Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 3 (Color Palette)

I’ve always thought that having a few colors that you wear over and over was a bad thing. I’ve heard and read repeatedly that you need to be adventurous–your closet should be a rainbow of colors in shades that perfectly suit your skin tone.

Here’s what I think: Wear what you love.


I hate orange (though I do like pumpkin, go figure). I don’t enjoy wearing it. Yellow is also pretty tricky, but I find myself really drawn to mustard (just to look at, not to eat, ick). Maroon and burgundy remind me of terrible things. Hunter green, nothankyou. Off-whites and creams make me horribly washed out. Chartreuse, neon in general–just. . . no. You get my point.

So when I had the thought that I should just sew within a certain color palette last fall (and that, of course, didn’t actually happen), I was really happy to see that other people who are way more stylish than I had the same idea. Since then, I’ve read some really fantastic and inspiring posts on the subject.

I really loved this post by Gillian. If you follow her, which you should, you know that she followed her color palette for Me-Made-May ’13; it was fantastic. I’m pretty sure she won MMM’13.

I found this post from Madalynne (by guest author Lizz) to be really inspiring–not just with choosing a color palette, but also with the great general tips for sewing a wardrobe as opposed to sewing a bunch of unrelated pieces.

So, now that I’ve cleaned out my closet and formed an idea of the sorts of garments that I need to complete outfits and round out my wardrobe, it’s time for me to settle on a color palette.

I started with what I already knew: I needed a navy skirt, a red skirt, and a white tee. I wear a lot of white and navy, so I know those are good choices to start with. I don’t wear a lot of red, but that’s more because I don’t have any and not so much because I don’t like it.

I also glanced through my remaining clothes in the closet and saw among the pieces I wear most often (for the most part) some obviously repeating colors. I love to wear greens and blues, a little bit of gray, plenty of coral, and splashes of fuchsia. I don’t wear black very often as it’s not my favorite neutral, but I do like it when paired with white.

Just a sampling of clothes from the closet.

Just a sampling of clothes from the closet.

I sifted through my fabric stash as well and found a few pieces that fit my budding palette and basic aesthetic–most of which were part of last fall’s sewing plans. So. . . at least I know I’m on the right track. My tastes haven’t changed that much!

Fabric color palette

So, based on all this poking around and paying attention, here’s my wardrobe color palette:

Fall Color Palette(Lots and lots of thanks to Gillian for her recent post about making a color palette! Have you made yours yet? Go do it!)

(Also, rather than add links for each image, you can visit my Pinterest page where I’ve pinned all of these pictures and relentlessly tracked down the original sources, or as close to what looks like an original source as I could get. Ugh–lazy pinners, man. Lazy pinners [shakes head and silently judges people who don’t pin responsibly].)

This is technically a fall/winter palette, but most of those colors are good for year-long wear. I plan to revisit my palette next spring. The mustard and coral (yes, that’s coral–something went a little wonky with the color translation) in the center will probably just be accent colors.

I’m feeling confident, y’all. I really believe that limiting myself to a color palette will help me increase the mix-and-matchability of future makes which means that with fewer pieces I can make an incredibly wearable wardrobe.

Have you made your own color palette before? Drop me a link, would you? Stalking other people’s color palettes is becoming my obsession!


10 thoughts on “Sewing a Wardrobe: Part 3 (Color Palette)

    • Ohhh–pretty, pretty! I plan to revisit my palette every season just to see if I’ve changed my mind about any of the colors. It should be interesting to see how things change or stay the same over time.
      Here’s the thing with Pinterest: if you get on there just to browse, it’s like being sucked down a black hole from which you will probably never emerge. BUT, if you get on there with a purpose and search for specific things, it can be a great tool. I have sort of love/hate relationship with it.

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  3. Lovely colours! I’m still trying to re-vamp my ‘new’ colour wardrobe. Since I’ve gotten older, my skintone has changed and also I have also been a pale, ashy blonde, but in the last few months have dyed my hair red! So now, many of the colours I like and always wear, don’t look quite as good as they did before. So, thinking about doing that thing where you cut swatches and hold them up to your skin/hair and see if you find them flattering and, of course, if you like them!

    • That sounds like quite the undertaking! I just picked colors I liked that liked each other–ha! I’m sure I’ll learn as I go. . .
      But that is an interesting point that your colors will grow and change with you. I’m interested to see how my palette shifts each season.

  4. I love reds, corals, gingers, browns, golds and teals. I have never actually designed a color palette. Perhaps I will give it a try, after I get my Fall for Cotton challenge done.

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