What is black, white and textured all over?

My winter wardrobe!

Or it will be when I finish this challenge.


I recently rewatched Ugly Betty and No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Not only are they great shows but the wardrobes are amazing! The mixing of prints, colors, and textures is so fun and creative. Jo Katsaras and Patricia Field are genius.

Mixing prints isn’t just for TV – over the past several years I’ve seen it as a growing trend on the runway. Anna Sui, Balenciaga, and Charlotte Ronson are among the many designers who have featured mixed prints in their current and past collections. However, I admit that I’m intimidated to try the same in my own wardrobe. Finding the right balance between prints is mind-boggling and I fear that at 5’1 I could be swallowed by certain combinations.

I figure the best plan of attack is to simplify. I’m picking a very neutral palette of black and white. A simple palette will allow me to focus on pairing prints without the distraction of color; it’s flattering to everyone; and it will be much easier to find a variety of printed fabric. Later, when I graduate from neutrals, I’ll still have a killer foundation to work from.

In addition to mixed prints, I’d also like to play around with texture. Texture and pattern work well together and at times are almost interchangeable. I’ve been researching how to mix prints in a wardrobe and have noticed that solids are often used to break up the mixed patterns. To incorporate this idea into my wardrobe, not all of my pieces will be made from printed fabrics and I’m making an effort to ensure that those pieces have a dominate texture.

The Nitty Gritty

Who: me

Where: my dining room studio

When: October 1 – December 31, 2011

What: 10 sewn garments

Why: to learn as much as possible about a working wardrobe

I learned so much from my fall wardrobe challenge and I’m determined not to make the same mistakes twice. You’ll notice that I’ve simplified my palette and reduced the number of garments. I went through my fabric stash and placed an order with Gorgeous Fabrics for several of the pieces. I have a list of what I’d like to make (I’ll reveal that soon) and I’m not restricting myself to self-drafted patterns. In addition, I have clear concept and theme and I’ll be posting inspiration boards over the next two days! I’m really excited about this challenge and can’t wait to start putting it together.


19 Responses to “What is black, white and textured all over?”

  1. I pogroms mixing prints! I will really enjoy your efforts!

  2. Ok, sorry- autocorrect on my nook made my post totally unintelligable….I was really speaking out on major support of mixing prints,but have no idea what positive word I was attempting at the time…sorry!

  3. @prttynpnk Oh you do, do you? DYAC!

    I think this is a great way to get over the fear of mixing prints! I’m no mix-master, but it is pretty fun. Can’t wait to see what you come up with, and I’m betting you’ll be able to pull off 10 pieces with these new parameters!!!

  4. Great idea! Can’t wait to see what you come up with and especially what prints you’ve found.

  5. I’m especially interested to see what (if anything) you make with that white and black dobby! I heart all your projects!

    • Aw – thanks, Gail! Right now I’m leaning towards Burda #128 (09/2011) but I’m worried that the dobby might be a bit stiff. I also need to start steering myself away from sleeveless tops. I was going through my closet yesterday and realized that the only long sleeve tops I have are solid knits. How boring is that? That being said, I don’t think the dobby would lend itself to long sleeves.
      By the way, I haven’t forgotten about the interfacing information that I mentioned on your blog. My 3-in-1 printer is really only a 2-in-1 so I’ll have to head over to the copy shop one of these days.

      • No – I agree. I washed my Violet blouse (made from the dobby) for the second time yesterday, and it did soften a little bit, but not enough to make it appropriate for a long-sleeved blouse.

        Thank you SO much for offering the interfacing information, but PLEASE don’t go out of your way to get it to me. I know you have very limited time, just like all of us. I could take myself down to the library and get some sewing books myself! So only send it if it’s very easy for you to do so 🙂

        And I don’t want to take any time away from your sewing – I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

        • Thanks for confirming this, Gail. I think the structure of the dobby will help with the standing back collar but I just couldn’t imagine it being flattering in a sleeve.
          As for the pamphlet, I’m happy to do it! Besides, it breaks interfacing down in a way that I hadn’t seen before and has helped me a lot (although I’m still learning). I’d love to pass the information on.

  6. well, I LOVE the palette, but that’s no surprise 🙂 I love your approach to surface design here—as a fellow petite person, I’m definitely super-excited to see how you work with prints and texture but keep the scale in line.

    • I did think of you when I decided on it!
      As a beginner, envisioning the final product is always one of the most difficult parts of the sewing/knitting process. I don’t doubt that there will be some missteps along the way but it’ll certainly be a learning process.

  7. I love your wardrobe challenges! This is such a good idea. I just received swatches from Mood to help me with my own Fall/Winter collection. Your palette is classic and the fabric is so beautiful. I can’t wait to see the corresponding patterns.

    I LOVED No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency! Was that only on for one season?? I forgot about that show…

    • Thanks, Stephanie! I’m excited to see your swatches – it’s such a fun part of sewing. Did you blog about your palette and I missed it?

      Yes, sadly No.1 LDA only ran for one season. There was talk of another but it fell through. Last I heard they’ve been trying to make a made-for-HBO movie but it’s probably just a rumor.

      • I just recently posted colors, but no fancy palette and picture combination. Not yet anyway. I’d like to do one mini collection with black, white, grey and teal then another with browns, mustards and orange. The latter being more causal pieces.

        Swatches ARE fun. I used to carelessly purchase yardage online, but have been burned enough that I now order swatches first. I have fabric all over my pin board and waaay too many ideas!


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