kcw guest post by sanae from sanae ishida

winter inspiration: colors

Happy New Year, KCW readers! I hope you’ve had an auspicious beginning already and are getting geared up for the first ever KCW Winter! I’m Sanae, and I blather on about sewing and making stuff in general at my namesake blog here (I often wish I’d had the forethought to come up with a more memorable and sassy blog name, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that…). Kids Clothes Week is one of my favoritest events, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting here over the next few weeks and can’t wait to see what everyone stitches up.

My topic today is Color Inspiration. It’s a big topic and I was initially stymied on how to approach this. I am…how shall I put this? A neutral girl. If it falls into the greige category, I’m all over it. If it makes most people yawn, it makes me drool. My dream home would be all white with pops of grey and off-white. However, if you were to see my sewing projects (and my real-life home), there is a good amount of the rainbow represented, especially for the outfits I make for my little girl, so obviously I love me some color too.

2014 kcw winter color inspiration

I decided to try something a little different and focus on the colors I’d like to feature for my winter sewing and throw in some illustrations and inspiration links for good measure. Out of the millions of colors I could choose, I’ve selected 1) minty 2) orchid and 3) grey.

2014 kcw winter color inspiration


There’s this color range I can’t get enough of — somewhere between aqua and mint green, the hue of ice floes and succulents and glass softened and rounded from the to and fro of waves. It’s a cool wintry color, though it can easily shift into the freshness of spring. It signals cleanliness and crispness to me, and a sense of renewal. I also happen to have almost three yards of this color in a nice thin wool that I got on mega-sale, so I’m determined to use it up this winter. I scoured my Pinterest boards and found some lovely images depicting this color like this cool chevron floor, this sofa, this gorgeous bag, this cute pillow, and this stylish mug. (The pot of succulents I just painted from imagination)

2014 kcw winter color inspiration


You’ve heard about the new 2014 Pantone color of the year, right? Radiant Orchid. I discovered this while watching an episode of Project Runway All Stars in which the designers had to incorporate this feminine purplish-pink into their garments, just last week. It shouts girly, but I think it could be sophisticated too, depending on the cut of the garment. I like a more pink and less purple or magenta orchid myself, and I’ve been wanting to sew outfits with this gentle floral hue for my daughter K. Nothing frilly, mind, but something sweet with maybe a touch of edge (leather details? a touch of black?). I’ve always liked pinks and purples, but K went through a vehement anti-pink phase for a while there, and wouldn’t touch anything that even hinted at the color. But she’s coming around lately, and I’m looking forward to re-introducing pinks and purples and a mixture of the two during the coldest of seasons. Eye candy that inspired some of the illustrations above are this city, this tea canister, this shoe, these macarons.

2014 kcw winter color inspiration


I love grey so much that I should have named my daughter this color. My closet is fifty shades of grey (nothing even remotely risque, however) and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve added some grey detail here or there to a perfectly colorful garment I’ve made for K, just because I felt it was necessary. It’s very appropriate that I live in Seattle where the weather is what some might call depressing 9 months out of the year. I love it. Therefore, there is no season that I wouldn’t sew this color, and there will be a ton of grey clothes this winter, mark my words. I loved the grey(s) in this quilt, this ornament, this knitting project, and this house.

So these three colors will be my main palette for KCW winter. What about you? What are the colors that you’re naturally drawn to? Do you plan your sewing around colors or a certain color combination? And where do you find your color inspiration? I tend to notice furniture, ceramics, nature and paper goods, packaging and of course clothes and accessories. But really, color inspiration is everywhere.


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  • Reply Carla January 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I love this post!  Gorgeous illustrations and great color choices!

  • Reply Jenny P. January 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I’m crazy about all these colors! Especially the minty and gray. I’ve got one outfit planned in that color scheme, but the rest are “clearance sale at the fabric store” – my daughter hit a growth spurt between Thanksgiving and Christmas and is desperate for a whole pile of garments! Beggars can’t be choosers 🙂

  • Reply Nicole January 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    What a beautiful post! Oh how I wish I could paint like that.

  • Reply kristin January 3, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Mmmmm I love your watercolors, Sanae!  I’m totally with you on this palette.  It’s gorgeous, and I’m also a huge lover of gray.  Oh and orchid and mint!  And all three together!

  • Reply brienne moody January 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Beautiful paintings! I love the pink but am drawn to the versatility of that minty green. I would love to buy some fabric with your paintings or illustrations on them, do you have anything on Spoonflower?

    • Reply sanae January 3, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Brienne! Loved your post from yesterday too 🙂 I’ve been wanting to send some designs over to Spoonflower for ages, and I’m hoping I’ll finally get my act together this year!

  • Reply Heidi January 3, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Beautiful palette, Sanae!  It is a great transition into spring, too.  Your paintings are gorgeous and inspirational, as always.

  • Reply gail January 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    those beautiful watercolors! it’s always a treat to see what sanae comes up with. love these colors, especially the gray of course 🙂

  • Reply sanae January 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for the sweet comments, everyone!

  • Reply Laura - Behind the Hedgerow January 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I am also a lover of your watercolours!  Doing some printing with Spoonflower should be your number one New Year’s resolution!  Everything looks great and oh-so inspiring. x

  • Reply Lucinda January 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

    If I wasn’t inspired by minty green and orchid pink before, I certainly am now! Love your watercolors, Sanae – especially the succulent pot and tea box. So beautiful. My inspiration will be drawn from the not-shrinking pile of fabric I MUST make a dent in! Eager to sew again – this KCW will the push I need! Thanks for posting:)

  • Reply Elle January 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Lovely colours and watercolours! And they even work very well together. You are right, inspiration is everywhere, as long as you are a creative type of person 🙂

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