Stay Sew Happy With These Technicolour Tips

Happy International Day of Happiness everyone!

Like Kid Cudi before us, we’re all on the pursuit of happiness to one degree or another. Philosophers, scientists and wellness gurus have spent lifetimes trying to codify the arcane secrets of happiness with mixed results. Having done a cursory Google search, it seems there’s no magic cheat code to unlock contentment, only unglamorous practicalities – sleep more, eat well, go for a walk, blah blah blah.  

As noted happiness scholar Gretchen Rubin says, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” You can only win the lottery or fall madly in love every so often, but you can cultivate space for small joys in the routine of your daily life.

What’s one thing we have to do everyday? Put on clothes. Sewing your own clothes is an opportunity for every outfit to spark joy – both because you glow with the reminder of your creativity and hard work having tangible results and because if you made them, the clothes should be the coolest, most you clothes you own. 

That’s what Katie Kortman seeks to encourage with Sew Happy Colour. Every March, the textile artist and fashion designer organises a month-long challenge on Facebook and Instagram that encourages participants to incorporate more colour into their wardrobes by assigning each week a different colour theme to inspire your makes and outfits. There are even fantastic sewing prizes to be won

March may be nearly over, but the effects of Sew Happy Colour can be felt all year round. Katie seeks to inspire people not to not be afraid of colour, and not be afraid to dress the way that makes them happiest. So in honour of International Day of Happiness, here are some hot tips to help you unlock the Rainbow Brite delight in your me-made makes. 


Mono a Monochrome

Do you have a favourite colour? You don’t have to commit to your answer with the fervent fealty of a child BUT if you find yourself repeatedly drawn to teal or you just can’t resist a sunshine yellow, don’t hold back out of some misguided notion of moderation. Making multiple things in the same colour means you’ll always have something to match, plus the all-one-colour outfit is an instant power move.


Let’s get theoretical

Once you’ve identified the colours in your wardrobe that make your heart go spring-a-ling, you can use a little colour theory to figure out what new colours will mix well and set off your established palette rather than clashing. Bust out the old colour wheel and find your fave’s complimentary colour or analogous hues to see if any of them sets your sewing fingers a twitchin’.


50 Shades of Hey

ROYGBIV may neatly summarise the spectrum of visible light but within those rather broad categories lies all the colours in human existence. Remember to explore the seemingly endless shades and tones that even a single colour provides. This can help you with the above step – experimenting with complimentary colour schemes. After all, red and green might be an inescapably jolly Christmas combo, but pink and green? That’s bubblegum realness. And a tasteful chartreuse and salmon? That’s some sophisticated colour coordination!


I Can Sew a Rainbow

If you wear every colour all at once, they can’t clash because you have become The Rainbow. It’s science. At least once you commit to the bit, you can go all out on the colour front with out fear of looking foolish. Even if you combine all your favourite colours without a care, you will still look amazing as long as it makes you happy.

Navy blue and muted neutrals might be the colours that set your heart aflame, but wear them with joy and don’t shy away from colour in order to fade into the background or avoid attention. Everything that you make, everything that you wear, is an opportunity to not simply kowtow to society’s demand that we clothe our nakedness but to add an extra smile to your day. Even if that’s as simple as a sprig of green or a pop of pink. 

Little joys can make a big difference to your overall level of happiness over time. Why not make like Dorothy and live in technicolour instead of black and white?


photos of katie SUPPLIED