Wardrobe colouring

monks sampling08

Today’s post is related to the previous one. As before I still struggle with my taste for colour, and every time I think I’ve developed a colourscheme of just 3-4 shades, I keep finding a few extras that would also go well. Some of them overlap into the next group, others are completely different. From buddhist monks’ robes to pale greens and blues, from intricate patterns to solids. My brain overloads completely with colours from nature all the time, any season. I could make swatches and sketches as a full time job and never get beyond that.

So what do you prefer, I’m curious to know: Separate seasonal clothing that all match within their group, or even the same group all year, changing out everything often to benefit from new colour inspiration or do you fall into the trap of buying that one pretty thing and then you have 10 wildly different shirts but no pants or sweaters that match? Crazy shirts, with jeans or all black pants? Do you get yourself a new summer wardrobe every year in the colours chosen by the manufacturers? (yes, I know many of you don’t, that I’ve gotten to know from this blog, but I’d like your thoughts anyway) Or do you just stick to basic neutrals because you REALLY can’t be bothered, and just dress to be decent.

seasand19I may have a hygeine problem, but I don’t have top to bottom outfits of pants, shirt, vest for instance, which all get changed and washed after a day and which are always together as a set. In winter I wear many layers, in summer I’m lucky if I have 2 pairs of shorts and some trousers that all fit. I change the sweaty bits every day but not necessarily the rest, and definitely not jeans unless I spill something. I’ve never been in the habit of buying clothes say, every month, and it’s not something I want in my budget, schedule, or my mind, not to speak of the environment. I wear my cars, my furniture and my clothes out.

I’m asking because when you look at photos of something nice, it’s always the complete outfit that pleases the eye (of course good photography and careful background helps to make all the colours go together). But if I separate the items in my mind, none of it goes with anything. So I end up with black, white, blue, green when faced with a t-shirt sale for instance. Well, also because I mostly don’t like the other options available. So back to making my own colour choices. (although, green isn’t just green, is it, there are so many you could work with just those for a while)

peonygardenThe concern for making your own clothes is: Do you just follow single strands of inspiration or is it more sensible to plan for a “collection”? Doesn’t have to be less fun, just time consuming. How the hey do you make a useful plan for your weaving!?

Basically what I need is my own personal sweatshop  to get through every idea in a reasonable amount of time. So instead of repeatedly going back to the thought of creating a massive pile of fabrics to sew from, I wonder why I just don’t work my way through the swatches by painting them? I have no idea! Perhaps it’s my version of a compulsory disorder… Brains are strange creatures, but it seems to make me happy when I’m in the flow of things, and I often wish at night I didn’t have to spend 8 hours on my back in the dark.

There’s my panel idea of course. Weave just samples, get the use of all the colours in one shirt. But I don’t think I’m ready to be dressed in patchwork all the time either! I just have this fantasy of all my items fitting together equally well no matter which two or three I pull out of the laundry pile with my eyes closed. As well as showing some variation, because it’s certainly easy enough to arrange 10 identical “suits” and never ponder the issue again.


Right now I’m overthinking it instead – perhaps because I’ve been really tired this week, in a sleepy sort of way. It’s still very late getting light, so I’ve snoozed sometimes until 8! And I haven’t even exercised since Saturday, so I can’t blame that (I think I was trying to haha). So which colour combo should I pick first? Have I really picked the right weaving drafts? How wide and long should each fabric be? Should I make a short, tiny tabby to test all the colours first?

But I’m glad to at least be doing something, little steps every day.

22 thoughts on “Wardrobe colouring

  1. For me…colors and design don’t change much. Blues, greens, browns. I love stripes! I am probably the worst person to consult about fashion ( if anyone thought to). I kinda see clothes as ‘covering’ most days….practicality, comfort, durability. Natural fiber a must …wool, linen, and light canvas work pants. I love aprons…not too long, heavier, smock type, which can help to keep some tidiness to the clothes underneath. Here in Maine right now it’s all about layers.

    1. So don’t you ever get tempted when looking at or dyeing yarn, to try a bit of burnt orange, a deep dark purple for instance?

