Which Fabric Should Kathy Sew First?

When she read the blog post about Yvonne’s adventures weeding out her garments, accessories and stash of fabrics yardage, Kathy wanted to do the same. After a color  consultation at the SewEXPO event  last week, we evaluated samples of some of her fabrics based on those color recommendations, her tall and somewhat athletic build and her relaxed lifestyle. Here’s a sampling of those decisions …

Kathy, was wearing a great jacket that she had sewn.  She’d been getting compliments on it all day, and you can see why.  The fabric and style are a great match-up and the print is just the right scale for her.  However she realized that the background color is bright-white enough to somewhat over-balance her own coloring — causing people to notice the jacket rather than really noticing Kathy herself.  Not quite up to the “Optimal” level she is going for.

Her Color Fan isn’t back from production yet, but you can see our choices laid out in the photo below – softly rich and a balance on the warm-to-cool continuum.

Her fabric collection includes these pieces – all echoing her hair color, both the overall tone and its variegation. And the dusty aqua blues are the compliment to her skin color – taking all of these to the top of the “Sew Me Next” list.

This group didn’t make the cut.

  • The two black/white geometrics are too high-contrast.  But we talked about over-dyeing them to turn the white to one of her flattering colors.
  • The two bright yellow ones are just too warm and too bright to showcase Kathy.  Not much option to rescue these.
  • The two small foulards are just too ditsy for Kathy’s stature, although they might work as contrast trim on projects in a compatible, bolder-scale prints.
  • The aqua with the matchstick triangles would be great if it didn’t have the bold yellow areas throughout.  We talked about adding some applique or embroidery stitching to thse areas to tone down their impact and allow the other more flattering colors to dominate.

The blues in both of these prints are significantly cooler and brighter than Kathy’s coloring, but both could be over-dyed with camel to soften the white areas and move the blues toward a warmer teal tone.

The splotchy print above has enough of Kathy’s good neutral colors to soften the black, and it has a strong tonal relationship with the stripe.  The occasional pumpkin orange band pulls the stripe in an overly-warm direction (you’ll see one near the end of the strip pictured) but we realized she could fold a tuck and sew that color right out of sight, then use bands of the fabric to outline a garment in the splotches for a cool print mix.

Two of her fabrics needed more specific game plans.:

Dark sage green is a key neutral for Kathy – repeating her eye color – and soft plum is a great accent color for it, so this stripe was a keeper for sure.  Couldn’t believe we found a scarf  that blended perfectly with the color combo and even had a print details that mimics the fabric texture.  This will probably be a casual jacket to wear with a solid sage green pant and pale sage or plum tee.

She loves this cream-embroidered tan linen for a casual skirt – just right for her  lifestyle.  But a contrast solid top didn’t feel quite right and a print certainly wouldn’t work.  Accessories to the rescue!  We paired the  linen with a camel rayon jersey for the top and a beautiful statement necklace to crate a focal point and keep the outfit from beige-ing out.  (That’s a word, right?). Sandals in a matte gold-tone and a straw bag add even more textural interest to this monochromatic combo.  Hope she’ll send us pictures of the finished product.  I’m envisioning a blooming cactus in the background and a margarita in her hand, right?

How have YOU been prioritzing your fabrics for future sewing adventures?  We’d love to hear about it …





About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Susie Reardon on March 10, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    very interesting to see her colors……the good and the not so good

    • Nancy Nix Rice on March 10, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      That’s exactly what I see in virtually every closet consultation. We so readily get drawn to something because it is pretty or it’s on a manequin or it’s the hot new trend, with little understanding of what actually flatters us or builds a consistent wardrobe. Showing people that stuff can be such a lightbulb moment!

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