacket tones down anything that might feel too edgy or distracting while giving a sharp, pulled together look.download
2.) Mix them with a prints that shares some of the same colors. This helps unify the look without it looking like a mistake. There is nothing like a clean striped shirt, but sometimes a statement necklace or striking scarf can add the finishing touch to a rather classic and traditional look. It will add some fun and bring more color toward your face.download
3.) Look for clothes with diagonal stripes and chevrons. There is a fine line between stripes that make you step back to focus, and those that intrigue your eye. These are busier designs for sure, but also work to camouflage bumps and bulges (if you have any). They also keep the eye moving and are a little more interesting and unexpected. You will probably have an immediate reaction to size and use of stripes and will know whether or not you like it or dislike it.Striped topStriped bias knit topdiagonal stripe dress
chevron skirtdiagonal maxi

For the sewist, I wrote a post showing Vogue 8819, which is a great pattern for using stripes in an eye catching way. My favorite use of stripes is to place the pattern pieces on the diagonal (bias) and use them on neckbands, cuffs, sleeves, skirts, dresses and maybe more. Often, the diagonal or bias drape of the fabric is spectacular. A little practice is needed matching stripes or handling the wiggly seam allowances, but the results are worth it.V8819
4.) Don’t be afraid of mixing thick with thin stripes. Again, be on the lookout for ways the two stripes compliment each other. Is is color? Theme? It needs to look intentional and not like you got dressed in the dark.stripes thick thin

Above, the vest adds some interest to the outfit using a neutral grey vest with a ‘stripe’ created with a contrasting fabric while working well with the cobalt pieces. The outfit might look a little simple without the vest, and the varying stripes add some interest. If the vest had been cobalt, it might run into the problem of Miss Matchy Matcherson. Can’t have that.strip with stripescarf

Stripe thin thick

5.) Use vertical stripes when possible to lengthen the look of the body. It is not as common to find the stripes running vertically because many fabrics are woven with the stripes running from selvage to selvage(crosswise), especially knits. If you are lucky enough to find fabric with the stripes running the lengthwise of the fabric (parallel to the selvages), it will probably be a woven fabric and suitable for pants, skirts or shirts. Men’s shirt fabric is a good example of stripes running lengthwise.verticalsThere is also something called princess seaming that runs from the shoulder vertically down the length of the dress creating a vertical line. This dress is an interpretation of this kind of design line in pattern making that has been used in color blocking, creating a very slimming silhouette. You can read more about princess seaming in my previous posts on the coordinates pattern by McCalls #5890 pattern and the Simplicity #4032 Jackets.
vertical striped dressHere is the question: What is your stripe preference?stripe comparisonsketch comparisonLooking at all of the images in this post, do you have a favorite or do you like them all?

McCalls 5890 Coordinates

IMG_2349If you are looking for a coordinates pattern that has casual and a bit dressy,this may be it. There will be more about this pattern to come but for now, this post is about the dress because it features princess seams resulting in a great fit. This must be a successful pattern for McCalls because I have seen it in the books for quite a while. (Something I use to determine successful patterns).IMG_2357IMG_2384I’ve added a picture of my doggy-eared pattern for a quick look and a link to check it out from the pattern book. The newest pattern book features this pattern made up in a geometric fabric in addition to the leopard print and it made me take a second look. Talk about great components for a travelling capsule! I have also made the sweater from the pattern (blog post coming soon) but chose to wear a shrug from Old Navy (old) instead to see if I liked it better. I think the proportions are better with flat boots. But back to the dress…
IMG_2351The sleeves are cut outward toward the shoulder which helps with the hour glass shape of the dress. The neckline is scooped just right. I cut the size 14 and took it in a little through the waist. No zipper, just pull it over the head. I serged the hem and did a blind hem to give it some weight.
IMG_2354Okay, so the back view is not too complimentary, but you get the idea of the dress silhouette. I prefer wearing heels with most dresses, but since winter is approaching, my flat black Target boots (also old) are just too comfortable for all-day-on-my-feet activities.
IMG_2378I purchased this fabric at my local mill end store in two remnant pieces. The all over knit print of the dress has pink, aqua, white, fuchsia dots in various sizes. Notice they are not the colors of my palette? Oh well. I was drawn to the simple print because it would not be interrupted by the princess seams. Hemming it at the knee gives me more options for year round wear. Too short would mean only leggings and I wanted to be able to wear this with booties and tights, flat or heeled boots, pumps and a structured blazer, etc.