      Maybe I’ll end up at just hinting at all those colours as cuffs or other details on mainly neutral fabrics.

      I have a series of striped fabrics in my head too btw! I’m thinking of weaving them as long scarves – to sell, give or cut up for embellishments whichever happens first. To get some of those ideas out of my skull.

      1. Yes, I do like a bit of other color but mostly as accent….around the cuff or the collar. Oh, and I forgot…vests are on the top, top of the list as well. Love vests!

        1. Vests are nice because they add warmth without the bother of bulky sleeves which get in the way or don’t fit under
          your coat!

  2. Tøj? Jeg går i prioriteret rækkefølge i tøj der er lavet af 1. naturmaterialer, hør, bomuld, alpakka, 2. er behageligt at have på (dette inkludrere mange lommer) 3. er helt og 4. rent. Det bliver vasket, når det er beskidt, hvilket bestemt ikke er hver dag, slet ikke de uldne trøjer om vinteren. Farverne … well … så længe det ikke er pink eller orange, er de velkomne. Jeg har en svaghed for blåt, men kan vist finde tøj i alle regnbuens farver i mit klædeskab. Lige nu har jeg på: Undertøj (underbukser fra sloggi uden blonder!, en flaskegrøn undertrøje), sorte cowboybukser, herremodel (jeg køber 2 nye, når de bliver slidt op, et blåt og et sort), en himmelblå langærmet bomuldsstræktrøje, en gråmeleret tynd bomuldssweater også langærmet; og yderst en sweater af uld. Den er købt på genbrug og var helt hvid, men nu er der diverse planteprint og plantefarvningsforsøg på den. Lige nu har jeg også sort, hvid, blå og lillastribede strømper (bomulds-) og sorte jacoformsko med gul og brunmønstrede snørebånd. Dem plejer jeg at tage af, når jeg kommer hjem, men har ikke nået det endnu. Jeg HADER! at købe nyt tøj, så det bliver brugt i mange år. Mine ældste langærmede t-shirts er fra Dalle-Valle, og min ældste, der nu er midt i tyverne, lå i en lift imedens jeg købte dem.
    Når jeg skal være fin, drømmer jeg mig tit til Sydtyskland, eller Østrig, hvor man har sin dirndl og ikke skal tænke mere på det.
    Mine håndarbejdsprojekter ender meget sjældent som tøj til mig selv, men jeg drømmer om at væve eller strikke alpakkasweatre, da de er rivedyre og ikke til at finde. Vanter, huer, strømper til mig selv og familien til at have på. og tæpper gymnastik- og mulitposer og puder er også på programmet.
    Det blev vist en længere svada. Konklusionen er: Lav det, du synes er sjovt, for ens tøjsmag går i bølger, så hvis du planlagde nogle outfit, ville du måske alligevel slet ikke kunne ta’ dem, når de engang var færdige. Det er i hvert fald sådan, jeg har det.

    1. Min tøjsmag er egentlig rimelig konstant, og jeg går i ca. det samme som dig, blot må jeg bruge damemodeller i jeans. Og så har jeg opdaget merinoundertrøjer! Tænk, jeg kan blive gennemblødt af sved og stinkende på min sloggi bh og bomuldst-shirt, men undertrøjen mellem de to er knastør og lugter af ingenting.

      Mit problem er nærmere at jeg knap nok kan nå at lave tøj og stadig PASSE det, ej heller købe udsalgstøj udenfor sæson – jeg har de sidste tre år nærmest skullet tage det på omgående for at nå at bruge det, og slidt op bliver det i hvert fald ikke.

  3. After pondering this for a while and re-reading my similar post from 3 years ago, I think I’ve figured out what’s bothering me this time: I’m incapable of planning my sewing project before I weave. So I feel I need 3 meters of every fabric idea so that I can visually compare and blend them, rather than just make a sketch of a finished outfit first.

  4. I don’t weave cloth for my clothes and I guess most of my wardrobe is what people might call subdued or unkindly dull. Before my hair went grey I used to wear mostly browns and blues. Now I wear mostly grey and blues. I find most colours go with grey so I add blacks, pinks and purples for a change.
    Since I started dyeing with leaves etc I have a few greens and browns creeping in but am hoping to work out how to make different colours.
    I mostly wear skirts and t shirts, jumpers in the winter, I don’t wash my skirts that often as there really is no need to, why waste water and washing powder.

