I Don’t Do Red (and very little orange)

When I’m sewing for myself, it’s a toss-up whether the pattern or the fabric comes first. Some sewing patterns for women catch my eye immediately.

Shocking! This is more red fabric
than I’ve ever owned—ever! 
Add a touch of linen, and I’m good to go.

But—and I’m sue this is true for many of you as well—a lot of projects start with irresistible fabric. When I purchase yardage for “something” I try to find that “something” within a reasonable time frame—with “reasonable” being a fairly flexible term.

Among these fabrics, inspiring as they are, you will find no red fabric. None. I love red. I admire people who wear red. I have purchased red cookware for family members. I just don’t wear red well. And that’s putting it mildly. I look horrible in red. Maroon works. But red—true red—quite frankly makes me look like I’ve barely recovered from a bad case of the flu.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself with a collection of red cottons. (Why did I have these, you ask? They were mixed in with a bag of leftover quilting fabrics from the office.)

These red prints were truly glorious! The prints, the shading, the gold highlights—I loved it all. I knew a garment was out of the question, but I had to put them to use.

Looking through my “someday” collection, I found some lovely linen, vintage buttons, and plenty of tote patterns that will let me “do red” without soliciting get well cards from my nearest and dearest. Onward!

My love of these reds surprised me. I would never, ever have purchased them, but by working with them I’ll expand a few boundaries that I had drawn too firmly. A red blouse? Probably not. Bright red totes? I see them coming! It’s a whole new color world for me.

For other projects to inspire your love of sewing, check out the 2013 fall issue of Stitch magazine.

So, what color brings out the worst in you? How do you cope? Let us know!

Happy stitching,

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15 thoughts on “I Don’t Do Red (and very little orange)

  1. My worst colors are gray and light blue. I look like I am half dead when I wear those. My mother’s favorite color was blue, and when I was a kid, she bought a lot of blue for me – and teachers, etc., were always asking me if I was OK! I still don’t want to see those colors!
    Best for me? Yellows, oranges, browns and some greens. I can do a good teal blue – that is the closest I get. Yes, I am a redhead!!

  2. Rose, you’re probably a “Spring” and soft rose color and other pastels probably work better for you. I’m a “Winter” and red (a favorite color) and other sharp colors look good on me. I love teal and orange yet I hate aqua and coral or melon; won’t even decorate with them. Yes, I still use the “Color Me Beautiful” book and gave a presentation at one of my ASG sewing club’s meetings. Unfortunately, women do buy clothing because it’s on sale and/or make clothing because they like the color and don’t see how it really works on them. If only women would really look in the mirror (another e.g, Walmartians). – Leslee Gardinier

  3. I am exactly the same with red. Love it on others, on me . . . horrible. I can’t even do the maroon. All shades of pink are good, just not red. I am inspired with the idea of using red in making tote bags. I just may have to try that in the near future.

  4. Re your comment ‘I don’t do red (and very little orange!),
    my rule of thumb is, keep these colours away from your face!
    For example, avoid a red blouse BUT why not splash out on a pair of red shoes or crop trousers. And by all means make those lovely pieces into a quilt … that cream fabric makes the reds sing and I love the buttons!

  5. How to wear red: a little reddish check color and/or a touch of red tinted lip gloss. Some reds are more orangey, some more pinkish, choose makeup that coordinates. You’ll wear red just fine, and get complements as to how well you look! : )

  6. I know my colors and had my palette done professionally so I don’t mess around with wearing the “wrong” color or shade either unless its very minimal in a pattern that I really like. But since I love all colors, the way I incorporate colors I don’t wear are in flowers, floral arrangements and my garden.

  7. I don’t wear orange and yellow. In fact I avoided buying anything with orange in it for years. However, my family members all gravitate towards the warmer side of the color wheel so I have started to incorporate bits of yellow and orange into my quilts. Using these warmer colors has helped to invigorate my quilts and expand my creativity. You won’t find me wearing orange or yellow but you will find it in my fabric stash.

  8. Red is one of my favorite colors but I’m a Winter (CMB book is still great). For some reason my husband does not like me to wear red but after 52 years he is adjusting to the fact that I’ll wear it anyway and sometimes compliments me when I wear it.. Purple – pure purple – is what I cannot and won’t wear. I look jaundiced if I try. I’ve found that I can wear blue violet now that I have more gray in my hair. Usually it is just a matter of keeping the ‘bad’ color away from your face. I’ll bet you would look very sharp in a neutral color with some red accents – think red shoes, they always pep things up.

  9. Apparently, I don’t do yellow. Nothing in my collection is a solid yellow. That color is only in a print and then still very little. I cope with mustard and tan. Funny you bring that up because just the other day I happen to be looking for some yellow fabric. I’m thinking whether or not to buy a quarter yard of yellow. Then, what kind of yellow? Hmmm…

  10. Can’t do blue. At 70+ years I’m just starting to like the color.
    But give me green (for my hazel eyes) or any shade of red and I feel and look pretty good.
    I’ve also just “discovered” I can wear black.

  11. I can’t wear cream I look like death warmed up, am a’ Winter’ and love red but it has to be on the cool side of the colour pallette no orangey reds for me ,but having said that all the soft shades I can’t wear I love to use in decorating the house ,so it is the best of both worlds really.

  12. OMGosh… Bless your poor hear…it’s inconceivable to me – so hard to imagine. Red was surly created for QUILTERS… and especially for ME in particular. The Miata is RED, my old Singer 31-15 is PAINTED RED… the Bernina 830 CAME in a RED case… I can NEVER leave it behind (though these days it lives in the closet. Girl, LIFE is just way too short to live without any RED! I am so glad you may have seen the light, and pray you’ll continue to move towards it….go forth boldly and try WEARING some RED! 😉

  13. For me, it’s green, and certain shades of yellow. I also don’t do much orange at all. I just steer clear of these colors. I LOVE bold bright jewel tone colors, and I wear a lot of them. But when I am looking for fabric, it’s never green or yellow or orange. BLUE is my color of choice along with PURPLE. Anything else is accent. If I’m given a stash of fabric (I was gifted with my aunt’s wonderful collection of fabrics when she downsized from a ranch in Texas to a condo), I give away what I don’t want. Thankfully in my aunt’s stash there were lots of blues and some red. I like red, but usually use it as accent rather than a whole outfit main color. But I’ll do head to toe in blue or purple, although I blend so it’s not so matchy matchy.

    My motto is stick with what you love. You will always like it.

  14. Pure white and/or pastel shades of cool colors. They make me look awful. Medium tones of the warmer colors work for me. By the way, there are WARM shades of blue, warm shades of green, and cool shades of red and yellow. Sometimes this is what makes the difference as to whether you can wear certain colors or not. There is even a HOT black! This is black with a cool red mixed into it.