Perfecting the Art of Print Mixing

Mixed prints – within an outfit or within a single garment – are showing up a lot a we start to thing about Spring wardrobes.  But how can you adopt the trend without looking like a clown?  Here are some tips …

Get some great inspiration online.  I find a great source for ready-to-wear examples. pushes the envelope with their “everything goes with everything” approach, making it a good exercise in figuring out where you draw the line.  And if you sew – go RIGHT NOW to the Mixing Prints Contest on so see how nearly 90 of your fellow sewists rose to that challenge.

Need some guidelines for your own combinations?  Look for both connection and contrast within your pairings:

From Soft Surroundings, the Paramour top connects the color and the plaid pattern while contrasting the scale.  In the Hermosa, the more subtly patterned (contrast) parts of the garment connect to the colors from the main print.

From a past-season Cabi collection, the plaid jacket contrasts with the curved shapes of the print while connecting to its colors.

I sewed this dress (Leisl&Co – Belgravia) using specific strips cut from a crosswise stripe fabric to trim the main floral print, connecting the colors (and emphasizing the cool element) while contrasting the shapes and scale.

This jean jacket (StyleArc – Stacie) is actually only two fabrics, but the woven pattern shows up quite differently on the front and back sides to give the look of four.  All the patterns connect the black/silver color scheme while contrasting the floral and geometric motifs.

Now head over to Pattern Review for lots more print mix inspiration.


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. Trish on February 6, 2023 at 10:41 am

    Happy New Year, Nancy!
    So happy you’re back! Thanks for the pattern mix tutorials. Borderline petite girls often shy away, but you’ve proven we should give it a try.

    Thanks for the inspiration,

  2. Lindsay on February 9, 2023 at 6:34 pm

    The Belgravia dress is my favorite silhouette on you so far, and the color is perfect for you. Thank you for your blog; I always love your posts.

  3. Judie on February 10, 2023 at 11:08 am

    I love reading your wonderful emails, and I have missed you!

  4. Ann Gosch on February 10, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    Fun post, Nancy! I’ve really gotten into pattern mixing in the last year or two, remembering that some of the most fun sewing I ever did was when I worked for Liberty of London in the early ’80s and we did a lot of print mixing. I’ve found good inspiration on Anthropologie, particularly with its Maeve brand. Last year I made a “collage” button-up, and I now I have another collection of prints to make another one this spring.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 11, 2023 at 7:31 am

      Mixing Liberty prunts fall just this side of Heaven on Earth – lucky you! Would love to see pics of your reent collage shirt and the collection yoy’ve accumulated for the upcoming one.

  5. Lauren Tyson on April 15, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks, Nancy. Love that you are recommending some sources for clothes. I ordered the Hermosa top from Soft Surroundings. Since I’m an hourglass, I might belt it with a soft belt or something for maybe a front tuck to define my waist.
    Also, I just referred you to someone (my brother’s girlfriend in Wisconsin). I hope she gives you a call.

  6. Carol D. on August 8, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Love the idea of mixing patterns in clothing. So much more interesting. I, too, take suggestions from Soft Surroundings and also North Style. Love your ideas.

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