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Playing with Color

Mixing fabrics in a garment is one of my ongoing passions.  Take a tour of our gallery pages to see some examples.  I never tire of seeing the interplay of color and texture as I collect fabrics for a new project.

Last fall my eyes were diverted by a color matching dilemma, and it was not even in the context of a garment.  In an effort to perk up a bathroom, I purchased a rug to lay over the aging grey/blue carpet.  In the online advertisement, the oriental style rug looked like it would match the shower curtain, paint and carpeting perfectly.  When it arrived, the colors that had appeared pink/red online were much closer to rust/red.  But once the carpet was out of its bag, it seemed too difficult to return.  Plus, it looked great as a transition to the adjoining TV room.

Old fringe, new carpet

Each time I was in the bathroom I analyzed the colors and wondered why the new combination bothered me.  Finally, my eyes focused on the fringe that transitioned the patterned shower curtain to the floor.  It was decidedly blue and pink which coordinated better with the old carpet than the new rug.

Old fringe with old carpet, a good match.

The red in the shower curtain, however, was much closer to the red in the new rug. I considered getting a new shower curtain but was not ready to part with this bold toile fabric.  So, I took a swatch of fabric and a photo of the rug and went looking for new fringe; I found a fine prospect at G-street fabrics.

The old fringe had been added to the shower curtain by hand so it was easy to pull out the hand stitches and stitch on the new fringe.  I did not even have to take down the curtain.

New fringe, new carpet!

While the match is not perfect it is much more pleasing to my eye.

We can be so critical when we approach the process of mixing colors in a garment, but often, a little transition fabric with hints of the colors you are matching does the trick.  This quilted jacket has flat piping in red batik and in green paisley. They provide a transition between the Indian block print fabrics with different shades of red.

Many reds, one jacket.

Another great color example came up recently as I was helping my student, Jeanette, find dress, skirt or pants fabric to match a tweedy jacket .

Checkered fabric with brown and grey for a skirt.

At A Fabric Place we found 3 fabrics that matched and each caused the jacket’s soft tweed fabric to change color.

Pale blue for a dress.

Which combination do you think she chose?  Friend us on Facebook to see the answer!

Brown and blue pinstripe for pants.

So what do we learn here?  You should take a swatch, or the entire piece of fabric, when you are trying to match other fabrics as colors can be deceiving.  It is also helpful to take a long view. Hang the fabrics together and take a couple steps back to see how they look together.

Happy Color Matching, RAE

2 thoughts on “Playing with Color

  1. You do such great work with color matching. I wish I had your visual skills!

    1. Thanks Marijo, I have been working on them for a long time. RAE

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