Colour analysis and sewing

Colour Analysis and Sewing

Colour analysis and sewing

I briefly mentioned in this post that I’d had my colours done a few years ago and I promised one of you lovely readers that I’d pop back with a quick post highlighting some resources and to chat a bit about colour. I think that nailing down the colours that you look best in can help quite a lot with picking fabrics for your sewing projects, so by way of passing on these resources, I’ll be listing lots of useful links at the end, but first a bit about colour and colour analysis…

So, whether or not you wear a lot of colour or whether you prefer to wear a more neutral palette, wearing the right levels of saturation tone and hue, can make a whole lot of difference. It can be the difference between looking healthy and of people seeing ‘you’, instead of people seeing the colour first and then you as an afterthought.

I’ve always enjoyed wearing a certain amount of colour and I’ve been interested in how they work together. I guess it comes from being interested in art, photography and painting (haven’t painted in decades!) and of course sewing and fabrics. I always knew that really dark colours next to my face didn’t make me look great and I knew that certain warm reds made me glow. When I was in my teens and 20’s however, I often wore certain pinky-lilac tones but I realise now that they had a tendency to make me look pale and sallow. Fast forward a couple of decades and I decided to have a birthday treat of going to have colour analysis and I was lucky enough to find a consultant in a neighbouring small town.

Eyes and skin tone

The colours found in our eyes and skin (including veins) give clues as to the shades that compliment us. I have grey and creamy-yellow undertones in my skin, teal tones in my veins and warm browns in the iris of my eye with a cooler brown outline. Apparently determining a Soft Autumn colouring is one of the more tricky assessments because of some of the conflicting tonal values and neutrality. But basically, I wear shades that are somewhat muted and softened, not clear and bright or fully saturated and also of a warmer hue i.e with a touch of yellow in… I find it fascinating.

By the way, a quick explanation of hue, saturation and tone can be found here

Colour Analysis and Sewing

How it all started

When colour analysis first became popular in the 1980s the main brand at the forefront was ‘Colour Me Beautiful’. I actually have a Colour Me Beautiful book which I bought about 10 years ago and I still find it useful. Back in the ’80s when the movement started though, it was just based on the 4 main seasons and was more simplified (read some history of colour analysis here). Nowadays, each season is divided into 3 and so there are 12 divisions:

Spring … Bright, True of Light

Summer…Light, True, Soft

Autumn…Soft, True, Dark

Winter…Dark, True, Bright

It was a Colour Me beautiful consultant that I saw for my consultation. I had to go bare-faced, so no makeup allowed, and I sat in a large studio with lots of natural light whilst I had many coloured fabrics draped by my face. After two-ing and fro-ing between two colour groups, I was deemed to be a Soft Autumn by the colour specialist.

By the way, there is also a new movement around now called SciArt analysis which works with 12 divisions as above but the names of each division differ slightly.

I enjoyed getting my colours done and actually found it really helpful. I think I feel better and I know I look better in ‘my colours’. Several years down the line and I still pretty much adhere to my Soft Autumn colour range. I bend the rules a little here and there….that’s what rules are for eh?…like buying a patterned fabric that has one of the colours in it that isn’t from my palette, but because the overall combination of colours in the design works and they have the right intensity then it looks right. I also borrow from the neighbouring season…particularly Soft Summer as there is always a bit of crossover from each group and Soft Summer has muted colours that can suit my colouring.  I’ve sort of trained my eye these days to such an extent that I can easily spot colours that will work for me now.

Oh, and another point about prints…if, for instance, you look better in deep clear colours and wear more dramatic combos like bold black and white…beware of small patterns that when viewed from a distance can end up looking muted or muddy…a small, all over, black and white design could end up looking muted grey…so consider scale of prints and try squinting your eyes up to see how the overall shades work together.

So since getting a handle on my personal colour scheme, I found buying RTW clothes and fabrics for sewing a whole lot easier and by having similar tonal and saturation values in my clothes it enables me to combine colours so much more easily because they all work really well together and it makes mixing and matching garments easy. If it sounds like the kind of thing that you would be interested in trying out I can only say that I found it to be a positive experience.

Colour Analysis and Sewing

Colour Resources

So, onto some useful links for you:

Truth is Beauty…A great US based website with lots of resources and information on the 12 colour bands. You can also buy swatches to have a go at self-analysis at home or you can book a virtual analysis session

Inside Out Style …a fabulous Australian blog and style consultant website by Imogen Lamport. There is a whole raft of information about colour and contrast levels on this page.

A UK based resource for SciArt, where I believe you can book an analysis session with a consultant. Chromology UK

The classic and original Colour me beautiful…The main UK website : Colour Me Beautiful

 A US-based website with consultant lists: CMB (scroll lower down the page for a link to consultant lists)

US and Europe colour analysis blog and lists of consultants: 12 Blueprints

Well, I hope you found this post and the links useful and if you’re not too adventurous with colour perhaps you feel inspired to add more to your wardrobe. Have you ever had your colours done? Do you wear much colour? Let’s discuss in comments.

