Three Top Tips For Sewing With Solids

Sewing With Solid Colours

It’s easy to be seduced by prints. Ooh, bunny rabbits! Unicorns! Dogs in space! And prints TOTALLY have a place in sewing. Because if you can’t sew a bunny rabbit unicorn dress, something is very wrong with the world.

BUT there is also a place in your stash for solid colours, and that doesn’t have to make your sewing boring. Solid colours are adaptable, evergreen and can bring their own creative inspiration.

Here are my three top tips for sewing with solids!


Whenever I see a decent quality solid colour fabric that I know I will sew with, I buy a couple of metres. Decent crepe, ponte or wool can be hard to find. When you do find a brilliant solid, stock up. A stash doesn’t need to make you a bad person; it can make you a planner.


How To Sew With Wool Crepe

My latest Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress, sewn in a navy crepe, could have run the gamut of school uniform meets corporate robot. So I made sure to include one key detail that just helped to break things up.

button detail sew over it ultimate shift dress

I did the same thing on my The Maker’s Atelier’s dress with some ribbon at the neckline.

chocolate linen


Solids can allow you to play with texture in a brilliant way. Lace, laser cut pleather, satin backed crepe – all as below. I rest my case!

Lace Dress

pleather sew over it dress

Tessuti Yuki Dress Red Crepe Image

I most love solids because they’re easy to layer. And if you look at the vibrant colours and textures above, I hope you agree … solids are SOLID!

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22 Responses to Three Top Tips For Sewing With Solids

  1. Great post, and so true! I especially love what you said about how a stash makes you a planner!

  2. Nothy says:

    I love the Sew Over It shift dress on you -very 60s vibe. Thanks for the points on embellishing with ribbon. You’re right. It is the reason we sew to use fabrics and textures in ways that make us happy.

  3. rosemary says:

    So true! I’ve been trying so hard to sew more with solids – partly just so I can mix and match better. Love the details you’ve added to make these extra special.

  4. Kerstin Shadbolt says:

    This post was written for me! I frequently fall in love with a print only to find that I either don’t know what to make, or I simply don’t like it is as a garment on me. After many ‘fails’ I have now made the decision that a blouse or an accessory is the largest item I will make and wear.
    Thank you for your wise words – from now on I shall trust my own judgment and respect my misgivings.

  5. Jeanne says:

    Karen, I really look forward to your blog posts about sewing and Walthamstow life (Hello Ella!). I’ve looked everywhere, is there an archive for your blog? I’d love to read every post from the beginning.

  6. Jo says:

    On my second year of taking part in Me made May I learnt this concept. everything I wanted wear and show as patterned and my handmade wardrobe was screaming out for solids. I am with you lady – I always have solids in my stash especially chambray. Jo x

  7. “A stash doesn’t need to make you a bad person; it can make you a planner.” I’m stealing this sentence because it’s so true! And you know I love a good fabric collection full of solids, as well as, prints, plaids and stripes!

  8. JenL says:

    Agreed. The solids are inevitably my most worn garments. I also buy up additional yardage when I find a nice quality solid at a good price.

  9. SKP says:

    Solids are my favorite, and sure enough I practice all three of your tips, though I never thought about them as solid coping mechanisms before.

  10. Speak sense you do, but I. Just. Can’t. Do. Solids. Hurt my brain they do.

  11. Sarah says:

    I love solids, most of my items are made in solids. If not they are stripes or spots or stars! Sometimes I deviate…

  12. Donnalee says:

    I love solids, and think they have so much potential, far more than some busy print does–and I know that is sacrilege to some, but that’s okay. To me it’s like a wall painted a solid as opposed to a wall with a busy wallpaper: one can only put so much on top of it since the boundaries are already limited by what is there. Of course, everyone’s mileage may vary, and that’s the good part of life!

  13. Hi Karen, long-time reader but first-time commenter here!

    These tips come right on time for me since I’ve bought a whopping 6 meters of different solids on the market today. Glad to hear I’m a planner and not a hoarder. And it’s true, I plan to make a skirt with a large flounce among other things. The beautiful way you folded the ribbon is also something I’ll have to try.

  14. Anna says:

    Thank you for the idea of adding a small detail when using solid colours. I really like the addition of ribbon on the neckline.

  15. Hurray for solids! I too sew mainly solid colours, if I want to ring the changes I’ll go for texture instead, tweed or cord for instance. I just wanted to let you know that I am working on a spring jacket using the same Ikea fabric you used for your pink coat, but I have gone for blue instead. And I have been following all your tailoring tips religiously. I’ve only got to add the lining and that is where I’ll be using a print. I love ‘secret’ crazy statement linings!

  16. PsychicSewerKathleen says:

    Love your ribbon neckline! I’ve been getting more excited over the past 6 months with the creative opportunities in embellishments AND they can be a great way to camouflage a “mistake” like a warbly seam (which can be more obvious in solids), an annoying tuck that you could make a worse mess of unpicking, or too dark a colour near the face where we should aim for lighter colours 🙂

  17. I nearly neeeever sew solids, but I realized last year that it’s prevented me from wearing a lot of my separates that are prints because–surprise!–I only have a few tops to wear with them! And then I get bored wearing the same exact combination. So I’m making a very concerted effort to summon up the nerve, er, desire, to sew a bunch of solid tops this year. I really want to try some different textures, perhaps punch things up with ribbon or embroidery now and again… we’ll see what I can convince myself to do! 😉

  18. Love these tips! I definitely need to be better at planning! I really enjoyed seeing all your makes! Very inspiring!!! I am just getting BACK into sewing for myself, so this was very useful information! Thanks so much!!! <3

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