A color-blocked tee in ‘Merlot’: the perfect palette cleanser


After completing a challenging sewing project, I often find I need an easy follow-up ‘sew’, sort of a palette cleanser, you know? A tee or a top is my ‘go-to’ project at times like these and I feel especially virtuous if my project uses up a bit of my huge, largely untamed fabric stash.

I found this great red ponte in my stash, and decided it needed to go out into the world. It’s a wine-y red, similar to the color Pantone chose for 2015, ‘Marsala’, a robust and earthy wind red that they describe as a ‘hearty but stylish tone’ (LOL).  I gotta give them credit. They definitely called that trend, because that color of red is everywhere! In Nordstrom’s fall catalog, they called it ‘merlot’ and nearly every page included a splash (Ha) of it. And who among us doesn’t love a color that reminds them of their favorite beverage?


The Merlot ponte in my stash was perfect for a tee, but there wasn’t enough for a long sleeved style (so typical…), so I was forced to color block (Yes, I’m a fool for it), mixing my wine-colored fabric with accents of black and gray.

The pattern I chose for my easy-to-wear tee is Vogue 8710, a semi-fitted pullover top.


V8710 (1)

The pattern was released awhile ago, but it’s still around. I love tees that fit closely around the bust and shoulders, but that have an interesting shape. This one fits that criteria perfectly because it’s almost bell shaped at the bottom, which I love, but it’s not too loose either.


View B is a color blocking dream-come-true because it has curved side panels that add interest to the fit, but are also the perfect host for a contrasting color.


For me, the fit of this pattern is pretty spot on, in spite of the fact that I have really narrow shoulders. I think this means that others might need to adjust the pattern a bit? I used red ponte’ for the bodice (moderate stretch), dark gray for the side panels, and black jersey for the sleeves and neck binding. My ponte’ knit was pretty substantial with a lot of body, but with a good drape. This seems important to support the cool shape of the bottom of the tee. I don’t think this pattern would work as well if your knit was too lightweight, even though the suggested fabric include light jerseys. Just saying….

The pattern was super easy to put together. I used the knit stitch on my regular sewing machine and it worked fine. This tee qualifies as a quick sew to be sure. You don’t have to think too much so you can watch Game of Thrones and never miss a beat. And it’s so fun to have a new top that you started in the morning, but wear in the afternoon.


I think I’ll make this top again, probably in some random shades of blue (I’m obsessed!). Do you have a favorite ‘palette cleanser’ pattern? Do share! Happy Sewing! And thanks for stopping by.

18 thoughts on “A color-blocked tee in ‘Merlot’: the perfect palette cleanser

  1. When you say ‘Pantone really called the (colour) trend’, it’s actually the other way around. Pantone provides predictive/consulting services to designers, retails, and manufacturers. Pantone creates the trend.

  2. Love this shape tee on you, and great choice of colours to mix. I like wearing that style of top too, must add it to my list of patterns to buy. Although I’m planning to use some of the pattern I own first!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I totally understand about adding a pattern to your list. I have so many patterns, it’s pretty ridiculous. A pattern has to knock me off of my feet before I’ll buy it at this point :). Although, when I see them on sale for $1.99, I get a bit quivery….

  3. I haven’t ever had to do a palette cleanser but I feel like I need to start doing this as it’s such a good idea! That wine red is flattering on so many skin tones but I think the grey really adds interest. Lovely!

  4. Well, my sewing is so slow-going that a palette cleanser is not needed, but it would definitely be a great addition to my winter wardrobe! That color is beautiful on you, and you chose the perfect colors for the contrast. I love the striped version shown on the pattern, too.

  5. I love the style of this top and the colours you have chosen. And fantastic that it all came from your stash!

  6. I love this pattern- especially yours! I’m with you on the palette cleanser. I like to have some simple things cut out to give me a quick win after a stressful sew.

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