Until next time…bye!


Colour Analysis and Sewing


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  1. Lyn in Yorkshire
    April 6, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    Thanks – Another useful informative post. Keep ’em coming.
    I highly rate CMB in the UK. The power of colour is fascinating

    • diane
      April 6, 2018 / 3:47 pm

      You’re so kind, thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts.

  2. April 6, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    I was reading a post recently re colour analysis and it was recommended that you get 2 art cards – a silver and a gold and hold them up to your face. My husband & I were in an art shop recently buying something unrelated and suddenly I remembered this advice and we had fun holding cards up against each other’s faces. I was clearly in the gold camp and my husband was definitely in the silver. I discovered years ago just by comparing our skin tones that his was “pinky” while mine was “orangey”. I agree that it’s worthwhile to know well what colours suit you best and aim to wear garments that compliment you!

    • diane
      April 6, 2018 / 3:58 pm

      Thanks Kathleen. Yes, our underlying colours can vary so much. With regards to gold and silver though…. I guess for just a quick analysis of cool or warm tones it works, but its’s not quite as clear-cut because for my Soft Autumn colouring there are some neutral grey tones as well as warmth. It’s therefore been suggested that we SA’s can wear both silver and gold and I do actually :). I have several colour SA palettes on my Pinterest Colour analysis board and they all contain silver and gold.

  3. April 6, 2018 / 11:12 pm

    I had a CMB consultation 35 years ago. Summer.
    More recently I’m following Imogen Lamport and I’m ‘Serene’ which is cool, light, muted. However, that was done online and I keep wondering if that’s the reason I just don’t feel it’s right; there’s very little of my favourite colours and too many I don’t like.. I need to move to the next stage though which is identifying my signature colours. I’m just picking it up again

    • diane
      April 7, 2018 / 11:27 am

      That’s interesting Anne. I’ve often wondered if our skin tone alters at all over time? I think my skin has more neutral tones in it these days. I have a feeling I was more of a Spring in my 20’s. I also remember when I got assessed that some of the shades on my card didn’t appeal as much as others and I used to wear fuschia which was nowhere to be seen in the SA palette, yet I fell in love with coral which I hadn’t worn much of before. Finding your signature colours sounds like a plan. I’m going to have a good read of Imogen’s blog. I haven’t visited properly for a good while.

  4. suzy roberts
    April 7, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    Very interesting Diane. I had my colours done about 5 years ago and it was a revelation. Out went all that black, although I moaned about it at the time, but now I am comfortable with it. I agree it´s much easier buying fabric and clothes, I don´t waste time on colours that don´t suit me. I am a bright spring btw. You had probably guessed.
    Interestingly enough, no one in Spain has ever heard of colour analysis. Mind you, they have more robust colouring than us in general.
    Thank you for this post.
    Suzy xx

    • diane
      April 7, 2018 / 12:29 pm

      Ohh, thanks Suzy. I’m glad you found it interesting. Yes, I thought you were a bright Spring 🙂 Black is out for me too, but I do have some slim black trousers that I wear with coloured tops. I also have a top with a black background, but it has large bold tulips on it and I made sure to have the lighter colours near my face….so you see, I do bend the rules a bit…such a rebel eh…lol. Oh, and interesting about Spain, I kind of assumed colour analysis was more widespread.

  5. Faye Lewis
    April 7, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    No wonder you always look so wonderful! I had a color me beautiful session back in the 80’s too. I’m going to dig my color swatches out today. I think I know where they are…

    • diane
      April 7, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      Ohhh, bless you, thanks Faye. Ah, yes, look forward to hearing about your colours!

  6. Barbara
    April 7, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    Interesting post,Diane. I’ve never heard of colour analysis in Italy but it’s a fascinating way to know better ourselves and what suits us and an easy way to find the right fabric and,usually near the colours,the right style. I’ll go looking to find my colour palette.Thank you 😊

    • diane
      April 7, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Barbara! Yes, I do think it’s a good way to know ourselves better. Clothing and colour can have a powerful effect on how we feel.

  7. kathy
    April 8, 2018 / 10:09 am

    I so need to do this! Great post, Diane! x

    • diane
      April 8, 2018 / 2:27 pm

      Thank you so much Kathy! And thanks for stopping by my blog xx

  8. April 12, 2018 / 2:28 pm

    I am interested in colour analysis. I love autumn colour, but my colour is summer (many people in Japan are summer and spring). Thank you for the great post!

    • diane
      April 12, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      You always wear colour so well Eli! So glad you enjoyed my post

  9. Karie
    April 17, 2018 / 2:02 am

    Very interesting! I am trying to add more color into my wardrobe with my sewing. I had my colors done back in the late 1980’s at a home party (don’t remember what company, could have been Color Me Beautiful if they did home parties) and I don’t remember what season she said I was but I remember she said orange was a good color for me. I definitely will check out the websites you mentioned. Thank you!

    • diane
      April 17, 2018 / 9:28 am

      You’re welcome Karie! Glad you found my post useful 🙂

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