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Aug 2, 2012

Which way should stripes go?



Leave it to designer Thom Browne -- he just has to be different, doesn't he?  I need a Dramamine.

Friends, I have returned to sewing, or at least, prepping for sewing.  Up first is this early 1940's beach topper (the swimsuit comes later).  And I plan to do it in this black and white stripe.





I guess it would look something like this, only more graphic.



The front is cut on the straight grain, so it could be a simple vertical stripe.  But how interesting would that be?  I'm wondering how I could liven things up a bit.   Of course, those deep front darts might prove a challenge, or would they?



Apropos of stripes, last weekend at the flea market I found more than three yards of this great red and white cotton stripe.  Not sure if it will play a role in this project or not.



So today I've been thinking about stripes.  And I've learned that depending on the scale, stripes can pretty much go in any direction: 

Vertical...Don't do it, Joan!



Horizontal (lampshade not included)...



Roooound....



Diagonal...



Or mix-n-match...





In the 1940's, designer Gilbert Adrian was famous for his inventive approach to stripes, particularly in tailored suits.



In menswear, vertical stripes are traditional in suits, while horizontal stripes are more common in knitwear. But today anything goes, surprise surprise.









Of course, it used to be said that vertical stripes are slimming while horizontal stripes are widening.  I mean, hasn't this been proven?   Wait -- maybe not.  OK, I'm confused...

 
 

Regardless, too much mixing of directions can be distracting -- and hard to look at, right?







Anyway, friends, what are your thoughts about stripes?  Do you wear them at all or are you more the Laura Ashley type?  Do you prefer your stripes vertical, horizontal, or diagonal?  Or chevron-style?  




How do you think stripes are most flattering on you?  

Stripe advice greatly appreciated.

Have a great day, everybody!

44 comments:

  1. Please tell me I'm not the only one who literally laughed out loud (and may have made an unladylike snorting noise) at the diamond placement on the skirt of the Gilbert Adrian suit.

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  2. No, I laughed, too.

    I usually do vertical but with contrasting directions on pockets, cuffs, etc. Usually diagonal, but it depends on the fabric and the project.

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  3. I like my stripes bold, and I love it when they intersect in different ways. Something about just plain vertical or horizontal stripes can be so boring....unless they are black & white and you pair it with a pretty color.

    I love love the idea of putting the black & red stripes together in one garment. Pockets? Lining? Collar?

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    1. Sara, black & red stripes is exactly what I was thinking. With Peter's creativity, I'll wager he comes up with something spectacular.

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  4. Ok, this is the best article I've seen on the stripe thing yet:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18450602

    Looks like even the stripe scientists haven't really nailed it down yet. :) My favourite is the playing with stripes---especially chevrons. :)

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  5. How about some concept sketches? Of course your browsing of real use of stripes is great for feeding the imagination. Part of the wonderful creative process.

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  6. I think the most flattering stripes are those that meet in a chevron Pattern. They always stuck me a elongating the figure while not looking 'strange' as plain vertical stripes are wont to do.

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  7. Oh goodness I love stripes! Vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, pin stripes, or wide stripes, I love them all! Despite my love, however, I've never sewn anything striped before....I am too nervous to cut into my precious striped fabric. I found some beautiful vintage rayon in navy and white stripes at an estate sale, which might just be my most prized fabric of all time.

    I love that red,white, and blue men's blazer. While it would take a special someone to pull it off, it is still amazing. :]

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  8. There was a good article on stripes in last months Threads. One fabric, different looks for the same pattern. Vertical stripes are fine but they look so sensible compared to all the designs you see nowadays. So now if I get a stripe in the future I will automatically look at how to play them so they are not just vertical. Lovin the Chevron.

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  9. I love the stripe concept and you can take this many ways, but keep in mind that if you choose to do diagonal or horizontal you will have to match the stripes to the opposite side. And/or if you are particular you may even want to match the stripes at the side seams. Challenge! Oh yeah, and sleeves need to be paired too :) Stripes always seem easy, but there are a lot of variables to consider.

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  10. SeamsterEast@aol.comAugust 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    The New York Yankee's adopted vertical stripes on their uniforms way back when to "slim down" the appearance of their best hitting slugger, Babe Ruth, who may not have paid attention to what he was eating and drinking.

    In 1932 Ruth was paid more than the President of the United States, but then Ruth noted he -- Ruth -- was "having a better year" than the President.

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  11. make it reversable. white & black with red and black pockets and reverse side red and black with white and black pockets.

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  12. And here I'd always imagined Groucho as the Speedo type.

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  13. I like playing with the chevrons, but that diamond shape on the suit crotch is really quite over the top. :)

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  14. I love a strip of stripes as a whimsical border with other prints. And I agree w/Sara, black & white (I wear horizontal) paired with a pretty color! Also love the chevron, V-ing upwards, always flattering.

