It all started with my friend Loïc... For weeks, he has been wining about being the only one in his family not to have an Atelier Adriette make! But every time I show him a fun fabric, he says: "No... it's just too much! I think I like solids fabrics better... ». Since it was definitely out of the question for me to sew him a single-colored sweatshirt, I tried out color blocking and I’m so glad I did! I made my friend happy while using up part of my scraps! I immediately had to do it again for myself... Here are all the details on how I did it, and the few small pitfalls to avoid...
Choice of colors, fabrics and shapes: a matter of taste!
As for the choice of colors, everything is a matter of taste, so everyone has their own technique! Some use the color wheel and select complementary colors (i.e. opposite each other in the wheel), others will prefer several shades of the same color... As far as I’m concerned, having no chromatic education, I just set the fabrics side by side and I squint to see how good it looks ?
Nothing prevents you, as I did for my sweatshirt, from incorporating a printed fabric into your selection of solid fabrics!
As for the number of colors, again, all tastes are in nature! I preferred to limit myself to 4 colors / fabrics, but there is no good reason not to use only 2, or, on the contrary, use 22! The design of your sweatshirt will just take a little longer if you go with this last option!
When it comes to fabrics, I’d advise to use fabrics with similar thicknesses and elasticity percentages (I would say a maximum 30% difference between the elasticities of all fabrics is good).
The elasticity of a fabric is calculated by stretching a 10cm (or 10’’) piece of fabric to its maximum. If it stretches up to 15cm (or 15’’), the elasticity is 50%. If it stretches up to 20cm (or 20’’), its elasticity is 100%.
Finally, regarding the shape of the different pieces, symmetrical or asymmetrical, polygonal or curved, there too, there is only your good taste to guide you. It will be easier to cut your different pieces according to straight lines, as curved seams on stretch fabrics are always a little more tricky, but anything is possible. You’ll also have to decide if you want your blocs to align from one piece to another or not.
Once you have an idea of the colors and shapes you want to give your sweatshirt, draw it, using for example the technical sketch of the pattern! This will prevent you from getting lost on the way!
As you can see, I’m not so good at drawing, but this gives an idea of our goal! You may have also noticed that I ended up changing the design of my friend’s hoodie, to fit all blocks into my scraps. I also simplified the kangaroo pocket, as it isn’t that big…
Modifying the pattern
Before cutting the different selected fabrics, it will be necessary to redraw each piece of the garment in its entirety in order to be able to cut them into blocks of different colors. This means that the pattern pieces to be cut once on the fold will have to be redrawn in their entirety (for the Titus pattern: 1-Front, 2-Back, 5-Kangaroo pocket pieces) and that the pieces intended to be cut twice in the fabric will have to be reproduced (for the Titus pattern: 3-Sleeve, 4-Hood pieces). The idea is to have the following paper pieces:
You will notice that the Sleeve and Hood pieces are reproduced in order to have for each a right piece and a left piece.
Here are two different ways to get to this result:
- On a large sheet of tissue paper, cut your pattern pieces as if you were cutting them into a fabric: fold the sheet of tissue paper, and position your basic pattern pieces by referring to pattern cutting layout, then cut them into the tissue paper (either once on the fold or twice).
- Print and assemble 2 copies of the pattern, cut all the pattern pieces twice, then tape both pieces 1, 2 and 5 together, to rebuild the full front, full back and entire pocket. In this case, when time comes to cut the fabrics, for the sleeves and the hood, remember to place one sleeve (or hood) pattern upside up on the fabric and the other upside down (to cut one right sleeve – or hood – and one left sleeve – or hood).
If you want to make the kangaroo pocket and each side of the hood in a single block of color, no need to redraw or copy them, it will be enough to cut the original pocket of the pattern on the fold and cut one side of the hood by putting the hood pattern upside up one fabric and the other side by putting the hood pattern upside down on another fabric.
Cutting blocks in the pattern
Once each piece of the garment has been redrawn in its entirety and cut out of paper, it's time to cut the blocks in it.
Draw the shapes you have imagined on each piece, put a marker on each block to find your way around, then cut along these lines.
If you are making this color block hoodie to use up your scraps, remember to check that each block fits into the intended fabric scrap before cutting the blocks in the pattern. Sometimes, shifting a line by only a few inches will optimize the usage of a fabric!
You will notice that in this example, I leave the kangaroo pocket in only one piece. It will have been a waste of time, in this case, to reproduce this piece in its entirety, it would have been enough to cut it on the fold of the fabric when the time came.
If like me, you are always in a hurry (or just lazy), you can try to save time by sparing yourself the reproducing of hood and sleeve: you will cut the blocks by playing a intricate game of folds, but pay close attention to what you do! One sleeve (and a hood) will have to be cut upside up on the fabrics, and the other, upside down!! And don't get mixed up with the different folds if you’re going for asymmetrical sleeves!
Cutting the fabrics
On your different fabrics, LAYED FLAT (unfolded!), cut each block, adding 1 cm (1/2’’) of seam allowance along all the cutting lines you have added (the basic pattern including the seam allowances, no need to add any on the perimeter of pieces). These additional seam allowances are shown in yellow in the diagram below.
Reconstitution of the pieces of the garment
Once all blocks are cut from the different fabrics, reconstitute each piece of the garment, by pinning blocks together 2 by 2, then sewing with an overlock stitch 1cm (1/2’’) from raw edge (or serge).
Beware, for a piece with 3 or more blocks, the order in which you sew the different seams is important! In this example, to reconstruct Front, first assemble blocks 1-b and 1-c together, and then, assemble the resulting piece with block 1-a. Similarly, to reconstitute Back, it will first be necessary to assemble blocks 2-a and 2-b together, then sew this piece on block 2-c.
Assembly of the garment
At this point, all the pieces of your garment reconstituted in blocks of colors are ready, and “all that’s left to do" is assemble the garment according to pattern instructions!
Obviously, this color block method is transposable to any other pattern and for any garment, the only limit will be your imagination!
And for those who want to know, the pics in the snow were taken in Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, in Canada, and the others on top of Sugarloaf Mountain, in Anacortes, WA.
Do not hesitate to leave me a comment and show me your makes (even and especially if you use another pattern than the TITUS hoodie ?!)
Bonjour, merci pour les explications du sweat avec les chutes de tissu qui m’ont permis de réalisé un sweat flex après en avoir fait 3 dans chacun des coloris. Je peux vous montrer une photo de ma réalisation mais je ne sais pas comment vous envoyer la photo. Pascale
Hello Pascale, ravie que vous ayez pu optimiser vos chutes ! Vous pouvez m’envoyer les photos en utilisant le formulaire de contact ou bien directement par email à firstname.lastname@example.org !