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How to Choose a Silk Color (That Won’t Make Your Audience’s Eyes Bleed)

So many of you are about to embark on the adventure of Buying Your Very Own Fabric – congratulations! It’s very exciting! Your first choice is the color, and it’s an important one. Why, you ask? Isn’t it just a matter of picking your favorite color from a pretty swatch book and sending in the check? Well…. no.

The first thing to consider is where you expect to use it. If it’s just for your rehearsals, then go nuts and pick whatever you want. BUT, if you’re planning on using this for performance, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • White and red are the most commonly requested colors. When it comes to white fabrics, it’s best to have another color for rehearsal, and to trot out the virginal yardage for performance only (unless you want to spend hours doing laundry). Keep in mind that bleaching is NOT recommended as it weakens the fibers in the fabric.
  • OY, black fabric! Emo is SO three years ago, and besides, quite a few theaters have black backdrops or curtains – you’ll be the Mysterious Floating Head from Brooklyn. In over a decade of performance, we have rarely been asked to perform on a black fabric. Get one if you really want it, but order a colored one as well to give you some options.
  • Many of your performances will involve bright theatrical lighting. That light blue fabric you paid $50 to have custom dyed? It just turned white when the spotlight hit it. Go for a richly saturated hue to reflect the light and make you POP on stage – muted colors often wash out to nothing. Unless your client is going for a very specific effect, save the pastels for rehearsal. Or Easter.
  • Great bets for performance silks: white, red, royal blue, purple, teal, yellow, green, orange, saturated pink, you get the idea.

And that’s it, folks! It surely ain’t rocket science, but you don’t want to waste your money. Choose wisely and be preeeeeeetty! Stay tuned for future posts about where to buy your fabrics, how to care for them, and whether there’s any way of avoiding that awesome “wet dog” smell during the summer. Rock on, mah peeps!