    1. I know I’ve chosen the most difficult items to weave, but I can’t think of anything else that I’d use and nobody I know is really interested in things I make. Difference in taste and/or indifference to handmade.

      I just feel silly weaving samples only, although it would be a lot cheaper using just small amounts!

  5. My clothing is fairly boring, but it works for me. I wear a lot of black, with the occasional white or blue (usually shirts.) In the winter I add color with the scarves I wear. I don’t have any trouble using LOTS of color in my art.

    1. It’s funny how many of us who work with colours in fiber and paint are dressing in plain colours! I may be deluded that I’ll ever feel comfortable in anything bold…

  6. Right now I am in the process of changing my look from conservative (I am a retired attorney) to ‘artist’. But still following the same principles. I usually wear dark neutrals below the waist and whatever appeals to me above the waist. Conservative never meant dull colors to me. Everything doesn’t have to go together to have a working wardrobe as long as you can put the pieces with neutrals. If you prefer the wilder clothing on the bottom then go for neutrals on top. This is a great way to showcase your handwoven – when you wear a neutral with a handwoven piece it is the handwoven piece that stands out. To paraphrase Randall Darwell why use 5 colors when 500 will work? Don’t limit yourself.

    I really don’t believe there are any ugly colors – just ones that don’t work for me or are out of style at the moment.
    Have Fun!

    1. Love the quote! I prefer dark neutrals below the waist too, at least for trousers – I may feel differently if I branch into skirts more. But for a while I’ve only had dark navy jeans and black leggings, so I’d like to perhaps make some in greys, khaki or perhaps chocolate. (I have small feet and occasionally fall for a crazy bundle in the childrens’ sock department to outweigh the boring trousers…)

  7. lol I do have a summer wardrobe and a winter wardrobe. I generally wear black, gray or navy skirt in winter, with black or navy tights, and let my shirts, sweaters and shawls do the color thing for me, and the shawls, especially could be any color. Today’s is pink and orange. Shirt is pink. Then, if the weather is chilly, I add a pair of pretty hand knit socks to the outfit. Todays’ are pink with some coral and orange. Summer I wear more colors, fewer layers. I am more likely to make a summer skirt, because I love ALL THE FABRIC at the local store, which is mostly cotton, and skirts are easy to whip up. I do NOT shop each month or season, but build the wardrobe with basics and knitting.

  8. I live in a few color schemes: black, taupe & cream; various shades of turquoise, navy, royal blue, green; occasional blush/pink. this year I’ve added wine. also love olive. all these tones intermix in lighter or darker hues depending on the season. adding a few new pieces is easy with this set of tones and hues in play.

  9. I make most of my clothes at this stage. I do tend to have neutral bottoms and a mix of tops so that some of them are work suitable and some are a bit more colourful. There isn’t much of a plan! I do mix and match things but also have some outfits that always go together and otherwise don’t get worn. I can see the wisdom of planning but my wardrobe turns over very, very slowly, and I need to be motivated to sew entire garments. My daughter once said to me that I only bought new clothes once every ten years (and since then i decided to try not to buy new clothes at all…). I ignore fashion to a considerable degree.

    1. I wish I could have such slow turnover still, but that requires getting my weight under control so I don’t have to make ever bigger garments. Being short there aren’t a lot of nice big girl clothes unless you also want to spend a fortune!

      I don’t actually enjoy sewing. The solution may be to just weave all the fabrics I find exciting and then keep them in storage as my personal mini shop to pull out one that I like and make a shirt from when I need one – rather than plan a complete wardrobe makeover in one go.

      1. Based on how I knit, I suspect that is how I would approach weaving! And sorry for your struggles with weight. There are a lot of us in that club. I wish it could be easier for everyone.

        1. If it could at least stand still so I have something to plan for! It’s very disheartening to finish a sweater only to feel like it’s become a sausage skin since the day you cast on “enough” stitches!

Add a comment: