Are you a print or a solid?

Yes, I’ve been buying fabric again. But!  I found the perfect fabric for my 70s jumper, and then of course I had to order more than one fabric (not use paying shipping for just one, right?)  But it did get me to thinking – it’s pretty clear from my choices that I prefer prints to solid colored fabrics by a pretty wide margin.  I’m just not drawn to solids, you know?  And then there’s the issue of scarcity – I know I can probably find more brown gabardine, for instance, but whatever fabulous print I’m looking at will probably never be seen again.  But really I just love prints – I have mostly prints in my RTW wardrobe, except for basics like pants, so it makes sense that I would sew them.

I am super picky about the scale of prints  – as a small-ish person I have to be careful with larger designs, because they can become overwhelming really quickly.  I rarely buy knit prints, for instance, because all the ones I find seem to be really large.  I’m drawn to unusual prints, but I do like symmetry – something too random and splotchy just doesn’t ring my bell.  I also love prints that have a hand drawn or watercolor effect – one thing I don’t like about modern quilting prints is that they often look computer generated to me – he edges are too smooth, and everything is very perfect!

I bought this ITY  knit print from Fashionista Fabrics today – I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the red print is made up of tiny exclamation points.  I really like that – it’s a bit whimsical, but since the print is small it isn’t too wacky.  I am not at all sure what I’m going to make out of this.  A dress for sure – I have 2 yards, and I can get a knit dress out of that.  Do you have a favorite knit dress pattern?  I am open to suggestions (it’s the one type of pattern I don’t usually buy!)

When I buy solids I look for good colors, which on me are mostly jewel tones (surprisingly hard to find, which is another reason I don’t buy many.)   Not all patterns work with a print – there’s no point in making something complicated if you can’t see the details!  And then there’s the issue of matching the print (I often don’t bother – I will match at center front, but not generally at the sides, unless it’s a plaid or stripe.)  I thought about being super OCD about matching, but I see an awful lot of expensive print dresses that don’t even match at center front.

So which do you prefer?  Are you a print or a solid?

Oh yes, and the rest of the fabric I ordered.  I decided on a fairly traditional choice for my jumper:

Yes, my polka dot obsession marches on full force!  I didn’t want a real print for the jumper – I thought that with either a solid or small dot I would be able to wear it with a blouse in the fall.  I also love navy and white together.  It seems hard to find navy – I’ve been searching for a navy and white stripe knit (with at least 1/2″ stripes) for ages, and can’t find one anywhere!

Finally, I got 3 yards of  rayon challis.  I love this – it’s unusual to find rayon challis in a modern print!  Challis is currently one of my favorite fabrics – it’s got a lovely drape, but it isn’t sheer!  I’m making my Tara dress out of challis.  I knew immediately what I wanted to make with this fabric.

I like the yellow dress with the ruffled bodice.   This pattern came out this summer, and I haven’t seen anyone make it yet – I may be the first!  This dress is not my usual style, but  it looks comfortable.   I am also in major love with this sort of ruffle.   I might make it with the 3/4 length sleeves, since I doubt I will be able to wear a sweater over it (and I am always cold!)

I hope to be back soon with modeled photos of my latest dress – I just have to pin down my photographer!

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12 thoughts on “Are you a print or a solid?

  1. Those are lovely prints. Another thing I notice about prints is that, when I post photos on Flickr or Burdastyle, I get about twice as many hits on the photos of print garments than solids. This results in twice as many comments, so there is double gratification. Prints look much more enticing in thumbnail photos. That said, I mostly sew with solids. I buy fabric by feel, and prints are nearly always smooth rather than textured.

  2. mick says:

    That is a really good question! I think I’m drawn to prints in the store (LOVE me a gorgeous, knit print), but when it comes to buying clothes, I tend to go for solids. Then I like to punch it up with accessories in bright, fun prints, that can match a lot. I’m not sure if this is because I’m on a serious budget so my clothes need to be really versatile in terms of matching, or because I’m still scared of putting lots of prints on my very curvy frame.

  3. I’m with you on preferring prints. I do sew some solids, but they usually take me longer to finish because I get so bored of looking at the same color. However, I find I often make garments with details that get hidden by the print I chose. Wish I could learn my lesson already and quit doing that. I LOVE the polka dotted print and almost bought some for Vogue 1176. You’ll have to tell me how it feels when you get it in the mail – what the thickness is like.

  4. I like this prints, especially the challis one – so interesting! And I like how the first one is exclamation points, something I didn’t notice until you mentioned it. Very whimsical!

    I tend to go for both prints and solids. I’m not a seamstress (yet, though I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later) but my mom makes me a lot of stuff and we’ve been headed down the print route for hand-sewn stuff for quite some time. Printed tops look really cute with a pair of jeans and a solid cardigan.

  5. What a great question! I’m definitely a solids-gal with print curiosity. I agree that prints look so much more interesting than solids (and can’t wait to see the jumper!), but I’m shy over them because I want every item to play nice with the rest of my wardrobe. I think, once I sew a few basics, I can start adding prints that’ll work well, or once I get into wearing dresses more often, it won’t matter! And besides, I can never find great prints at the fabric store and I’ve yet to buy fabric online—I feel like I need to feel the fabric since I’m new to this.

    But what I wanted to say is that I love that all this sewing has led you to this wonderful awareness about what looks good on you (I’m hoping for the same thing, through some trial and error) — the size of print, the drape of fabric, the tone of color. It makes sewing all the more worthwhile — totally customized to fit you perfectly :)

  6. I love prints but wear mostly prints out of practicality (easier to wear / mix-match and less distracting). Once, during a rare moment of deviation, I wore a printed vintage sweater and a coworker said “wow, that’s not you at all.”

    Anyway, I have bought print fabrics and I must say the color mix is what usually draws me to a particular print, and the size second (medium to big for me).

    I love that challis fabric, and hey, can’t go wrong with polka dots!

  7. Louise says:

    I love your pink & gray print. I like all of them, actually, that you’ve posted. Like you, I’m small & am overwhelmed by large prints. (My appearance is overwhelmed…) Small prints are quite fun. If I’m interested in a solid (rare to never have I made a garment from a solid color), it would be because the fabric is interesting, such as linen, nubby or some such thing. I actually can never remember making anything out of a solid, expect cordoroy slacks. Sew-on! I like the sheath dress you posted later, after this post.
    Thanks!

  8. I’m a PRINT, for sure! Most of my fabric stash is printed rayons, cottons and silks. I know that a LBD or a little solid-any-colour dress would be really versatile but I just can’t resist buying prints!
    Love your pink rayon challis, it’s gorgeous!

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