ask me: how to mix patterns

Hello friends! I’m back with this month’s installment of “Ask Me.”

During our last installment we talked about picking prints and patterns for your sewing projects. Here’s a related question that quite a few of you have asked.

How do you mix print and patterns?

I love this question because it’s so much fun to mix prints! And until I took the photo to illustrate this post I didn’t realize how much pattern I actually own and wear in my own wardrobe, despite consistently telling you that I wear almost only solids.

In general, there are three basic principles to follow when you’re mixing patterns.

three rules of pattern mixing

The Three Rules of Pattern Mixing

Rule 1: look for a unifying color between the prints.

Rule 2: mix different scales or sizes of prints.

Rule 3: mix types of prints: stripes with dots, stripes with geometrics, and geometrics with florals (or botanics), stripes with botanics or florals, etc.

If you stick with these three basic principles you’ll have no trouble mixing and matching prints in your wardrobe and in your sewing.

Here are some examples to help you out and to give you some ideas. These first examples have a really tight color palette of navy or black and white, and they’re quite safe with mostly a stripe and a polka dot, floral, or geometric.

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

Here are a few examples that incorporate more color.

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

And here are a few that are starting to be more playful and take more risks.

how to mix patterns

how to mix patterns

And then there are those times when you just break the rules. You need to be a little brave or have some experience (or just get lucky!) to do this well.

how to mix patterns

I hope that helps!

If you have a question you’d like to ask for a future Ask Me column, send it to You can see all our previous Ask Me columns here.


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  1. Helena

    I love love love pattern mixing, thank you for this!

  2. That was a most interesting post. You show pattern mixing in bolder ways than I had thought of for clothing. I am pretty daring when it comes to mixing patterns in my quilts, but less so in clothing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. This is super important and relevant to creating a non-boring capsule wardrobe! I adore the capsule wardrobe concept and have converted everyone in the family over, but as a fabric and color junky you better believe we have loads of coordinating colors and prints going on 😉 Thanks for the tips!

  4. Fiona

    Absolutely to all of the above!! Thank you Liesl.

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