Having my Colours Done

If you remember the ‘Color Me Beautiful‘ craze back in the 80’s (and we won’t judge you if you do), then you’ll know about the whole categorising of people into colour schemes thing (and it’s limitations for people who didn’t fit the Caucasian mould it was originally designed for). For those of you who aren’t familiar with this fabulous 80’s fad of epic proportions…

“Carole Jackson exploded onto best-seller lists over [25] years ago with Color Me Beautiful. The basic premise of Ms. Jackson’s seminal work is that women can be divided into two groups: gals with warm skin tones and gals with cool ones. These two groups can then be divided – like life itself – into four seasons: Autumn and Spring (warm); Winter and Summer (cool). Each season has a set of complimentary color swatches that provide poor, lost souls the tools to cobble together a coordinated wardrobe for themselves. We cult members call this process ‘having your colors done”. Color-Me-Carole spawned millions of swatch-wielding followers and apostles: In swanky living rooms and tawdry trailer parks across the nation, Color Me Beautiful consultants courageously attempted to cut the cackle out of clothing consumption.”

Excerpt taken from Simon Doonan’s website – you can read it here

Personally I think the basic concept is sound, and I’ve been wanting to try it out since I read about it at the beginning of the year – so I did some recon and booked a ‘Colour Analysis’ appointment – a completely modernised version of Carole’s approach (and suitable for every skin colour under the sun) – we are having a bit of an 80’s revival after all, aren’t we? 

It was a fascinating couple of hours, as we discussed the impact of colour on personality, our interactions with others and how we are perceived based on how we present ourselves, and not just with styles – but colours as well. Anyone who doesn’t believe that colour can positively or negatively influence needs to read this!

I won’t blather on about my specifics, but after being draped in fabric swatches of myriad hues I now have a ‘wheel’ for my best coloured foot forward. My best hue’s are ones with ‘low intensities’ (rather than high impact and bright jewel tones) and I’m ever so slightly more warm than I am cool (it’s a sliding scale between extremes). It’s nice not to be too surprised – I know that I’m automatically drawn to blues and greens when fabric shopping, so seeing a lot of options in these categories is comforting :)

It was no surprise to me that black is not my colour (the darker shades above are charcoal greys, purples and deep burgundy’s) – I’ve always been a tad anti-black, so it looks like I’ll never be able to call myself officially Melburnian… 

My best basic ‘neutral’ colours have lots of greys, olive earthy tones and warm beige’s. No simple white though – I’m better off with cream!

The colours I’m most excited about though? The ones I’ve always been a bit apprehensive of. I’m really very shocked to see that bright fire engine red there, and so much orange. It’s a little exciting – I’m definitely going to have to break out and experiment! Including some non-standard hue’s by outsourcing the hard decisions to my wheel will be lovely.

On that note – I know a lot of people are against the whole concept of ‘being told what you can and can’t wear’ – just have a look at the comments in the ‘Color Me Beautiful – Friend or Foe‘ post by the fabulous Peter Lappin. I don’t really have a problem with such things, as long as I like the end result of course. It’s not like this colour wheel is the law or anything, it’s a guideline, and guidelines are supposed to aid, rather than define, the solution. One of the things my consultant stressed is that it shouldn’t stop me from wearing colours that aren’t on the wheel – but I’ll get the best result if I adhere to a 20/80 rule (small amounts of brighter colours mixed with larger amounts of softer colours).

The simple way to use a tool like this is to place it up against a prospective fabric/garment – if the colour seems harmonious with the wheel, then it’s more likely than not to be flattering. If the colour looks jarring or out of place against it, then I’ll probably move on. I like this concept, especially because when it comes to sewing my own clothes, I often struggle to visualise the end result when working with fabric colours I’m not 100% comfortable with (especially prints and patterns!), which is probably why everything I’ve made to date has been in that comfy ‘safe’ category. I’m hoping this little wheel will take the guesswork out of whether it will suit me or not. I’ll be putting this concept to the test as soon as I can :) 

We also identified the colours within my wheel which are the best of the best, and to put it as my Consultant put it – these are the colours that make my face ‘pop’:

My appointment included a ‘make-up update’ and an application lesson. Considering the only make-up I own is mascara and a red lipstick (which, mind you, only get pulled out for the odd special occasion) I wasn’t sure how useful this would be – but I’ve always suspected my laziness around the whole make-up thing had to do with having zero knowledge of how to apply the goop in the first place.

