Wild Card Prize - Creative, fun, totally on-point design with a clear vision and point of view. Great, unconventional use of fabric manipulation to create texture and mood.

A Bad Case of Stripes



Caitlin Rodriguez


Outline the story …

"A Bad Case of Stripes" ( by David Shannon, 1998) is a children’s book that explores self-perception, insecurity, and the value of being an individual. The protagonist, Camilla Cream, loves lima beans but never eats them because none of her classmates like them and she is extremely worried about what other people think of her. She becomes so worried that she breaks out into a bad case of stripes. Throughout the story, her case gets worse and worse as she is influenced by people and breaks out in checkerboard, flags, and eventually, she becomes her own room. The only thing that is able to cure her is when she finally stands up for what she likes and enjoys a can of lima beans.

I took an abstract design approach. Instead of focusing on the outfits of Camilla Cream that were included in the illustrations, I transformed the illustration of Camilla Cream as her bedroom into a wearable skirt with a matching collar and a pyjama top that matches the one she is seen in throughout the story. This allowed me to play around with exaggerated silhouettes and fabric manipulation techniques that I would not have been able to explore if I was just straight translating one of her outfits.

Growing up this story was formative in making me confident in who I am and the art that I make. It was awesome to get the chance to break the story down and reconnect with it by becoming Camilla Cream for a bit.

Outline the construction…

The construction of my skirt started with multiple meters of plain white cotton. To add dimension and shape I constructed multiple rows of wave tucks with larger lengths of folds every four rows. This created a trapezoid shape that would fit my waist well and flair out with the use of box pleats. After I completed the wave tuck construction I hand painted it with diluted fabric paint as an attempt to recreate the water colour effect of the book. To create the “face” of Camilla Cream out of her bedroom furniture I created hand embroidered and painted patches on calico. This helped them stand out from the bright colours and busy texture of the skirt. The bottom of the skit was trimmed with multiple layers of lace layed flat and gathered, also hand painted. I finished the skirt by adding a placket down the back with reclaimed buttons, a waistband, and bow, all hand painted.

For the collar I drafted a pattern from scratch. I used three layers of plain white cotton to create stiffness in the silhouette. The collar also features a pleated lace trim, hand embroidered details, and a quilted back panel. To finish off the look I hand painted the trim with the colours bleeding out like in the story. The shirt was also created from a pattern drafted from scratch and constructed with white cotton knit rib fabric.

Camilla Cream’s face on the skirt is a direct re-creation of the illustrations of David Shannon.




  1. Avatar Alison Windermere on March 11, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Caitlin, “A Bad Case of Stripes” was our daughters favorite book in our household and I’m so excited to see your interpretation. It’s fantastic and I think Camilla Cream would be thrilled to wear your creative outfit!

  2. Avatar Seelix on March 12, 2021 at 12:41 am

    Your use of color is just gorgeous! I absolutely love the detail of painting to look like the lace colors are bleeding up.

  3. Avatar Anna on March 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Wow! The textures you’ve created here are just gorgeous, every part is a beautiful little detail. I especially like how the collar buttons make the back almost as interesting as the front.

  4. Avatar Angela on March 12, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    Love that book, and love your take on it!

  5. Avatar Lindsey on March 13, 2021 at 12:30 am

    I am obsessed with this! You really brought the story to life.

  6. Avatar Rowan Rubin on March 13, 2021 at 1:20 am

    Now this here is fashion. It’s just so stinkin’ cute. The mismatched buttons are my favorite detail.

  7. Avatar Cherie on March 13, 2021 at 8:50 am

    Incredibly fun & beautifully made! 🌈
    The intricate pleating and hand painted details are full of whimsy, and the care you’ve taken with your creation is inspiring!
    That wonderful collar is pure magic! ✨

  8. Avatar Briana on March 15, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    You really sold the idea of the book with your outfit and expressions! I love that book!

  9. Avatar Jem on March 15, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    I loved that book as a kid!!! I really like how you represented the whole book in the one outfit

  10. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 21, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    So wonderfully whimsical and creative! Your work is beautiful.

  11. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Incredible job with all your fabric manipulations in the skirt and what a fantastic story and characterization! Love this!

  12. Avatar Emily on March 29, 2021 at 2:17 am

    This is so cool!

  13. Avatar Dee on March 29, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    This is a wonderful and talented depiction of a wonderful book. I love not only your work on the outfit but also the makeup and hair you paired with it. It brings the spirit of the book to the forefront of the mind, I recognized it immediately.

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