The New Nude

I have never owned a nude (beige) bra. Seriously. Not ever.

Since I have made my owns bras since I had need to wear them, I have been fortunate to always have fancy, colored, and crazy bras (lime green, silver, red with frogs, plaid flannel...just to name a few!).

Maybe that's why the "nude dilemma" never crossed my mind. I never really noticed that while I could probably go into any store and buy a bra to match my skin, so many of my friends couldn't. Marteka was stuck with either a bra too light or too dark, both of which would show through light colored tops.

In fact, it didn't occur to me until I was teaching an advanced bra-making class last fall. We were playing with fabrics and designs and needed something skin colored to line a cup and band. I had absolutely nothing in my stash that would work for my students!

Once I got over the shock and sadness that I had never even thought to offer nude colors for everyone, I set about righting that wrong. I knew I was going to begin hand dyeing all my fabrics, and my first order of business was to create a range of "beiges." 

Below are the stories of the women who inspired each color. 

Ruth (beige #1): my mom and grandma are both named Ruth. They taught me to sew (and so much more!) and I wouldn't be here without them!

Colleen (beige #2): my dad's sister, to whom I bear a striking resemblance. A "colleen" is also an Irish term for any girl. This is my color, along with lots of others who have a European lineage.

Abreauna (beige #3): my niece who spent hours and hours with me in my test kitchen, helping me perfect colors and  dyeing techniques.

Alex (beige #4): one of my advanced students who inspired the creation of "the beiges" - I will never be caught not having your color again! She also happens to be an amazing up and coming designer!

Sidnee (beige #5): another advanced student from whom I drew inspiration - both for the color and for life! She is also a wonderful quilt artist. See her work here.

Irma (beige #6): ok, so this one brings some tears. Irma was a customer that frequented my mom's fabric store when I was a little girl. Makayla, he daughter, and I spent hours playing together. She has since passed, but she will always hold a place in my heart!

So, which beige are you? In the comments, claim your color and tell us about anyone who has inspired you to make a change in how you do things! 

  • monica says...


    What a super fun way to create the colors you needed! I can only imagine the time and effort you put into getting each color just right!

    On Apr 10, 2015

  • Kathy Scoggins says...

    Mine is almost #2. I wanted to comment on the creation of skin tones. This was one of my most rewarding experiments in dyeing fabric. I needed to dye nylon/lycra for a dance production and each of the dancers had a different skin tone. I tried some suggestions of how to create the colors (yellow + purple?, green + red?, etc.) but decided that the best was was to start from primary colors—red, yellow, blue and mix them to create a range like you have above. To this day, I still think of that as the day I really learned about color and that you don’t need a whole color box to create all the colors in the universe—only 3.

    On Mar 25, 2015

  • Marty Crichlow says...

    Being of Danish/Norwegian ancestry beige #2 is my color. Took the bra seminar at Puyullap WA sew expo My husband recommended I take it. Just finished my first bra. Comfortable but needs some tweaking! Can’t wait to make some in outrageous colors!

    On Mar 25, 2015

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