As you follow my blog, you will notice I gravitate to quick and successful sewing projects that can be worn year round. I live in a hot climate and need separates that are great for layering. Like most women, squeezing in sewing time is a challenge. Sewing projects need to be fun and rewarding. I have a short attention span for each project and I am always tempted to start something new. There is too much fabric and not enough time!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A New Haircut

Well, I can’t think of the last time I had a new style. It was probably when my kids were young and I had just moved to Arizona, which would have been in the early 1990’s. It was a short wedge cut and the hair hugged my neck. It was cute, but I got bored with it and grew it out. I’ve had my hair long for so many years and held on to it because I could style it in so many ways. You can still get some updo tips from my tutorial here if you have longer hair and want to try something new. Hair Boredom is my issue, so I have known that a new cut would have to offer at least two styling options, but hopefully more.

This summer, my boredom and laziness showed up because I found myself wearing it in a pony tail or up in one of those donut/top knot-wirey-mesh-things due to the fact that my hair down made me hot and dewy. My part time job does not require fancy hair, so I haven’t been able to bring myself to put the time in for a job that is so casual. In the past when I worked in a salon, ponytails were discouraged because they don’t exactly require much creativity. Some women look fantastic in them, but for me, they have been used for exercise or housecleaning. But here I was, doing the very thing I don’t like. Enough is enough. That’s when I realized it was time to either muster up the energy to style it in new ways or get a haircut that is cute, flattering, and suits my lifestyle.

Over the years, I have changed my hair color to dark, but eventually went back to blonde. As a licensed hairstylist, I have been pretty boring and unadventurous. No pink hair during beauty school or broken hair due to over-bleaching. I also have enjoyed seeing jewelry and scarves on people with shorter hair. I was now intrigued with the fun-factor. No wonder I don’t think to wear my scarves when my hair is down. Too Hot! Silly stuff like this was adding up and moving me in a new direction. And what about all of the new infinity scarves I’ve been making? Gotta wear them, right?

You probably take more chances with your hair than I do, which means that you are better with the thinking that ‘hair grows’ and nothing has to be permanent. That being said, not every haircut is a winner or that more questions could be asked so that you are thrilled with the next cut and style.

Are you ready for a change, or just thinking about it? Here are some things I can share that may help:

1.) Keep looking around to decide what you like and don’t like in a haircut/style. Use magazines, people-watching, internet photos to help narrow the choices. Maybe there are aspects of a cut and style you have had in the past that worked. Live with the idea and see if you keep going back to a particular style. Make a checklist and compile pictures. Here is an example of my list.
-Shorter than the shoulders. Check.
-Volume on top. Check
-Styling options; Curly or straight. Check.
-Flattering to head shape, features. Check.

2.) Don’t be shy. Compliment someone you see who’s hair you admire and ask for their stylist’s name and salon. Most will take this as a compliment. This word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to feel comfortable about getting a new resource. Make sure to get their first name to use as a referral when you make your appointment. The stylist will be thrilled the referral got you to their chair.
(FYI–My stylist is a great friend and former co-worker).

3.) Compare your hair type and texture (fine, course, curly, wavy, straight, etc.) to the styles you like. If there are no similarities, it may not be realistic, will be a struggle and won’t be satisfying. The best haircut compliments your hair type. Accept any cowlicks and recognize hair growth direction. Ultimately, considering these certainties will make for a lower maintenance style.
-Fine hair, but volumizing mousse and a blow dryer has worked before to provide volume. Check.
-No known cowlicks or hair direction issues, but be careful to use a mirror to check back views before leaving the house! Check.

4.) Be honest about the time you are willing to put into maintaining the new style. Wouldn’t it me nice to jump out of bed and have your hair look fantastic? Maybe men get to do this, but there are few women who can pull this off successfully. If you are one of those, good for you! I know I am a futz-er with my hair; some are NOT. Either they don’t don’t know how or don’t care enough to put the time in. This is why these questions are even more important to ask. Are you willing to get it cut every 6 weeks? How about color retouches every 3-4 weeks? How about the cost? Does it suit your lifestyle?
-Shorter hair requires more frequent cuts. I’m okay with it. Check.
-I can afford the color maintenance, both time and money. Check.
-Less hair = quicker drying time = faster out the door. Check.

5.) Are you ready for the backlash? Change is difficult for many and the loved-ones may not be ready for a big one. Are you confident and self-assured to take the plunge and withstand the disapproval, should there be any? Compliments are great, but ultimately, you have to be happy with all of the above considerations and ready to present yourself every day as your best self. If a new haircut gets you there, then great. If not, wait. It isn’t the right time. When the time is right, you will know.
-Am I still liking the idea of a new cut days after considering it? Yes. Check.
-Have I wavered? No. Check.
-Will my friends/family/employer still have me around? Hope so. Check.

Oh, and by the way, I DO NOT push the theory that when you turn a certain age, you must cut your hair to be ‘age appropriate’. In fact, I hate that. If long hair is well maintained and flattering on you, go for it. I just turned 50 and I may grow my hair long again, but only if I am willing to put the time and energy to have it look it’s best.

