In Honestly

sew to flatter: warm vs cool

As I work towards my Me Made May goals, I find myself analyzing past sewing projects in order to work out the reasons why I don’t wear them routinely, even when I’m happy with my craftsmanship. There are countless projects that I love on a hanger, but then something isn’t quite right when I put them on. I used to blame it on fit alone, but then another possible factor dawned on me. I always tell myself I don’t care if certain colors flatter my type, I’m just going to wear what I like! But it’s becoming more apparent that I obviously care on some subconscious level, or else I would be wearing what I make all the time, instead of falling out of love with projects a week after making them. Yesterday I was browsing some of my older photos and I realized I’ve got a lot to learn about how I wear color.


If you ask me what my favorite color is I’ll say aqua blue/teal, or some similar shade of blue. I’m really attracted to those colors and use them a lot in my sewing and around my home. I wear blue simply because I like it (and I’m a firm believer in doing things simply because you like it) but now I’m questioning that choice. Let me explain why…

The photo above is from a review I did back in July for Organic Cotton Plus. This particular shirt doesn’t get worn only because I wasn’t happy with the fit or how I finished any of the inside seams. The photo isn’t edited or enhanced in any way, yet my skin tone looks healthy and even, not ruddy or rashy (well, as healthy and non-rashy as a girl with a skin disorder can look lol). I don’t usually reach for green colors that often but I have to say they look rather nice on me!

The photo below was taken at a similar hour, and also has no edits or enhancements, but look at the difference!


When surrounded by cool tones my skin looks blotchy, washed out, and not so healthy. The combination of the blue fabric mixed with the grey background is certainly not doing me any favors, now that I see these two photos next to each other. I’ve always known my skin was on the warm side of fair, but I never cared to pay attention to how drastically certain colors could help or hurt my complexion. Mmmm… now I kinda care.

Since I’ve come to terms with this whole Warm vs Cool thing, I’ve been thinking about how much blue/cool tones I actually sew with. It’s a lot! Could that be part of the reason why I never wear the majority of my me-made clothes? Is my brain subconsciously trying to tell me “Dude, you don’t look so hot in this”? I think it is.


Many colors can be both warm and cool depending on the shade. So rather than sift my brain for remnants of art school color theory, I found a few great “warm vs cool” references online and then started a Pinterest board to help me remember. Now when I fabric shop in the future I’ll have a better idea of what specific shades look best on me. Luckily I have a good variety of color in my stash, but I would always reach for the blue/cool fabrics first, thinking I’d save the other tones for future quilting projects. Well, it’s going to have to be the other way around now!

Sadly I just bought a beautiful blue-on-blue chambray stripe, and rather than go through the hassle of returning it, I might try to overdye it with an olive color and make it more warm. That will be a fun little science project for sure!


I’m guilty of having a one track mind, so it was easy for me to think “I like blue so I will have all the blue things” and then use it in every single room of my house, in my wardrobe, on my website etc. Now that I’ve seen the light (and it does me no favors when I wear blue) I’ve decided to divide my stash into warm and cool fabrics. From now on I’ll save the cool fabrics for home dec projects or things I might sell, and the warm fabrics will get reserved for garments.

Luckily, many of my favorite prints come in both warm and cool tones, so I have plans to go back and buy the same prints in the warm colorways and see if I like the way they look on me better.

warmVScool_luckylucille6(swatch sources clockwise from left: 123456)

I’m eager to carry on with this color experiment and see if it helps make my handmade clothing more “wearable” than in the past. I don’t know why I just started noticing how color looks on me, but it happened. I guess I honestly never cared before! In a way, even though I’ve limited my color palette, it makes me MORE enthusiastic to sew! Each time I have a stupid epiphany like this, I’m just one step closer to creating a me-made wardrobe that I truly love 😉

My yarn stash on the other hand? Fiber Gods help me… it’s a sea of blue lol. Time to swap or donate to some cool-toned knitters!


So. Now I know to stick with warm toned fabrics, and photo backgrounds featuring brick or lots of greenery, from here on out. That’s an excuse to do more fabric shopping, right?! …Right?

How about you? What role does color play in your me-made wardrobe?