I’ve always wanted a basic, everyday, neutral lip colour though – something for a bit of extra definition – and I’ve never been able to find it. But thanks to my Colour Consultant I now have one, and the reason I never came across it before is because it’s a colour I would have looked at, pulled a nasty face at, and moved onto the prettier colours. It’s frustrating that you can’t really tell how a lipstick colour will suit until you put the darn thing on!! 

I went out and put my money where my mouth is – I now have a grand total of 3 lipsticks, and I’m actually going to wear them too. My beau was as shocked as I was at how good the colour looked on as to how boringly brown it looked in the tube. Success!

So – Have you ever had your colours done? Did you take part in the ‘Color Me Beautiful’ obsession? If not, would you consider it?


C1019: Crimson and Clover (minus the Crimson)

C1019 Colette Clovers

Do you pick your fabric and then let it inspire what pattern it should go with? Or do you choose your pattern then go hunting for the fabric you’ve already envisaged it must be made out of? 


More often than not, I’m the latter. And I specifically went shopping knowing I wanted to buy fabric to make a pair of Clovers. Problems begin fairly early on with this approach though because I’m forever seduced by potentially inappropriate fabrics.


The seductive fabric in question is a duckegg twill coating – I spent forever in Tessuti umming and ah-ing over whether or not a wool coating fabric would be suitable, nay – practical – for a pair of pants. In the end, well – you know what happened. Wearing time will tell whether or not this was a smart decision!


Because of the wool, I lined them with a white and navy blue polka dot silk. Who in their right mind doesn’t love polka dots? I’m a tad annoyed that the photos seem to emphasize things that don’t really come to light when looking at them in person, but hey, c’est la vie. 

Surprisingly comfy to sit in for a pair of
very close fitting non-stretch pants!

I know that fitting this pattern has been a challenge for some, and I definitely didn’t get away scott-free. There’s a good reason why there hasn’t been a blog post on here for quite some time – I made FOUR practise versions of this before I got the fit right. Frustration quite literally was a moving target on this project. Changes made:
 – scaled up a size to take into account my non-stretch fabric
 – added small darts to the front & reduced the waistband to fit
 – reduced the length (…the capri version probably would have been perfect for me!)
 – increased the rise (I have an uber loooooong waist – hip measurement)
 – shortened the crotch length
 – made the crotch curve shallower (it’s a really deep curve!!)
 – tapered both the side and inseam hip down to get a straight leg fit

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to relax a little when it comes to fitting patterns – especially pants. There’s this idea in my head that if I get a pattern to fit perfectly (a fairly subjective thing when we get down to the minute details), I’ll somehow manage to overcome what irks me about my body shape. Whilst a good fitting garment is going to be more flattering than a badly fitting one, accepting that there is no pattern that is going to make my legs appear longer/straighter/slimmer/whatever has been a quantum leap for me. 

It’s a little liberating too though… my beau and I had a giggling fit at being able to recognise my rather distinctive leg shape on the pattern paper once I’d transferred all the adjustments across :)

C1019 Clover detail 6
My smoothest yet invisible-zip-to-seam transition!

I also made a few little additions to the pattern – man style pockets at the front replacing the odd little coin pocket things that come with the pattern, and putting single welt pockets on the back. 

To do the front pockets I used the pattern pieces from Pattern Runway’s Sweet Shorts, which worked a treat. 

For the single welt pockets I used the same process as for my Sweet Shorts albeit adding in one extra step. For the pocket lining on my Sweet Shorts I used the same fabric as the rest of the shorts, so it didn’t matter if the welts sagged because you would only ever see the blue polka dot fabric. I didn’t want the lining fabric to show through on these though, so I needed to add a backing to the welt to keep the look homogeneous. 

C1019 Clover detail 4
Single Welt pockets at the back…

As for the end result, I like them. Whilst the high-waisted pants look is something I’ll have to get used too, they are extremely comfortable. The original waist location of the Clovers was mid-way between my hips and waist which was horridly uncomfortable (I sat around in that toile iteration for a good half a day to convince myself of this), and reducing the rise back to hip level just looked wrong. Also, the man style pockets seem to be a great cheats way of getting a close fit with a non-stretch fabric, but still being able to sit comfortably because of the room for movement they allow. 