My philosophy is to put a little time in to look your best more often than not because it feels better, and has multiple pay-offs. You may not like that appearances matter so much, but they do. Studies show that we are all guilty, to some degree, of making snap assumptions about others due to their presentation….but that is for another post.
A new style after 10+ years!

Color Consultation: How It Helped Me

First Half of Swatches

First Half of Swatches

Second Half of Swatches

Second Half of Swatches

Years ago in the early 90’s, I had my ‘colors done’ by someone who worked for Beauty for All Seasons. At that time, my hair was my natural shade of dishwater brown with blonde highlights. My eyes are green, and I was unaware of to what classification my complexion fit. This concept intrigued me and I wanted to give it a try. I did enjoy the process and found that this little swatch fan was useful and I’ve held on to it for all these years as a guide and that was the best part. Here are some reasons I found it to be a helpful process then and now.
1.) Keeps me focused.
I love color. I react to color. As a seamstress, you can see from my About Page, one little glimpse into my fabric stash shows I’m a fan. Prints, solids, texture. I love it all. Sometimes I get carried away and want it all. Every season, I see new colors that are ‘in’ and the retailers make these colors available to us in fabric and clothing. The problem is that I don’t have the space. This is why I could use a little direction. This may be why I have been fascinated with the wardrobe capsule idea which is a concept of a few key clothing items that mix and match with each other creating a much larger collection that meets the needs of one’s lifestyle. (More on the capsule wardrobe subject at another time.) I digressed….

Earlier this year, I had my colors done again by someone at the Puyallup Washington Stitching and Sewing Expo. Her opinion and expertise was backed by 25+ years of being in the color consulting field, claiming that her eye for color came naturally to her. Her swatches for me looked like this:

Main colors showing coloring contrast

Main colors showing coloring contrast

This shows the basics: Hair, Blush, Eye, and Skin and the contrast levels between all four areas. This swatch set shows my coloring as more muted and softer with less contrast than the first color fan.
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Based on my coloring, these are the recommended metals to wear: gold, gold/silver mix and rose gold. ( I live in the desert, so I’m opting for copper; a more-readily available color). Preferred metal textures are brushed/burnished.
Basic Neutrals and

Basic Neutrals and “Reds”

Groupings: Pastels to act as a bridge neutrals with basics of Navy and Soft Browns. My Reds are the blush colors. No true reds for me. More watermelons and corals.
Greens, Blues, Purples

Greens, Blues, Purples

Here are my lighter Greens, Blues and Purples. (My darker greens/blues are with the eye colors) No grays or black. Bummer. It’s not that I can’t wear these, and if I do, blend with the softer pastels to blend them better with my coloring.

I want to say that each of the swatches help me to think in color relationships. Ideally, the colors from each swatch should all go with one another making a seamless and flattering blend. This means hair color, skin tone, eye color, makeup shades and clothing working together seamlessly as a system. The goal is to pull yourself together with these colors in mind so that your best features shine and you look rested, healthy and radiant.

2.) Compare and Contrast
The first swatch group had key information written on the back of each color. See below:
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The Similarities. Old vs New
Turquoises/Blues=Skin Intensifiers
Purples=Hair Intensifiers
Reds/Blushes=Eye Intensifiers
Hair color(s)=use Light and Dark versions of Hair Color to build wardrobe basics
Navy=Wardrobe Neutral

Differences: Old vs New
Whites: Cream/Vanilla vs very Light Yellow
Grays: Charcoal and Light Gray vs no Grays
Metals: Silver vs Gold, Gold/Silver Mix, Rose Gold
Contrast: Higher vs lower
Undertone: Cool vs Warm

It’s tough to be objective. I can be my own worst critic and see myself very differently that others see me. I have worn both warm and cool undertone colors for years so soliciting input from someone else can throw a new spin on things. Both swatches have some color overlap and serve as a guidelines only. They are suggestions of flattering colors based on different sets of eyes and what they see as complimentary.

Many of the fashion and body image blogs I read are abut self awareness and self acceptance. Mass merchandisers pump out colors every season that may only look great on a small percentage of the population, so I may love a color, wear it, but something doesn’t feel right. It may not be the best color for my complexion, leaving me looking washed out, sickly or overpowered. I have worn true red and received compliments. Maybe they love the color red..? It got a reaction and that feedback can be a refreshing way to gain some insight on what suits me. I take it in and let it ruminate. Who doesn’t love a compliment now and then?
3.) Time To Rebel
Chuck it all. Forget it all. Or anything they said. Sometimes I wear what I’m in the mood for right then. No rhyme or reason. No one else needs to approve. Dressing should be fun and expressive and if I want to abandon all of the ‘shoulds’, then I go for it. Every once in a while, it feels great to rebel in a harmless way and wear something that is shocking or daring. No harm no foul. Even this step help define my style, what colors feel right and what fits into my life.

Would you pay a color consultant to give you their opinion?