Friday, April 8, 2011

Summer Palette, Anyone?

Despite spring just now arriving in most areas of the U.S., the Colette Spring Palette Challenge has come to an end. By the end of this weekend, I should be finished with my planned garments, as well. My Chantilly dress is waiting to be hemmed and photographed, while my final piece - a white Swiss dot blouse - is all cut out and ready to be sewn up. After that? Well, I live in Texas. It's time for summer.

Okay. That's perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. April and May are still rather mild in Austin, but when mild means mid-80's, the sun dresses come out pretty early. I tend to cut off my seasons around Mother's Day. Before, I can still revel in flowery pastels and coordinating cardigans, but after we eat our traditional fluffy white cake, I start wondering if my arms are too pale for sleeveless styles. (To which the answer is normally a resounding yes, as I'm a sunscreen zealot. Despite having inherited easily tanned skin from my Swedish grandfather, I live in fear of sun damage and remain a nice deathly pale most of the year.) My current sewing plan takes this into account. I have fabulous springy florals that didn't fit into my palette, some of which will turn into dresses over the next few weeks. But once May 9th hits? It's game on, summertime.

As for spring, the Colette challenge was a godsend. My fabric tastes tend to be all over the map, so my normal sewing reflects that. There are a ton of prints happening in the stash, but not many basics. Coming up with a cohesive theme for this season was great in that respect. It made me examine what I really wanted to add to my wardrobe, rather than my usual "Oh, I love this fabric! Let me make a random dress out of it!" modus operandi. To that end, I've decided to carry it over another season.

Like my last palette, I'm drawing inspiration from the screen. During my first year of graduate school, my roommate and I were completely addicted to the adventures of a certain mystery-solving, dead-reviving pie-maker. The show, of course, was Pushing Daisies. Beyond the whimsical storyline and the omniscient narration (one of my great loves), the show was just plan gorgeous. The colorful, imaginative sets and amazing costumes were total eye-candy, most especially, the vintage-inspired wardrobe of Charlotte "Chuck" Charles. In 2007, Chuck's clothes made me wish I knew how to sew. Now that I do? They're inspiring my summer palette!

Thanks to the magic of Netflix, I've been streaming the two seasons of Pushing Daisies. Beyond the wonderful vintage silhouettes of Chuck's wardrobe, I'm increasingly drawn to her palette of bold primary colors. These colors scream summertime to me: sun-drenched picnics in Zilker Park, beach ball volleyball in neighborhood pools, and 4th of July fireworks with my family in Santa Barbara. Summer in the South is an insistent, relentless sort of season, just made for red sundresses and yellow skirts. So, that's what I'll be making! It will be a wardrobe of primary colors, with some green, white, and black thrown in for accents.

(click the palette to enlarge)

If you participated in Colette's challenge, how did you fare? Do you plan to try it out for another season? If so, I would love to see your own summer (or winter, for those in the Southern Hemisphere) palette!


  1. I think we could be the same person. I adore Pushing daisies and am also watching it through again. My summer palette which I planned in feb had lots of Chuck inspiration but I think I could add in Olive too!
    Pattern is one of my problems I buy far too much of it! So I was trying to push separates to use up my stash and as I didn't think I was prepared enough for the spring challenge I went for summer.
    I am so tempted by dresses but I have cut out 3 tops a skirt and just finished a cardigan. So after that I think I can allow myself one dress! Good luck with your sewing I can't wait to see your crepe dress x

  2. Like Stevie, I wasn't sure if I would actually accomplish anything for Spring so planned my palatte as a Spring/Summer one. I actually got a lot of sewing done for Spring though (2 dresses and one skirt!) having never sewn garments for myself before I am totally addicted. Hey clothes that fit! Look cute! Don't cost an arm and a leg! I've had to give up computer time to get sewing done so haven't posted anything yet. I've been so inspired by you and other sewist though so will try and post a recap maybe this week. (PS: I'm a fellow Austinite:)

  3. Watching "Pushing Daisies" was what got me sewing again on a regular basis - I love Chuck's dresses so much! The color, the style! It was serious eye candy all the time and I needed to have some of my own. I love your pallette - fabulous color choices!

  4. Hi again.
    I have nominated you for a blog award on my own blog.
    Swing by
    Have a great day.
    Stevie x

  5. Love the summer palette, chickadee! And add another fan to the pushing daisies list. They ended up showing season 2 at some un-godly hour here so I now have it on DVD and am rationing myself out to one episode every couple of weeks since I know it ends so soon!

  6. Love your summer sewing ideas! Hope you are having a lovely weekend .

  7. Oh awesome, I love your summer palette! I think my summer colors will be pretty similar... But I still have some time until the end of spring and still 2 of my spring palette garments to finish...

  8. An adorable palette! Can you tell me which programme you use to compile those beautiful boards?

  9. Stevie, I love that you are similarly addicted to both Pushing Daisies and printed fabrics! You have much more restraint than I to sew that many separates in a row. I may have to take cues from you and infuse some practicality into my summer palette plans!

    Also, thank you so, so much for nominating us for an award!! I'm so excited! :D

  10. Anon, thank you so much for stopping by the blog! I'm so excited to meet another Austinite sewist, especially another beginner in the world of garments! Isn't it a liberating experience? I love not being chained to what stores will offer anymore. You should definitely post your palette results - I would love to see what awesome things you made!

    Meg, another Pushing Daisies fan! I wonder if the show's creators know how many home sewists they inspired with Chuck's dresses? I swear, they could've made a bundle with Chuck-inspired patterns or a clothing line, even if ratings were rather dim after the writer's strike.

  11. Alana, you must have an impressive willpower to ration Pushing Daisies like that! When I get into shows that are already out, I watch them in an embarrassing time frame. I think Veronica Mars took only the three weeks of one Christmas Break! If ever there were a storyline to savor, however, the delightful Ned's is it.

    Alexandra, thank you! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, as well!

    Alessa, color me jealous that you still have some spring to enjoy. It was 95 degrees in Austin today. It's not even Easter and we seem to have moved on to summer already!

  12. Ella, thank you! And thanks for stopping by the blog! All I use for making the boards is Adobe Photoshop CS3. It's very easy, if you have the program. I just drag in files I want to collage, then arrange and fiddle with them to my hearts delight! I'm glad you like them. :D

  13. Hey, don't hide the pale, embrace the pale. I, too, am ghostly white and summer time clothes definitely make me feel like a glowing ball of light with all the exposed whiteness. But being pale is better than skin cancer, right!?

    I didn't do the Colette challenge although I kind of wish I did (I found out about it a little too late). Maybe I can do a summer palette like you? I like the idea of creating cohesive outfits.