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
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.
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!
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