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Palette Challenge: How to create a moodboard

We had a lot of questions yesterday on how to go about creating a moodboard. There are a lot of options, so I thought I’d run through a few, just to give you some ideas and get those creative juices flowing.

First, what’s the idea behind a moodboard?

A moodboard is simply a creative tool for gathering inspiration and synthesizing it into your own vision. Think of it as a collage that expresses a look or feeling you want to achieve. It might contain inspiration images, swatches of color or fabric, even words.

As you can imagine, there are a number of ways you could go about creating this sort of thing. You could, of course, take physical pictures and make an actual collage, or simply arrange them on a bulletin board. Totally simple, low tech, fun, and easy. Another advantage is you can stick it up on your wall (perhaps in your sewing area) to keep you inspired.

You could also use some of the digital and online tools out there. We did a post on inspiration tools before (though my preferences have changed since then). I’m going to illustrate some tools using my own inspiration images here.

Photo Sets

You could simply find photos that inspire you and upload them to a photo sharing service like Flickr. That’s what I’ve done here. I kept all the photos private though, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m claiming these photos as my own when I upload them. I think this is a good option for creating a really easy private collection of inspiration.


Polyvore makes it really easy to create collages and moodboards. It’s primary purpose is to collage outfits together, and you can easily search the site for images of clothing to add to your collages (on polyvore, these are called “sets”.) Polyvore even provides the code to link and embed them on your own blog, facebook, or elsewhere.


I’m pretty much addicted to Pinterest (follow me here if you like). Pinterest lets you collect images from around the web into boards, so it’s really the perfect tool for gathering inspiration for a particular project.

Photo Editing

You can also use a photo editor like I did to cobble together a collage. I used Photoshop for this one, but there are also free options (like Gimp). It’s a bit more time consuming, but the benefit is that you can make your moodboard look exactly the way you want. I like to include swatches of color.


Finally, if you have a blog, you could just post a bunch of pictures in a blog post. Or post them to Tumblr.

To sum up: There’s no right or wrong here! Anything that will help you collect your ideas into a single palette or concept is all that you need.

Does anyone have any other ideas for useful tools?

Sarai Mitnick


Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.


Kate Bernhard

April 12, 2012 #

I love using tumblr for moodboards because they have such an array of templates that you can make your blog look like a bulletin board. It makes a really nice visual, and it’s so easy to do :)


April 12, 2012 #

I use OneNote. I can take screen clippings (keeping source information) and add personal notes. I can choose who to share my information with and password protect as needed. OneNote allows me to create a user friendly data file system that I can access from any device.


April 12, 2012 #

On the photo-editor front, Picasa (the free Google photo organizer/editor) has a “collage” feature that lets you pull images on your computer together and throw them together in a variety of different ways. It’s not quite as flexible as doing it in Photoshop or Gimp, but is really fast and convenient.

I love your colour scheme! :)


April 12, 2012 #

Awesome! Thankyou! I will get to it over the weekend.


April 12, 2012 #

Hi Sarai! I’m super excited about this. I am just a beginner, so I am not sure how much I can get done in eight weeks, but I am going to try! I have a dress from your book and a couple of your other patterns that I was already planning on making, and there are certainly reoccurring colors in the fabrics I had already picked, so this could work out perfect. My question is, since all my inspiration is from your products, can I use photos from your website for my moodboard? I am creating it in photoshop and will be posting it on my blog. I could show it to you first of you like. Just let me know and thanks for writing such a great book and creating such great patterns. I am learning so much and ending up with adorable, wearable clothes!


April 16, 2012 #

Please feel free to use images from the site, no problem!