Now that we have our favorite colors selected and named from the last post, Organizing Your Palette, it's time to think about how those colors will represent themselves in our clothing through the fabrics we choose to sew with. I think selecting fabric can be one of the most fun and rewarding part of sewing, but it can also be very challenging.
From years of teaching, I found a certain pattern to happen over and over again with my students: they would learn to sew, and for the first few garments they would select the wackiest prints they could find on the shelves. After a handful of those, they'd slowly shift into more everyday wearable prints and solids that more closely resembled their existing closets. After this would happen, I would hear from them that they realized that though it was fun to pick and sew wacky prints, they found that they didn't wear them very often, and that picking something more subtle, or a solid, would actually get a significant more amount of wear on a day-to-day basis.
This happened student after student. And I get it. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the offerings at the fabric store. And the same thing still happens to me, after sewing for decades, I too can get lost in all the shiny options, when what I really like to wear is navy. Throughout this Wardrobe Architect series, I have done some fabric shopping, and I have found that it's been a relief to have an idea in my head of what I know I like. It helps keep me focused. So I'd say it's doing its job!
So let's talk about prints. My favorite prints can be broken down into a series of categories: Graphic Prints, Nature Prints, Painterly Prints, Novelty Prints, and Minimalist Prints. For my solids, I always prefer one with some texture. Below are some favorites in each category to get you thinking about what you like too.
Graphic prints are some of my favorites to wear. They don't have to be bold, but they have clean edges and an orderly layout. The motif can be anything, but often a good graphic print is a simple shape.
Painterly prints are so nice because they take other prints and loosen them around the edges. A phrase that was tossed around art school a lot was "the hand of the artist". With painterly prints, the designs have that human touch, which lends themselves to a less orderly design.
I think we all fall for novelty prints, whether we like to admit it or not. I have a very hard time wearing novelty prints outside of pajamas and quilts, and therefore I rarely buy them. But if you're not careful, you can have quite a few in your stash! If you sew often for kids, this is a lovely style of print to use.
Elements of nature have been the backbone of print design since time began, and they're still as popular as ever. Whether your preference is for a large-scale print or a small delicate print, there's a floral out there for you.
By far my favorite kind of print, a minimal print is something subtle. The print might be small, or the print might be a tone on tone print, making the motif blend into the background. Whatever it is, I'll probably like it.
I also love a good solid, but I do much prefer a solid with a little texture to it. Chambray, textured linen, or a fabric with a slub or dobby dot are my favorites to work with and I could easily use just these kinds of fabrics for the rest of my life!
What are some of your favorite prints and solids to work with? Share in the comments below! Have you found this process to help you when you're faced with the options in the fabric store? I absolutely have! And it's helped me clear out a TON of my stash!
Next post we will discuss hair, makeup, and beauty!
The Wardrobe Architect Series:
2016 Wardrobe Architect Project
Wardrobe Architect Week One: Making Style More Personal
Wardrobe Architect Week Two: Defining a Core Style
Wardrobe Architect Week Three: Exploring Shapes
Wardrobe Architect Week Four: Proportions and Silhouettes
Wardrobe Architect Week Five: Your Color Story
Wardrobe Architect Week Six: Organizing Your Palette
Wardrobe Architect Week Seven: Exploring Solids & Prints
Wardrobe Architect Week Eight: Hair, Makeup, & Beauty
Wardrobe Architect Week Nine: The Capsule Wardrobe
Wardrobe Architect Week Ten: The Capsule Palette
Wardrobe Architect Week Eleven: Planning Your Pieces
Wardrobe Architect Week Twelve: Adding Accessories
Wardrobe Architect Week Thirteen: Overcoming Editing Hurdles