Colour matching woes

I’ve been making trousers in a very special wool fabric. The colour is difficult to describe; the best I can do is “warm grey”. There are both brown and grey threads in the weave but from a distance it looks like a solid colour. Finding matching notions for fabric isn’t always possible but I wasn’t expecting this one to be so difficult to match. In the picture above are four YKK trouser zips in colours  (left to right) named “stone”, “light grey”, “dark grey”, and “charcoal grey”. They’re sitting on top of my fabric. I took the photo in natural light. Stone is far too light. Light grey looks green, dark grey looks blue, and charcoal grey is too dark. Those are all the greys available, and the YKK brown shades are all far too brown. I’m going with the charcoal grey (far right) on the “always go darker” principle. No doubt I’ll find uses for the other three.

22 thoughts on “Colour matching woes

  1. Did you look into some browny shades.. it look grey/brown to me. Either way you won’t see it so it doesn’t matter. I’ve used really random colours sometimes.

    1. I agree, often the zip shows so little that I only try to get general color family the same, without worrying too much about an exact match. Or go for whatever I have on hand! As long as I insert the zip decently I’m usually happy with any color zipper.

  2. Although it is darker in tone, the charcoal is a better match to the overall colour of the fabric. The others are, from left, too pink, too green, and too blue.

  3. I agree with your choice. It’s the most difficult thing about making your own clothes imo. Finding the ideal fabric is hard enough, only sewing in black or white guarantees a perfectly matching zip.

      1. I’ve often wondered about that, especially when it comes to serger thread. There are only a handful of colors available in the store, but shop-bought clothes *always* match the serger thread (and the zipper, or the zipper is in a complementary color). This makes sense.

  4. interestingly when I can’t match a zipper color I look in a different color – like green, as sometimes the color depth seems to coordinate even when the color is not the same.

  5. I hate when it’s so hard to match something! If you ever have a chance, come to NY — there’s a store called Botani that makes custom zippers in every color of the rainbow while you wait. It’s amazing.

  6. Good choice. But a dilemma still. Sometimes I can’t even find the right colour of thread!!
    Looking forward to seeing the finished garment though.

  7. how did a maroon look? sorry to come at it left field but its a colour I would have gone for first before grey. zips can be rather difficult, I live in a small town so the choice of zip colours and threads often feels so limited…..luckily as I have been remaking clothes, I tend to have a stash of zips taken out for reuse….

  8. Nothing to add apart from thanks for this thread of which I have made a mental note and, more generally, your fab blog. Such great pattern choices and a unique look.

  9. I often think about going for outrageous. Lime green or hot pink or amber for example. Why not? Most of the zip is hidden and a little sliver of colour looks like a deliberate design choice. Odd though that there isn’t a taupe kind of a colour that would have come closer to your fabric colour.

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