C1019 Clover detail 5
…Peek-a-boo pockets at the front :)

In the end what I really like about this pattern is that its so versatile – you can make them either dressy or casual. I do think it’s worth spending the time to get the fit right purely because the look is so timeless – I can definitely see myself making this pattern up again.

C1019 Clover detail 3
French Seams for the Lining

Whilst away on holiday I agreed with myself that for every garment I sew on my return, I would take the time out to make it the best I could, and I’m really pleased with these, both on the inside and the outside. This means I’ll be posting on a less regular basis due to my new ‘slow-clothes’ mantra, but I figure seeing as ‘slow-food’ is so good then this has to be too :) 

C1019 Clover detail 1
Zip end covering

I also seriously need to look at purchasing an overlocker. Colourful rayon seam binding does make me happy – but its such a black hole for sucking up all my sewing time!

C1019 Clover detail 2
mmm… pretty seam binding

Oh yeah – I’ve also become a Pressinatrix. Do try it – the results speak for themselves.

2012 Tessuti Awards Competition

2012 Tessuti Awards

Drumroll please! 

My fellow lovers of Tessuti may be aware already – but for the benefit of those who aren’t – the 2012 Tessuti Awards have been announced! And this year it’s Big with a capital B. The theme? Spots and Stripes. Who doesn’t love them both? To see just how inspirational and incredible this competition can be – I would highly recommend checking out the Tessuti Awards website (where you can lurk creations by previous years entrants until your heart is content).

The basic premise is that you design/make a dress following the set theme (and a few rules), and submit your entry online. A panel of judges picks semi-finalists, and your creation is then flown to Sydney for the final judging – the winner takes home $5000 worth of international flights, second prize wins a Bernina 700D overlocker and lucky third gets a $500 Tessuti gift voucher. Kick ass prizes if you ask me.
What makes it Big this year is that they’ve opened it for international contenders as well – In previous years it’s only been up for grabs by people residing in the Land of Oz.
I’m humbled to think that I even shared the same sewing teacher as the WINNER of last year’s awards – the amazingly talented JuliaBobbin – you can check out her winning entry here. In fact I think she’s in New York right now (or heading off there very soon) thanks to her winning ticket :) I’m even more stoked to notice that Emma Leonard – who drew the graphic image you see above as the banner for the awards, is a girl who I went to high school with. Whilst she wasn’t someone I was friends with, I love seeing people with who I grew up with succeed at doing what they love! She clearly is a very talented artist. 

Julia Bobbin’s 2011 winning Tessuti Awards entry

Would you consider entering? My only excuse is that I’m a fair bit larger than the standard size 10 that the dress has to be made to, so I would really struggle to make something to fit this requirement… 

…96 days to go…

V8333: The trouble begins…

The good news? I’m back in the land of Oz! Melbourne was even kind enough to throw on the coldest, wettest May day in the decade or so the day we got back. It may have been a little quiet on here in blogland, but it’s been nothing but a flurry of sewing-related activities here at chez poppykettle. Whilst away a whole stack of online fabric orders arrived at my work desk – so my first day back was eased into with plenty of swooning over new fabric!!! Talk about a great way to start the day :)

I also placed an order for NINE Marfy patterns – a few from their online selection and a few from their 2011/12 catalogue. I’m super excited! Hopefully they’ll arrive sooner rather than later, as I’m dying to get stuck into sewing some things for winter. More on this to come.

The troublesome news? On closer inspection the Crater Sleeve from Japanese Pattern Magic is proving to be quite a challenge.

To the extent that I may have to leave it by the wayside… that’ll teach me to shout from the hills before doing any research!

Basically no matter how much interfacing and padding I use, the fabric I had specifically in mind to make this jacket just doesn’t have the backbone to support the design – it just flops about looking rather sorry for itself. And as I’m not willing to change fabric, its the design that will have to give way. 

I’m sorely temped to get my hands on some burlap to see how this would work with a stiff fabric. Such a shame because I’ve been dying to know what this sleeve would actually look like on – as the photo in the book doesn’t really give you anything beyond a side on perspective. 

I have nothing but praise for the jacket pattern though, putting that notched collar together was a breeze thanks to the fabulous instructions. The jacket itself still needs a few more adjustments, and then I’ll be on my way.

Shall I unveil the fabric? :)

A periwinkle blue woven silk (which has been absolutely dastardly to match thread and buttons too, btw) from Emma One Sock, and a pale lemon silk satin for the lining, from Cleggs. 

And a sneak peak at what is very near to being completed…