Weekend Reading: Phones are everywhere, how to take time off, and soft sandwashed silk


It’s been good to be back in the studio this week, although we’ve been met with a whirlwind of activity. Proofs have arrived for our next print run (yay!) and Kristen is leaving today to go on a cruise she won in a contest (!).

As for me, I’m headed up to Astoria this weekend for a writing workshop. Here’s hoping I come back with just a little more clarity than I left with!

Here are some good reads this week:

[image: photo above from my instagram stream]

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The Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring solids and prints


For the last two weeks in this series, we’ve been talking about color; first, we talked about choosing the colors that make you feel good and second, organizing them into a palette.

Today, I want to talk about something I think many sewists struggle with: choosing the right prints.

What I’ve heard over and over from you guys is that prints are incredibly seductive. Fabric stores are awash in adorable prints that look great on the bolt. But often, we get them home and don’t know what to do with them. Or, we make garments that sit in our closet and never get worn, either because they are too loud, too cute, or they just don’t go with anything.

By thinking ahead about the prints that you are really drawn to, you can narrow your choices and sidestep this feeling of being overwhelmed at the fabric store. If you know what’s really you, you’re less likely to collect things simply because they’re pretty or cute.

Prints are eye catching. When you’re out shopping for fabric, because you’re really just looking at flat fabric, solids can appear so boring in comparison that you wind up with many more prints than you actually need.

Elements of print

Here are a few things to think about this week:

  • Prints vs. solids: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually want to be comprised of prints? Some people wear prints all the time, for others they’re more of an accent.
  • Scale: Do you tend to prefer large scale prints, small scale, or a mixture of both?
  • Contrast: Do the prints you like use lots of contrasting, bold colors? Or are they more tonal and subdued?
  • Naturalism: Do you feel drawn to flowing, organic, or naturalistic prints? Or are strong, abstract, geometric designs your thing? Or are there versions of both that you love?
  • Mood: There are hundreds of styles of prints. Are there prints you choose that relate to your 5 style words?

Types of prints

To get you thinking about prints, I’ve put together several basic print styles here to think about. Of course, there’s plenty of overlap, and some designs don’t fit in any of these categories. But these are major types to get your brain working.

Stripes, checks, and plaids

Classic striped designs like these can be printed on fabric, or woven or knitted in. The designs can be loud and colorful, or quiet and textural.


[fabrics shown: Premier prints navy stripe, J. Crew pinstripe shirting, Mod squad diagonal stripe, uniform plaid in navy and grey, Marc Jacobs check wool, classic seersucker]


When you think of dots, you may first think of classic polka dot patterns. But there are plenty of other types of dotted patterns. Usually, there is an abstract motif (a circle or other shape) laid out in a gridded formation.


[fabric shown: riley blake swiss dot, John Kaldor Cassandra dot, premier prints ikat, ikat dots, chambray dots, Dear Stella dots]


Of course, dots and stripes can also be considered geometrics, but these days there are many other geometric prints available.


[fabric shown: premier prints towers, remix triangles, Ben Talavera diamond fiesta, Lacefield Zoe, Modern Meadow Herringbone Pond, Koi organic cotton]


Flowers have been a consistent motif in print design for centuries. From big and lush florals to tiny ditsy prints, abstracted designs to photorealistic digital prints, florals take on so many moods. Sometimes they can be almost geometric, sometimes they can be used as dot motifs, and sometimes they are more naturalistic.


[fabric shown: waverly april in Paris (I have curtains from this), Liberty tana lawn in Betsy-Ann, Anna Maria Horner velveteen, John Kaldor shake, Mod Squad stem stripe, Designers Guild fabric]

Animal print

Animal print can be worn in so many ways. Some people wear it almost like a neutral, particularly leopard print. Of course, it can also be quite loud. I feel that animal print is a love it or hate it type of print.


[fabric shown: orange leopard ITY, giraffe print, white cheetah, premier prints dayo blend, robert kaufman grey zebra, leopard baby rib knit]

Novelty print

Novelty prints are plentiful, particularly in the world of quilting. Novelty prints are usually thematic and representational, depicting people, animals, or objects. They often used to be referred to as “conversation prints.”


[fabric shown: sailboats, London cats, Moda cycle time, Moda raindrop, Lizzy House constellation, birch sly fox]

Feel free to think outside of these categories as well. You may only like certain types of stripes, like pinstripes or breton stripes. Or perhaps you love tiny busy floral prints, but not large scale florals.

Personally, I tend to go for the classics (stripes, checks, dots), plaids, really lush florals, or anything that has a hand printed or hand drawn look.


  • Examine your favorite clothing. Pick out the 10-20 most worn items in your wardrobe. What percentage of them are printed?
  • Pick your prints. Write down your most beloved styles of prints. Be sure to look through your closet and your fabric stash.
  • Update your moodboard. If you have a moodboard, try adding in examples of prints you favor. I’ve added my palettes and prints to my own core style pinterest board.


What are your favorite types of prints? And are those the ones you find yourself buying?


Swimsuit inspiration


We’re back from our fantastic, sunny work-cation in Palm Springs!

I’ve got some photos of the swimsuit I made for the trip that need editing, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the suits that inspired me.

In the end, I went for full support with underwire, a midrise bottom (love the high waist look, but an extreme high waist is not for me), and a really awesome photo print.


I particularly love the Malia Mills suits. They are pricey, but I love that they are sized by cup, mix and match, and include slightly larger cup sizes.

If 2 pieces aren’t your thing, be sure to check out my swim pinterest board, because I rounded up some awesome one-pieces there as well.

[images: (1) striped suit from Bona Drag, (2) Dolce & Gabbana floral bodysuit, (3) DVF bikini, (4) Malia Mills Chrysan top in DD/E, (5) Minnow Bathers swimsuit, (6) Jason Wu printed bikini, (7) Malia Mills Gabi top in DD/E, (8) H&M swimsuit]


Friday Chatter: Would you sew activewear?


I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of my new swimsuit this week here in Palm Springs. I’ll be sure to share the photos when we get home again. Kenn got some good ones of me in the pool, right before I got out and was bitten by crazy ants (!).

Sewing it was a lot of fun too. I got to experiment with interesting fabrics I’d normally never touch (high spandex polyester and nylon, anyone?).

This has got me thinking about sewing other forms of activewear. Kristen and I are planning to run a half marathon this summer, and the idea of sewing our own running outfits for the occasion is awfully intriguing.

And did you know that Spoonflower even prints on technical knit fabrics? So we can conceivably design our own fabric for it too. Perhaps something with a cat theme.

I feel like sewing your own workout clothes my be a divisive issue. Either it sounds fun and exciting to you, or like a total bore. Personally, I get a kick out of making things that seem really prosaic like that.

Is making workout clothing something you’d attempt to do?

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