Easy Tips for Experimenting with Color

Breaking Out of a Color Rut

I can't wait for summer!

I'm like a student with "senioritis" who is anxiously awaiting summer afternoons by the pool, sleeping with the windows open, and summer road trips with friends. I'm also looking forward to summer sewing. I have officially put away my wools and have pulled out my linens, cottons, lightweight jerseys, and silk chiffons. I have a long list of summer sewing projects in the cue from summer skirts to party dresses plus a few summer tops that I can whip up in no time.

Dare to Be Different Quilt by Karrie Winters, from Stitch's Summer 2011 issue.


Now it's no secret to my friends that I love color, and I wear bold colors all year-round. But summertime is when my passion for colorful fabric really comes out full force. From bold graphic prints to saturated solids, summer is the time to experiment with color in a big way. 

So it's no surprise that our summer issue of Stitch is The Color Issue. I wanted to explore all the ways you can play with color in your sewing, from print mixing and color blocking to monochromatic looks and exploring the beauty of neutrals. It's so easy to get in a color rut. We all have colors we instinctually gravitate toward-for me its teal and orange. And I love big prints, especially ones with a 60's or 70's vibe. But I'm going to push myself out of my color comfort zone this summer! Want to join me? 

Here are few things we can all do to get out of our color rut:

– Sew with colors that are completely opposite of your color comfort zone: For example, I naturally gravitate toward bright colors and prints. This summer, I'm going to explore sewing with rich neutrals and solid colors to take my projects in a totally different direction.

– Combine contrasting colors for a bold look: Sometimes opposites really do attract! This is a great way to think more graphically, from adding a bold contrasting trim to using big blocks of contrasting colors to great effect.

– Explore one color or different shades of the same color: This is an interesting way to play with subtle color variations using prints or solids in varying shades of the same color. 

Mixed-media fiber artist Alisa Burke wrote an inspiring essay in this issue featuring great tips for experimenting with color. Here are a couple of her tips that will help you creatively pick fabrics for your summer projects and beyond. 

Spa Wrap Robe by Carol Zentgraf from Stitch's Summer 2011 issue. 


– Keep a color journal: Document color observations, make note of colors you like and combos that catch your eye, and explain how they make you feel. Collect photos, paint swatches, fabrics, and papers that inspire you. Use this journal as a reference when you select colors for creative projects. 

– Experiment: Before you dive into a project, experiment with a variety of different colors and color combos to see what looks and feels right. Go wild, be expressive, use your instincts, and take risks. Use the successful results in your projects and scrap the stuff that doesn't work. 

– Love color: Most importantly, love the colors that you work with. Don't feel pressure to use colors that are trendy or edgy. Instead, use colors that bring you joy, inspire your work, and express who you are. 

These are all great ideas that we can put into motion with our summer sewing project list. Finding ways to be more creative with your sewing is what makes it totally fun. Enjoy your summer! 

Happy sewing,

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