Guest blog: Rachel Hearn’s new colour palette, and working wardrobe

In July I went shopping with Rachel in Hackney.

As you can see she was wearing a black and white ensemble. She is an architect, so something graphic is de rigeur.

But while shopping I observed that she might suit warm colours better, and in the shop we draped some yellow based shades on her and found that cream was really much more flattering than white. Rachel herself observed that the white made her look a bit grey, especially under her eyes. So we bought a batch of linens in shades that really complemented her complexion.

Enough for a jacket, blouse, dress and trousers
Enough for a jacket, blouse, dress and trousers

In between her very busy job and her rowing practice Rachel has been making up a few of items.

Here is her work in progress.

The tobacco brown skirt is finished and has been worn. Rachel who is a good, self taught dressmaker made the pleated skirt by measuring her waist, creating a waist band and then pleating the fabric on to it. She has washed the skirt and noticed that the colour has changed a little compared to the unfinished top – probably caused by the optical whiteners in her washing powder. The same thing will happen to the top when it is washed. If you don’t want your clothes to fade you may need to use soap flakes or organic products, and avoid drying them in the sunshine. Personally I would not worry about this – linen is a natural fabric and if the two parts are slightly different shades I think this can look charming.

The simple top is not finished. Rachel has bound the neckline and she is making cap sleeves to match. I absolutely love this colour on Rachel and you can immediately see how the brown harmonises beautifully with her natural colouring. This is one of the deeper colours that could become a reliable neutral for Rachel – it would be a better colour for a winter coat then say black, or deep navy.

Next Rachel has started making a contrasting top in the warm white. The inspiration pictures show different sleeve treatments. She would like to make a shorter top that is designed to be left out rather than tucked in.  I think this style should work really well on Rachel. Although Rachel has a semi-straight figure and relatively long legs, the receding colour of the brown skirt, and its relative width make it a nice look for her. The ideal length, I think, is to finish the blouse so it covers the waist band, rather than cropping it. However she could make it a little longer if she has enough fabric, finishing at the high hip.

This very light cream is Rachel’s  “white” – while it reads as white in this photograph we chose a creamy, yellow based white that will flatter Rachel more than a pure white. Basically Rachel likes “boxy” shapes, which suit her for her work role as a designer of amazing buildings, and her semi-straight figure.

The blouse is made of the remnants from making a warm-white formal dress. First the inspiration dress with it 12 released darts giving nice, but subtle shaping around the midriff. I think Rachel’s work in progress is also really promising. The dress does look better with the belt as it is so plain, but once it is finished I think she could wear it unbelted and wear a scarf or necklace instead. I think the big sleeves will look great, and like the belt, give her more waist definition, but she could certainly make this up as a sleeveless dress. I noticed that, as the linen is pretty thin, that the darts show up. This is such a nice feature and may be worth considering in a future garment – such as a blouse. If she lined the dress with white these might disappear, but It will be OK unlined.

Rachel hasn’t made a start on the  yellowy gold linen yet. I suggested a play suit (shorts). She is thinking culottes – a nice Butterick pattern. I also gave her the Pierre Cardin Vogue 1636 pattern and a piece of Linton tweed, so that might feature as a suit.



8 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Nice work, Rachel! The skirt is great and the dress in progress is impressive. Is it from a pattern or improvised with the multiple darts?

  2. Natasha

    Thanks for sharing, Kate. It is all coming together beautifully; styles complimenting fabric and figure. I hope Rachel starts blogging so we can continue seeing what she creates!

  3. Amanda

    Is there anything more exciting than a giant pile of beautiful fabric? ^__^ The wardrobe is coming along really nicely! As a designer, I 100% understand the gravitation towards white & black, but in Rachel’s case, I definitely agree this colour palette suits her better 🙂

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