I found these beautiful striped Hmong outfits on one of my visits to the swap meet. What I really like about them is the use of colored fabric for the cross-stitch design – red, purple, and blue. I think like me, many of you are probably more used to seeing and working with white and black cross-stitch fabric.
The black and red outfit is my favorite, because I prefer the front opening over the other two outfits, which has a more crew-shaped neckline. I also like that on the black and red shirt, the stripes are all solid colored fabric, except for the final pattern along the cuff of the sleeve. Whereas on the purple shirt, you can see that the stripe at the top of the sleeve has a cross-stitch pattern similar to the sev.
The pattern used on the cross-stitched section of the sleeves on all of these shirts is a traditional pattern used on various pieces of Hmong clothes. What I associate the pattern with the most is a man’s sash. I have never seen this pattern interpreted like it is here for the sev. The same pattern used in the sev, has been applied to each side of the opening of the shirts. The choice of thread colors used on each of the colored cross-stitch colors are smart and striking.
I was very tempted to buy one of these outfits, but all of the patterns on this outfit were stitched by machine, and I prefer that my own collection is handmade whenever possible. I also prefer authentic designs. For example, the length and width of the sleeve is quite odd. The sleeve either needs to be longer and narrower so that it ends at the wrist, or shorter and wider so that it ends at the elbow. Also, I was quite unsure of the crew-neck design on the purple and blue outfits. I could certainly be wrong here, but I don’t quite think the neckline is true to traditional Hmong outfits.
So, when you see a Hmong outfit that you love, but there are a couple of things that are off, which cause you to hesitate or hold you back from buying it, snap a photo and make your own. By making your own Hmong clothes, you can truly make an outfit your own and incorporate the things you like and leave the things you aren’t too fond of out! That’s what I’m going to do. I am going to use these amazingly intricate patterns to create my own outfit. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out how they turn out!