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SEW on Trend with Mellow Yellow!

Showcasing yellow seems like a perfect excuse to play with summer blossoms--love, love, love bright pink and yellow dahlias, gerbera daisies, and clover!

What’s the origin of today’s sunny theme? Well, I’m channeling those arbiters of fashion on the TLC channel, Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear. Did you know that just a few seasons ago they crowned marigold yellow as the HOT color?

Their choice must have resonated with me because on my next quilt-shop visit I fell in love with a simmering sunshiny yellow batik print. Turns out that fabric was exactly the right answer for a design I’d been contemplating—it just took me a couple of years to finish the quilt. I call it Flying Colors!

Detail of "Flying Colors." Machine quilted quite cleverly and deftly by Deb McPartland.

After so much time in production I had to wonder if I’d fallen behind the times. Check it out: the July 2011  Elle Décor says yellow is on trend (still) and they picked pretty examples in fashion and design to prove it.  I especially love the dazzling yellows paired with bright white, don’t you?

So let’s take a look at some trendy yellows because if you’re plundering your stash for sunny hues, you’re going to find that the yellow prints in quilts shops now have a strong citrus flavor.

Like every color commercially available, our fave yellow tones have evolved, which is something I can actually demonstrate with a vintage Key West Hand Printed Fabrics Inc. sample that my mom gave me a few years ago when she was cleaning out our decades-old family stash. Take a look below.

Everything about the fabric is wonderful--screen printing, weave, color purity--the challenge is the palette.

It’s truly weird with its yellow, brown, white color scheme. Believe me it’s atypical as well for the Lily Pulitzer fashions that used that fabric line for ages in clothing and home decor. My mother is ever the fan of yellow, but this example is more challenging than most. I’ve been trying to come up with a design that showcases it, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find yellows with the right undertones to work with the vintage piece.

Here’s my color story so far, but it doesn’t thrill me. Hey, anyone with an idea how to tackle this?  Let me know! I’m auditioning all sorts of designs like this Crate & Barrel pillow from an old catalog. But then I just might give up that idea and make the summer skirt my mom suggested decades ago!

Textile update:  I’ve uncovered a back story to my vintage fabric. The company is closed now and there’s an online scramble for authentic Key West Hand Print Fabrics Inc. from the Fifties and up. (May have to rethink my strategy!)  Click the link above to read a blog entry (with the comments) about the designers. My sample has the name Pell in the selvage–he was a co-owner of the company. Click here (Thatcher’s Fine Timeless Fabric) for a seriously upscale, modernized version created with the input of the original designers and available to the trade via Brunschwig et Fils.

Don't you think all blog posts should end with dessert like our favorite flavor of yellow? Time to channel Julia Child and bid you Bon Appetit and happy sewing!

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