The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Working with Multiple Prints

This is really hard to do, but with designer help you can learn a lot.  The recent (F/W 2014) Kenzo show is a great tutorial in how to put print with print.kenzo1

This is a great place to start – not too much is going on here.  First there’s the 3-color top print, and then the 3 color bottom print.  Both prints have the two of their three colors the same, and the other two are compatible – they aren’t fighting each other…the gold is definitely dominate, but the yellow is not a shy color either.

[private]Since you’re a member, you get some help here from the Library – one is the advancing/receding chart, which is essential for this type of exercise – print on print.  If you need some more background, the April Newsletter last year was all about Design Composition Elements – and this is when you use that info![/private]

So the lesson here is to stick to a limited color palette when matching strong prints.


You’ve got the same thing here – bottom 2 colors and top 2 colors with one of those two colors the same in both prints.  The difference here is that the gold is still dominate (notice how Kenzo uses this around the face – so it brings attention to the face), but the green has a lot of coverage.  So there isn’t so much gold on the print, but a lot of green, which helps balance the play between the two.



This is a fav technique with designers – stay in the same color palette and you’re pretty much guaranteed a good look.  In this case, one of the prints is REALLY dominant and the other is not as dominant, I wouldn’t call the jacket/pant print exactly recessive or mild-mannered!  The dominant of the two is close to the face again.  Also the theme and design of the print is computable – not the same, but they go together – they are sort of a modernesque nature design – sort of like sticks or branches or something – very abstract, but still nature-like.



This is more difficult – three prints (without the scarf or accessory) in this outfit.  The dominant of the prints is on top (I would call the green & brown receding in this case, your working with receding/advancing colors here).  And the top two prints are really two variations of the same print.  So really he’s dealing with two prints here which makes this a little easier to dissect.  A limited color palette and this becomes manageable.



This is just genius, and sometimes putting these together is merely practice.  I know that sounds way too simple, but believe me, art is a practice (on the reading list is “Making Art A Practice”).   Kenzo has the top with the two limited-palette prints and then ads the jacket again with limited palette and strong print design.  All designs are that abstract nature stick type design.  So he has a theme here, it’s just a variation – some big designs, some small, and maybe a color added here and there, and all have limited palettes.

To see the whole show click here (also there’s a link above), but don’t dismiss this out of hand, and next time you’re in the fabric store, or online – try this:  1.) work with a limited color palette; 2.) work in the same design patterns – abstract, baroque, romantic, floral, geometric – that sort of thing; 3.) allow one to be more dominant than the other – too much the same is either boring, or too shocking to wear; and finally 4.) keep your pattern design basic, classic and simple – the prints are going to be pretty strong and you don’t need anything competing with the print.  Play with this a little and you can have a lot of fun with it.  If you’re timid, just try a two-color palette and keep the colors almost the same for both prints and in the same theme – I promise that works a lot better than you think it does.


1 Comment
  1. Glad to see your site is working now!

Leave a Reply