As blogs allow flits down various rabbit holes, I thought while we are still discussing “building your look” to review what to do if you can’t find a pattern that works.  How then do you “build” your own style?  

The solution requires a little work, but perhaps not as much as you might anticipate.  Taking our jacket pattern as an example, since we will be discussing animal prints, what if we wanted the back to have a diagonal zebra print at the bottom of the jacket back a leopard skin pattern at the top with a black and white vertical strip in the front?  

Easy peezy…but I have three cautions.  


First, you don’t have to use the same type of fabric for each piece in the jacket but pre-wash all the pieces for shrinkage.  Also, lighter fabrics  through wear will tear when sewn to heavier fabrics, so you will need to strengthen the seams to strengthen your lighter fabric.  

Second, seams add bulk to your fabric, so the more you have the stiffer certain areas will be.

Third, if you are alternating pieces against the grain, you will have some fabrics with too much stretch and some with none.  Depending on the style, a little stretch around the hips might be a good thing, around the back…not so much, because you will end up with puckering.

What you will need:

810 Tru grid.  
This graph paper is sold by the yard and because of the grids, allows you to make alternations with a little more accuracy.


1. Copy all your pattern pieces onto the grid paper and cut them out.

2. With the pattern copied onto the grid paper, cut out the pieces for the style you want.  This is more like a jig saw puzzle now, so have at it.

3.  As you cut your pieces, some will have seam allowance others will not.  Mark those sides that have the seam allowance.

4.  Number your pieces so you have an idea where each is to fit, i.e. back bottom 1, etc.

5.  Once done, put your pieces back onto the grid paper and recut, this time allowing for a seam allowance for those sides that don’t have one.

6.  Sew the pattern up with muslin, and with a marker, mark the direction of your fabric patterns to see if your proportions are correct, seams are appropriate, and the design looks right. 

7.  If yes, then sew up your jacket.  If no, since you have preserved your original pattern, you can always start over.  One note, don’t be afraid of playing with the seam allowance.  By lengthening one piece, with a ¼” seam allowance, and shorting another with an 1”, it might be all you need to make the look work.

Well…that was fun…now back to topic.
Animal Prints.

Animal prints are a timeless look, especially if you go with the more traditional colors.  And, they are a wonderful way for large women to add life and excitement to their wardrobe.  After all, I figure if the pattern looks good on a 200 to 300 pound cat—it’s going to look good on me.  

This year animal prints are not high on the fashion offerings, but they will always be offered.  Leopard is the most popular.  And, strangely, if you get it in the traditional brown and black print, with average sized spots, the pattern looks quite nice on large women.  I think it may have something to do with the black dots adding a depth to the fabric, and the brown acting as the dominant color.  Anyway, as demonstrated by Kim Kardashian, wide hips rule, especially when covered in leopard print.

Other popular prints are snake skin and zebra. Note: although the stripe is obvious with the zebra, it isn't with the snake skin.  You will want to treat the snake skin as if you are working with a stripe. 

But, you are not limited to these prints, I remind you that virtually any animal print is available in the home décor department, in any fabric such as alligator, peacock—fowl, bovine, canine or feline it’s there.  Quilting will also provide you with a wide selection of prints.  The vendor to your right offers tiger, cow, cheetah, as well as leopard, zebra and snake skin.  

What I have noticed is that if you get the patterns close to their original coloring and pattern size, they all blend very nicely together.  You can have what should appear like a cacophony of cow, leopard, zebra and snake, look quite nice.  Don’t go overboard, but these natural patterns don’t fight against each other.    The following is a selection of fabrics and styles I thought could give you ideas to build on.  Please check out my Pinterest site for even more ideas.

Thank you for visiting, and have a blessed week. 


04/11/2015 5:51pm

Agreed that animal prints are a timeless look, especially if you go with the more traditional colors! And actually I have never seen this kind of blending the patterns as you showed here!


I am a fan of animal prints, especially of various stuff such as pillow covers. I think that it is a very creative design and theme. It goes well with several occasions such as festivals, parties, birthdays, and a whole lot more. In addition to that, it never goes out of style and throughout the year it looks nice, whether it is winter, summer, spring, or fall. Overall, I liked all the animal print clothing that you showed in your blog.

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08/13/2016 4:30am

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11/05/2016 7:51am

Don't like patterns on clothes at all! I like simple black clothes :)


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