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  15. Great topic. I am about to cut a striped skirt, in cream and emerald, and I want chevrons. I love stripes, and am a bit hesitant. But, must get going on it, and my other lovely striped fabrics. No ho hum wanted. Re: Empire, I adore it, and always have. Just make sure it isn't too full, or it looks nineth month. Otherwise can be VERY flattering, and I am still making them. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  16. Peter, there should be a seizure warning on this post! :-) I love stripes. Mainly horizontal ones, which (regardless of what "they" say) still seem as if they should widen one visually, though Lord knows, I couldn't bring myself to wear them if they did. Having said that, I'm feeling those horizontal stripes now. Vertical = no way for me.

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  17. :-D Bullseye placement on the skirt of the Gilbert Adrian suit is a hoot! What was he thinking that day! He did some amazing designs for the movies. Katherine Hepburn's art-deco inspired gown for the Philadelphia Story was stunning!

    For stripes-I like wearing tone-on-tone best.

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  18. How cute is Groucho? God I love weirdos.

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  19. Stripes are so much fun! In the book "The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric", Michel Pastoureau says that whether you think horizontal or vertical stripes are more slimming is cultural. This makes sense to me, because I could never tell what people were talking about when they said that vertical stripes make you look thin.

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  20. I never sew stripes (or plaid for that matter) because I'm lazy and like to sew fast. However, I just inherited 13 garbage bags of vintage fabric. Lots of plaid, lots of stipes in men's shirting, and other striped goodness. I guess I ought to get over my laziness and get to matching some stripes and plaids after seeing some of those funky duds.

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  21. I don't know much about stripes, but I do know that some of us just don't have a waist and adore the empire waist.

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  22. I like sewing with stripes - the challenge of matching them all up at the seams appeals to me :) But I did see a picture of a vintage swimsuit just the other day that had stripes - the centre front panel hand stripes running horizontally, and the side panels had the stripes running vertically. I thought it was a good play on the idea that stripes one way or the other make you look slim... I wish I could find the photo again...

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  23. I'm hung up on the dart at the shoulder. No other image had the stripes dissected. Wouldn't you get sort of a forked pattern to the outside of the dart and wonky angles between the dart and the arm?

    Polka dots, Peter! Cathy could make them shamelessly sophisticated.

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  24. matched. ;) Everything else just depends.

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  25. I love stripes and just last week I made a striped long sleeved tshirt. I say put the stripes whichever way pleases you at the time. I love that Gilbert Adrian suit; I'd never heard of him before.

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  26. I'm about to cut some grey pinstriped trousers. I'll go for vertical on the legs, horizontal or chevron on the yoke- I may not have enough fabric for diagonals and have to settle for horizontal. I don't think that the vertical stripes will really make my little legs look longer, but I'm sure that horizontal stripes would do even less for them!

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  27. I love working with stripes and after reading your post, I'm now more confused about what works and what is a right royal mess.
    Back to the drawing board for this short person.

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  28. For me, when I wear stripes, they are vertical and thin, for the most part (Oxfords). The only horizontal stripes I've ever been able to pull off because of my line-backer shoulders are wide rugby stripes. Even after a drastic weight-loss, narrow horizontals just don't work for me.

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  29. Thom Browne's jacket certainly fixes the challenge of matching stripes.

    For myself, I tend to prefer vertical stripes, having had been taught the old "vertical stripes are more slimming" rule. But doesn't recent research show it also depends greatly on the size and color contrast in the stripe?

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  30. I like a mix n match. The last dress I made turned out pretty amazingly I think because I ran the stripes every which way - chevron at the bust, horizontally on the gussets, and vertically on the skirt which turned into chevrons since it was a circle skirt (you can see what I mean here: http://closetcasefiles.blogspot.ca/2012/07/after-dinner-mint.html). I think if a pattern allows you to have stripes going in different directions you can create a really spectacular effect. Having said that, there is something nice about having the stripes run in the same direction - it depends on what you're going for. I like the idea of your cape being in vertical stripes with the pockets running horizontally. POW.

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  31. I am a huge fan of the chevron shape with stripes. Though I truly love the photo of the girl in the pastel bikini with both diagonal and horizontal stripes.

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    1. Believe it or not, that is Marilyn Monroe.

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    2. OMG so it is !!! she has to be the most photogenic person ever.

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  32. I love all stripes of stripes. But I'm picky when you start to mix and match directions - it has to be done well. I LOVE chevrons.

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  33. I am not at all fond of stripes in highly contrasting colours, its too bar code like for me, but muted tones in stripes look wonderful.

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  34. On women bias cut or chevron stripes are the most attractive, especially if they're small in width. They seem to define the figure in the most flattering way. Rugby stripes on a guy with a small waistline really broadens and plays up his shoulders. I'm playing with the idea of bias stripes on men, but only in a polo or dress shirt, never in pants or jackets!!!

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  35. i hadn't realised it till i read this post, i own NO garments with stripes...perhaps this means i'm not a lover or stripes??? Gosh...the things you learn about yourself! LOL

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  36. Love lower contrast stripes and/or uneven/multi coloured stripes, but I feel that evenly spaces stripes are for furnishing. Mattress ticking etc. Love stripes used in a piping with the stripe either bias cut or running around the piping. Tres chic!

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