Sewing with a Plan 2016 0.3 – A neutrals collection?

Although I have a reputation for being a little bit radical with my colour and clothing choices I do love neutrals and wear them frequently. They are easy to wear for work, go with everything and can be a good way to tone down something a bit obvious like a pink dress. I like wearing light grey or beige to work, especially in spring. It only takes a nice scarf to stop it looking boring.

Grey suit
I like neutrals!

In real life I would not necessarily wear grey with grey, or beige with beige, but I can. I suit cool colours at the lighter end of the scale and have accumulated a few nice fabrics over the last couple of years that I feel I should deploy. I would always find some bright colour too – pink, turquoise, bright blue for example – to stop it looking too sludgey. My friend Lyn Bromley commented:

Anything but beige, please!!! It’s so not you. I can’t even imagine you in beige when you are 101!

In my fabric cupboard I have a range of nice cool beiges and greys. There are some fabrics I have used before, but a few I have bought with no plan in mind. So I thought I would try a notional grey/beige swap and see if it might work for me. I would also rely on some tried and tested patterns that I have used before.

selection of neutral fabrics
Beige stash


Pod 1; Grey

Grey chiffon blouse, grey wool skirt, grey fitted jacket

Pod 2; Beige 

Beige skirt (with dinosaurs), beige linen blouse, beige coat

Combo pack

Grey silk dress, beige shirt waister


yellow trousers, bright pink top, colourful painted silk skirt

I am attracted to this collection which would be classic and calm and would actually extend my existing wardrobe no end. I am sure other SWAPpers would concur that just because you present an “outfit” or “set” in your SWAP pictures, we hardly ever actually wear the set together. It might be a bit too matchy-matchy. I love my SWAP outfits but I really mix them up and de-formalise them – here is how I actually look on an average day. .

Sewing with a Plan Fabrickated
SWAP 2015 skirt with T shirt and trainers.

If I do the beige and grey SWAP  I would concentrate on some nice shapes, using lovely fabrics. I would be the first to admit that they do look a bit, well dull, piled up on each other. This is probably why they are an unmoving part of my stash – they don’t excite, do they? The other thing is – would the inherent calm of these fabrics provide me with energy, or would they sap it? Sewing for four months with neutrals seems a bit like purgatory, despite the wild cards.

Hmm. I do like a challenge, but maybe this isn’t the SWAP for me.


22 Responses

  1. AnnieB

    I posted my support on the draping thread (doh)….you will look divine in these…though sewing your way there may be too porridgey for you 🙂

    • fabrickated

      and here is what you wrote:
      Maybe it will be only me but I am genuinely more excited when I visualise you in these things than the other options (perhaps you will tease us with the third set of ideas next?) I note sewing these in your calm and neutral home (aesthetically at least) may be an issue. My home is the reverse of that so maybe that’s the appeal of the grey and beige to me! But I do also see these items as luxuriously Vogue-styled….heavenly.

  2. Annieloveslinen

    Your neutrals would give more options for mixing things up and adding pops of colour. I know that you are aware that colour used effectively is aesthetically pleasing and yet the same colour without contrast could look a bit blah. The devil is in the detail Kate and it looks like you have some textural interest in your fabrics and although your colours may be restrained, as a whole the concept could work beautifully.

    I tend to create outfits around a shared feature colour (currently burgundy) this makes dressing for work surprisingly versatile and easy as everything harmonises to some degree.

    Choices choices, happy planning.

  3. Stephanie

    Upon reflection, I think this is genius, Kate. I love the idea of making things that will greatly expand the utility of the things you already have. With interesting shapes and finishes I am sure you can make sewing these items interesting. It’s certainly easy enough to put in pops of colour as well, as in the yellow pants you have suggested in the final pack. The fabrics you are showing above are extremely pretty.

  4. Lynn Mally

    Well, I think that a beige pod and a gray pod are too much neutral. Why not choose one or the other, and then find a wilder idea for the second pod. Thus spoke the woman who has never attempted a SWAP.

    • fabrickated

      I think you maybe right Lyn. I am feeling so overwhelmed with choice. I want to get it right before I commit another four months to this. I have a further idea which I will rehearse next week. Then I will decide.

  5. Cathe

    My immediate reaction is, Kate, you can make any neutral look wonderful. You have such a good eye and high level of taste mixed with a sprinkle of fun it always looks wonderful including your neutral fabric stack. You have style!

  6. Jennifer Miller

    There are some nice fabrics in that beige stack, I think. And if anyone can take a neutral scheme beyond its perceived limitations, it would be you! I’d love to see how you “de-vanilla” the neutrals.

  7. Rosemary Griffin

    Your neutrals with the bright scarf looks fantastic on you, I envy your waist, I was always a rectangle. I am so not a beige person, even adding details would not enthuse me, You would add that lush little detail or angle that could even make beige pop!

    • fabrickated

      Rosemary – I think we always envy what we don’t have. I do like my waist but it looks small partly because my hips are relatively large. Straight, rectangular body shapes normally look splendid in trousers whereas they are not good for me.

  8. Linda

    As another natural gray haired beautiful woman with taste of about your same age, I say no beige! I find grays look good on me, harmonious, but beige washes me out totally. I’d leave the beige for skirts, pants, or lounge clothes, not near the face. Your bright scarf helps but still, why? Just my 2 cents!

    • fabrickated

      Thank you for your kind feedback Linda. I agree greys are great, but for me they can’t be too dark – I like the light greys with a blue undertone. Also I think there are beiges and beiges! My beiges are cool, stoney beiges – for me (who has some blonde in the grey) beige is really a perfectly good colour – it’s just dull on it’s own. There is a certain version of older person who wears head to toe beige – anorak, flat cap, polyester pants and whitish shoes. I never want to be beige granny!

    • fabrickated

      Linda! Thanks for your interesting feedback!

      I would say there are greys and greys; beiges and beiges. For me light, silvery greys with a blue undertone are best. Charcoal is not so good (near the face). With beige I chose cool beige, stone shanes and bluer based colours – sometimes beige is nice as it picks up the blonde that is still there in my hair. I do take your point – no one wants to be the beige granny or grandpa who wears beige polyester elasticated pants with an anorak, light sneakers and a beige flat cap.

  9. Amanda

    I think if I were you, the main question I would ask myself is, “does it excite me?” Sewing 11-15 garments in the short space of a couple months is a pretty monumental task, and if you’re not excited by the ideas and fabrics, you would likely get burnt out, fast. I am the queen of neutrals, but even I would get bored sewing the whole SWAP in one colour! LOL ^_^ Is there any reason why you can’t do one of the “packs” in beige, or both packs in a combination of beige and another colour that excites you? I could be mistaken but they way I read the rules, the packs don’t have to be one colour. ^_^

    • fabrickated

      You are right – a challenge excites me, and I did think a restricted colour palette might make me work harder on the shapes, textures and sewing technique. While everyone else seems to like the “broad and flexible” SWAP rules this year I find them too unstructured. I am trying to give myself rules that will push my creative skills more.

      • Amanda

        I imagine since you’ve been down the SWAP road before, you have a much better idea now of what you need to motivate you – that’s a huge advantage! I can understand the challenge aspect for sure, and I like the idea of playing with shapes and textures in a monochromatic palette. I would love to do the same with all black and charcoal!! LOL ^_^

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