musings on colour

Tuesday 15 May 2012
Quite a while ago someone sent me a lengthy email telling me that they loved my blog and the clothes I've sewn but the colours I use are all wrong for my complexion and hair/skin colouring.  Apparently greys and black are all wrong for me, and I should be wearing warm colours instead, such as browns, creams or berry colours.  The person who sent the email did leave her name (which I've since forgotten unfortunately), but the email landed in my junk folder.  While I was considering whether to be offended to receive unrequested criticism, or to be flattered that someone would take the time to send me a thoughtful, detailed email of constructive criticism, the automatic clear out of my junk folder occurred and the email was deleted before I could respond.

For the record, I decided to be flattered and accepted the email as helpful advice, so to the lovely lady who took the time to email me - thank you! I think you're totally right about grey and maybe right about black, and while I can't bring myself to completely stop sewing with those colours I have made a concerted effort to introduce more colour into my stash.

I went out shopping to find some boyish knit fabrics to make some clothes for Toby but instead picked up some fabrics for myself instead.  Totally unnecessary given the size of my stash but bought for the best reasons - they were on sale and they're pretty! First up I bought a few metres of lightweight cotton voile with a multi coloured diagonal stripe that I will make into a summer dress in a few months, possibly playing around with the direction of the stripes to create a chevron pattern (that will probably cause me a headache and a few tears creating!):

With a wrap dress in mind to make a breastfeeding friendly dress I bought this polyester knit that is a deep emerald green with a floral pattern in a navy blue.  Sounds terrible doesn't it? I promise it looks better in real life than I captured in this photo:

And lastly I picked up this vibrant rayon print that has a teensy bit of dark grey, but also a bright fuchsia colour on white background.  This will eventually become a dress, but no plans as yet (ie true stash material...).

I didn't manage to find any fabrics for Toby though - all I could see were fabrics with stripes, camouflage print or skull and cross bones which weren't really what I was after.  Thank the internets for on line shopping though - had some really cute fabrics on sale, plus I picked up another Ottobre kids magazine so I can't wait to start sewing some awesome little boy clothes.

Speaking of the little wombat, he is so strong that already at only 5 weeks he can hold his head up unsupported!  I can see a little Bam Bam Flinstone in my future.....


  1. it's very good of you to accept this comment, I'm not sure that would have been my reaction. Did she say green should be your colour :) ?

  2. I must admit, the dresses I've liked the best have been the more colourful. Without thinking about it that assessment must hold a little weight, but I think the greys look fine, but the colours look fantastic.
    The rayon print looks really nice, is it a fairly small print?

  3. The blog world and it's etiquette is a unique experience, isn't it. I admire both of you in this for being openhearted to the feedback and the sender for having the courage to share in her effort to encourage you. And I love those fabric, particularly the green since it's my favorite color.

  4. Your little Toby is adorable!

    I've often thought that you were wearing muted colors when clear bright ones would suit your coloring better but was afraid to write this and offend you. I, too, applaud you for being open minded on this somewhat touchy subject. I have similar coloring to yours and used to wear muted colors until 10 years ago when I began experimenting with clear colors/fabrics and was amazed at all the compliments I received when wearing these "new" colors. No one can give up neutrals but I have totally changed to using fabrics in this bright coloring especially garments near my face. If you decide to try experimenting just think of all the new fabric you can add to your stash - he, he.

  5. Toby is indeed adorable! I have a soft spot for his nickname - that is what my husband nicknamed me many, many years ago. LOL!!

    I am not great with colors, although I do think you look very nice in the berry colors. I once had someone leave me unsolicited advice at work. Not about colors or clothes, but apparently I needed to learn that someone suffering from significant acne shouldn't use oil-based makeup. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the time - although crying won out at the time. And no, I was NOT using oil-based makeup! LOL! In fact, I ended up on Accutane to fix the problem, but that is a whole different story. Good for you in realizing that the advice was almost certainly meant to be nothing but helpful! You are so sweet, I can't imagine anyone having anything but the best of intentions.

