Breaking all the rules with stripes

Hello Sewcialists! Andie here from Sew Pretty in Pink.

This post breaks all those silly rules that society makes up.

As a plus sized person, we are often told about what to wear to “flatter” our shape. To many people in the plus sized category, that means to disguise our shape or make us look skinnier. You can read Mary’s article on the Curvy Sewing Collective to hear more thoughts on the word flattering.

Stripes often make the list of patterns that plus size people should steer clear of and I definitely don’t agree. I think stripes are for all people of all shapes and sizes.

I love stripes and find they make me feel great. There is no hiding the fact that I am plus sized so I might as well wear what I love and find joy in what I make. Ultimately, the joy I get from making clothes I love translates to me strutting in confidence in the world. For many years, when I obeyed the dumb rules of flattering, I would not feel as good in my clothing or enjoy wearing them. When I let go of that, and lived confidently, I felt a lot better about my body.

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I made this top to throw all rules out the window. I think you can feel pretty empowered by letting go of all the rules.

The pattern is the Cedar Dolman top from Cashmerette patterns. I used Gillian’s hack to add sleeves to it and I added a cuff to the sleeve as well as a hem band and a neck band. The fabric I used is a super soft double brushed polyester knit in mustard with white stripes from Water Tower Textiles.

Yellow is a colour that I really really love but I avoided wearing it for years and years because of a comment when I was younger of how I looked in yellow… something along the line of pale disgusting zombie. I realized that I needed to let go of that. Yellow makes me happy and I wanted more of it in my life. I think I look and feel fabulous in this mustard colour.

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Breaking the rules again, I made no attempt to match stripes in any way. I find that as we sew, we get caught up in doing things the right way. We want to match those stripes perfectly. Often that prevents us from sewing and having fun with something that is supposed to be a hobby. For me, sewing is all about the fun. Everyone can absolutely have different standards, but I wanted to let go of it for this project. I have enough going on that I didn’t need to stress over stripes. I needed to feel empowered and confident. I definitely don’t think it is bad that someone takes the time to match stripes perfectly, but if that act is stopping you, don’t stress. Just sew!

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My top has the stripes strategically placed on the diagonal in order to further not care about matching the stripes. I also cut the top on the fold. The Cedar dolman is cut with two front pieces and two back pieces, but cutting on the fold meant I could avoid stripe matching again. Huzzah!

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Maybe this post should be titled lazy stripe tips. Ha!

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Want to avoid matching stripes? Have then all go in different directions! With the diagonal stripes on the front and back pieces, I made the sleeves and sleeve cuffs have horizontal stripes and the hem band with vertical stripes. I cut the neckband so the white stripe went all the way around.

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The whole project made me feel great, and I now have a lovely yellow top that I love wearing and brings me a lot of joy! Not only is it a super soft, warm, and comfortable top, but it also makes me feel great. What could be more ‘flattering’ than that?


42 thoughts on “Breaking all the rules with stripes

  1. “Often that prevents us from sewing and having fun with something that is supposed to be a hobby.” <— THIS! This is how I feel ever time I promise to sew a coat and it stops me from wanting to sew anything, or when I agonise about sewing decisions, and get all stressed! Your top is gorgeous and I bet you'll get a whole lot of compliments every time you wear it!

    1. Yes! If sewing a coat makes you feel like that, just nope that. You don’t need that kind of pressure. I love sewing coats, but if I am not in the right frame of mind….nope. Best to de-stress and focus on the projects that make you happy. πŸ™‚ I did get a lot of compliments wearing it the other day. πŸ™‚ And it is soooooo soft. ❀

  2. Oh yes! I love this so very very much! You look fantastic! I’ve never really understood the idea of stripe placement to accentuate/hide curves – just wear all the patterns in whichever direction you want! And who on earth told you not to wear yellow?! It is so fun – let your personality shine!!

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ˜€ A few people told me that yellow pales me out when I was younger. One rather blunt friend told me I looked like a zombie. It’s funny how even if something is said in jest it sits with you for years and frames how you think/feel. I’m glad to let go of a silly thing like that. πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚ I was hoping it would look deliberate. πŸ˜€ I am so glad I stopped holding on to the idea I don’t look good in yellow because I absolutely love wearing it. πŸ˜€

  3. Andie, you rock the hell out of that top! I was reading and kept wanting to hi-ten you for doing whatever tf makes you happy. Those stupid fashion rules need to GO! And so does the obsession with skinny/thin. You are body proud and I love you for it!

  4. Beautiful!! And as more of an artist than sewist, I can’t match anything for the life of me! LOL!
    O.K. I’m off to girlcharlie to buy some stripes for my new outfit! :o) (hmm, dress? tunic? top? pants?)

  5. Oh, I love everything about this! The top looks great – the diagonal stripes are so good! – and I’m in total agreement with you about everything you’ve written. There are so many “rules” out there that seem expressly created to make us feel bad about ourselves and our hobbies, and I say we should feel free to disregard any and all of them.

  6. I am so impressed with the job you did on this top!! It looks beautiful on you! I have done a good bit of custom sewing for a friend who has a little boutique, but the problem I have with it is that she caters to those who are teeny-tiny and is missing out on doing something special with more curvy clients. You’ve inspired me to begin providing custom work for the clients she is missing out on—thank you SO MUCH!!

  7. That word!!! Flattering. Pfft. We all know what it means the vast majority of the time. Good for you for breaking out of those ugly, restrictive boxes. When you feel good, you look good. Period!

    I am also a fan of rules? What rules?! In my sewing. I love your yellow top and the diagonal stripes are just perfect.

  8. Your top is beautiful and you look amazing in it! I made my first striped piece last week and stressed so much about pattern matching. Your top looks so much more fun with the stripes going in different directions!

  9. Argh it makes me so sad that you’ve been avoiding yellow because it is SO definitely your colour! It was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post is how you are rocking that yellow with your gorgeous hair! And I LOVE the diagonal stripes – why haven’t I thought of doing that before?! Genius!

  10. The diagonal stripes look awesome …. and there are yellows and there are yellows! I’m sure some yellows do make you look like a zombie but this awesome shade suits you. I believe we can wear all colours we just need to find the shade in that colour that suits us the most.

  11. Nothing is more flattering than being happy! I like having fun with breaking the rules as well. And lazy stripe tips are always welcome (I am shameless – lazy kind of makes me happy 😜)!

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