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Color Opinions Sought

lin_hendrix | Posted in The Archives on

Hello All!

What colors do you want to see in your fabric store? Do you miss certain colors or always want a certain shade of blue but can’t find it? Does it drive you nuts when you can’t find black, or red, or purple? Brights too bright? Let me know.

I’m doing research on what home sewers want to see in their fabric selection for fashion sewing (not home dec) with regards to color. I may actually use this information in a web store I’m planning on opening.



  1. silkscape_ | | #1

    There is way too much royal blue out there!

    1. Sue_W. | | #2

      *Lin, what an interesting question! Aren't the available colours pretty much determined three-five years in advance by the "colour police", i.e., the international colour forecasting companies? It's my understanding that there's an industry-wide group (fashion, decorating, cars, etc.) that more or less gets together annually and decides what the "in" colours are going to be for the next year [working several years/seasons in advance, of course]. When I worked in the fashion industry in the late sixties/early seventies, there was a French company called PromoStyl that forecast fashions and colours for the fashion industry. I think there are several such companies that decide what will be the "in" colours for each season and this determines what is available to the consumer. This is why, when you buy fabric, if you don't also buy your thread, zipper and buttons at the same time, you're out of luck if it "ages" nicely in your stash for three or four years before you use it. If it's been a few years, the colour palettes have changed and an exact notions match may be impossible. There are hundreds of thousands of colours possible. Only a small fraction can be produced at one time. I was very fortunate to meet Marion Mealey, a colour expert from California who virtually invented the whole seasonal colour theory process in the early 'sixties. She is in her seventies now, and doesn't travel much, but her palettes (which I can email you if you like) are the most logical and consistent that I've ever seen.What I would most like to see in fabrics is groupings of colours in various weights and textures that coordinate. For example, dusty plum in a knit, stretch woven, wool gab, rayon microfiber. Maybe the same story in a mossy green or copper, and of course, navy or black. I think the idea of monochromatic dressing in various weights, textures and fibres is very 21st century. JMHO, HTH.Sue Whelan

      1. lin_hendrix | | #3

        *Hi Sue, You're right. The fashion color police do determine what colors we'll see a few years in advance. Gray is super popular this year and brown was wonderful last year even though you still want to sew brown.however, many of the small yarn manufacturers have their own interpretation of the color forcast often including less current shades from past seasons.It is my hope to ferret out shades to please the home sewer. I'm exploring knits of various weights and fiber content (not poly/cotton).I'm with you on the monochromatic or nearly so type of dressing. Once you get the basic uniform down it's very easy to get dressed in the morning.I'd love it if you'd email the color palettes. I too had my "colors done" years ago (by Naomi Tickle who I believe may have learned from Marion?). thanks,--lin

        1. Ginna | | #4

          *lin - First of all, I enjoy reading your posts. I know when your name is on one it will be intelligent and informative.I am trying to incorporate the capsule concept of clothing for those that I make. I think my basic colors will be dark blue (not the navy that is almost black), a medium to light grey, and a beige/tan color. My problem is finding a print fabric that I like and that is suitable for a shirt/blouse and skirt that includes those colors or at least the dark blue and grey. (The beige/tan could be in another capsule.) I want to use breathable fibers like linens, silks, cottons, and rayons, and most of the print fabrics I have been drawn to are polyester or cost too much.HTH. Ginna

          1. Julia_Fletcher | | #5

            *Lin - I think this is a great way to ensure that you supply what the customers demand. I also like the idea of monochromatic dressing, if only the colours were available!I had my colours done with Color Me Beautiful in the UK and turned out to be Light Spring (spring with a hint of summer). This means that, for 6-9 months of the year, I can find very little in either RTW or fabrics. Those dark colours (black, dark navy, dark grey, dark burgundy, dark green....) all make me look ill and it's only around May that I can begin to find things. Nor do I want to wear bright colours all the time (Lands' End-style). So how about some more muted shades of the bright colours for those of us palefaces who need good colours to make us look healthy :)?Good luckJulia

