Sewing A Collection, Part 2:

The swatch stage.


The first thing I realized when I dove into the world of capsule wardrobes was that unless I started wearing beige, not many of the popular examples would work. I do love color, brights and neutrals, equally, in their place. I understand the theory that having a 100% neutral wardrobe would optimize the combinations and allow a smaller wardrobe to go further. I just couldn’t make it stick personally. How long would I last in a fabric store, confined to beige…

That said, having a basic palette is pretty much the only way to effectively start a collection. It doesn’t have to be basic as in black and white, I don’t really even consider washes of denims or chambray to count here. I’m talking more about colors that you love. If you love color, there will be some combination/palette that can start things off. You don’t have to throw out all the other colors! This is just the starting point. The number of colors is completely up to you. If a limited palette feels stifling, maybe consider this idea: less colors will equal more options. Not less color overall, just a lower number of colors.

Here are my thoughts when I was putting together my palette (in no particular order):

1.For my outfits, I usually like a 3-color structure. Top, bottom, and layer (jacket, vest, sweater, etc.) but rarely more than 3 colors. So each color I chose pairs wonderfully with a minimum 2 other colors in the palette. (I did not allow myself to choose any colors that wanted to be lone-rangers. That would feel too limiting.)

My Basic palette

A small sample of “my ” colors

2.I have recently considered my personal color analysis (there is more info in my Highlights on IG) and determined that I like cool tones and medium- to- low chroma. These colors make me [feel like I] look alive, and I try to keep them near my face. Haha.

Olive is olive.
(Images from Pantone.com)

3. My fabric stash is largely given to me by people who were clearing out their stash. I was able to make a decent start by pulling fabrics from my stash, cutting swatches, and comparing different combinations. Pulling colors from a printed fabric you love works really well too. Note: different depths of a certain color are considered ONE color in my palette. For example, light and dark olive green will both be treated as “olive”. My capsule, my rules ;D

4. If I wasn’t sure about a color combination (ahem, navy and black) I googled it! I searched for “navy and black outfit ideas” and was quickly convinced that its a beautiful friendship.

5. Don’t forget to also look at the clothes you already love. That perfect red sweater can be enough to give red a spot on the team! But also think about whether or not you need to bother taking up a spot with a color. For example, I didn’t bother adding a mid-tone chambray color, despite that being the color of my favorite shirt, boyfriend jeans, and jacket. I haven’t met a color that doesn’t look perfect next to them, so I’m going to assume ” denim blue”. Its completely up to you whether or not you want to do it that way. I needed to focus a bit more on what I was going to be sewing for this collection.

Spektra app used to make a palette from a photo.

6. This palette is not the end. I will be expanding as I build on the collection! The next set of colors (I’ve got 2 colors in mind) will also pair with 2 colors each from this palette. If that sounds confusing, it will make more sense as we go.

Now that you have some colors and fabrics in mind, what on earth will you make? That’s next!

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