  6. Funny how we always go for a few colours in the fabric we choose, and how hard it can be to move away from those comfy colours! I commend you for your open mind on this topic - it's not always easy to take criticism, even (especially?) when it's constructive. That is one gorgeously chubby cheeked bubba - with a very strong neck! I look forward to seeing you wearing creations in these new hues :)

  7. That was a mature response to the commentator who was trying to be helpful and constructive. You have the same colouring as one of my daughters and she looks great in warm colours. You do wonderful work, your blog is positive and fun to read and your children are adorable.

  8. Cripes! Someone bothered to email you especially to tell you to wear different colours- that's very amusing. They could probably email me to tell me a few things to improve my aesthetic while they were on the job of being *helpful*

    Colour is one thing I am very very particular about - if I like it and enjoy wearing it, that's enough for me.

  9. I love what you wear. I think brighter colors would look too but I don't think you look bad in what you pick either.

    And I feel your pain on the knits and wovens for boys. It's so hard to find good stuff as a decent price. For some of the knit prices I've seen, I'd be better off just buying his clothes. I'm so frustrated by the lack of affordable options.

  10. Years ago a friend told me I should keep right away from black, grey and navy blue - to my face, too - as it did me no favours. Seeing as these were my preferred colours, I did take this a bit hard. Like your emailer, she added that I would look better in warm colours. It took me a while to admit it, but she was right.
    Toby is too cute - he reminds me of my son at his age. He was a hefty chap too, although you wouldn't guess it now. At 14, he is 180cm (6 foot) and weighs 56 kg (I think that's just about 120 lbs). The word "stringbean" leaps to mind.

  11. Toby is gorgeous. I think you should wear what you like and you think looks good on you but I would be flattered that someone took the time. I happen to think that fushia colour looks great on you. And I wish I'd seen that fushia and grey pattern!

  12. So, if I tell you you look really good pregnant you'll... ? Probably not.

  13. Colour is such a funny thing, your response to the email is very positive and your new fabircs are just gorgeous.

    Bam Bam, how that brings back memories, go Toby.

  14. I'd go with the advice, it was quite brave of the writer. Your little Bam Bam is so cute!

  15. I remember a lady telling me one day at work that I should wear purple and brown. Funnily enough she was wearing a purple top and brown skirt! Maybe these were just her favourite colours?
    I know you are probably after boys clothes patterns etc but for Mothers day I received the Girls Style Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori and it has lovely dresses and tops for girls aged 2 - 10. I haven't made anything yet (they are quite summery) but you may like it for Anna.

  16. Well, I appreciate that she emailed instead of posting a big old 'you look dead in that' comment. Thats kind of sweet, actually.

  17. Toby is adorable.
    I too was told my colours were wrong, by my own sister no less. She was "doing your colours" at the time. It explained why people always asked if I was ill when I was wearing black.
    Now I wear mostly colours appropriate for a "summer" and I actually feel better for it. Many more compliments on my looks. You can often still wear the other colours if you put something in "your" colours near your face. Plus I keep a small colour palette in my purse when shopping for fabric and it keeps me on track. I also find more of my separates can be used together.
    I love reading your blog.

  18. Toby is just divine, you have the most beautiful children.
    I thought the whole colours thing was a bunch of rubbish - I did it as a corporate bonding exercise at the law firm I worked at - and I was told I was a 'blue autumn' (???). I was horrified that I was supposed to swap my beautiful charcoal suits etc for BROWN?
    Anyway, 10 years later as a 40 yo, I just found the colours book with my colours in it, and bizarely they are colours that I now love - french navy, turquoise, apricot (believe it or not but its an awesome colour for a silk tank).
    You look beautiful in all the things you make, you have an amazing eye and if you should happen to include a few of those 'other' colours, maybe it will be in a beautiful dolce gabana silk from Tessutis. x

  19. I' had 'my colours done' last year in early pregnancy. Like most 'converts' I've become a purist when shopping for clothing. I'm a 'cool light' and carry the colour deck in my bag. Unfortunately most of my mummy stash is not right! Interested to know what you are - I always admire your colour choices.