          2. Ghillie_C | | #6

            *Lin - I am not sure if this is useful to you as I am a fabric junkie who has decided to wear clothes as an excuse for buying and playing with fabrics however here goes:I will only spend my time working with quality fabrics and it upsets me when I can only find them in colours I suspect everyone would find vile - bluey pinks, pinky oranges, dreadfully acid greens or dirty looking mauves for example. For some reason cashmeres seem to be particularly affected by this. I also hate silks printed with bright but crude motives which would just about pass muster on a cheap cotton. You usually find those on the sale table. Like Julia I am a pale English type who does not see that much sun, so I have to steer clear of very dark colours and those fashionable vague fawny, greyish tones which too nearly match my skin. I like deep soft pinks and reds, certain darkish greens and lots of broken coloured mixtures, tweeds and so forth though nothing to bold. I am attracted to good prints and wear too many of them. There are lots of prints on American quilting and 'wearable art' websites that attract me, but I distrust the quality. Do they wash well? Finding nice coordinating fabrics is a real challenge. My husband can never understand why I take longer to find half a yard to do pipings and covered buttons than to buy the 'real' fabric.I have not noticed any difficulty with threads even when I have kept something in my hoard for years. Surely the Gutterman thread colours do not change in decades? As for buttons, well, hopeless. I recently threw a tantrum when I realised I would have to make a seventy mile journey to have any chance of matching the buttons on a perfectly ordinary man's suit...

          3. Betty_Kershner | | #7

            *Lin I am also a Color me Beautiful Spring (autumn) and it's hard to find thing in those colors. I get so tired of seeing black everything. and coordinating prints for seasons and with solids would be wonderful

          4. sunday | | #8

            *lin-I always have trouble locating colored sheers for curtains. Purple, blue, pink solids. Sunday

          5. Sarah_Kayla | | #9

            *I'm finding that all of those greyed - out Martha Stewarty colors really depressing. All of those cleadons and pale banana's aside from looking depressing, make me look awful. i find that those colors look good on people with either really pale or really dark skin. For mediterranian folks like me with lots of yellow undertones in my skin. Those colors just make me look like I'm in the middle of Chemotherapy.Those bright mid eighties jewel tones looked great. So now i just stick to black & white. It's boring but it works. Those colors also make me feel terribly sad when i look at them. i have resorted to dyeing more and more of my own fabrigs to get the look I want. I buy remnents of the pukey (my apoligies for the folks who like them) colors and overdye them to suit my needs.I love making colors dance by putting them together. Yes it can work with pale colors but i really miss colors w

          6. sandi | | #10

            *I too use the Color Me Beautiful system. I'm a winter. Taupes are really hard to find. Also yellow. There are lots of golds and orangy yellows but hardly any yellow. I don't mind sticking to black and grey for pants and skirts but want color for tops, I would especially like to find nice knits for making good tops.

          7. Debra_Lancaster | | #11

            *Lin,I read this thread a week or so ago and have been thinking about it since. It's obvious from reading the different posts that there is no single palette that will serve everyone's needs, so how about developing a "basic" palette of 6 or 12 colors and neutrals for each "season," and then expanding from there with coordinating colors, prints, weaves, etc.? For example, a winter palette might start with pure jewel tones, add white and black as neutrals and work on from there. Summers would start with clear pastels and work out from that point. It would change a bit each year, of course, according to the color police, but with a coordinating "theme" to each skin tone/season. And, of course, you should always carry some high-quality basics like denim that doesn't feel like a cardboard box after it's been washed a couple of times.Hope this helps you! More power to your ambition to open a web store.Debbie

          8. claire_moore | | #12

            *Although originally from the UK I am currently living in Holland. After reading your question I have noticed an interesting difference here. As with the USA and UK, Holland is totally dominated by the colour police. During this winter all RTW has been black,white or grey. No colour at all. However the fabric shops are completely different; plenty of fabric arranged in colour sections of differing types (knits,wovens,stretch,etc). This may be a reason why sewing is still so popular here. As an extra note, if anyone is coming here on holiday there is a fabric market every Saturday morning (8.30 - 12.30)in Utrecht which is about a 30 minute drive from Amsterdam or can be reached direct by train. The market sells clothing fabrics, notions, furnishing fabrics and many stalls specialise (eg just fleece or linings). Well worth a visit but go early 'cos it gets very busy. Claire

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