Working with border prints

We’ve had some stunning new border print fabrics in recently and it’s something that I am always on the look out for as they make really striking garments.

I get asked all the time about how to use them though so I thought I would share a little inspiration post.

It can be hard at first trying to get your head around orienting the fabric a different way than you are used to as you will most likely need to lay your pattern pieces on the cross grain.

It might be a good idea to sketch your design out first so you can play with placement of the borders. Jenny from Give Us a Toile did an amazing job with her Melilot shirt that she made from a relatively small remnant of the Ruby Star Rise border print cotton.

Jenny found that the fabric guided her in terms of placement and she created a very balanced look. I think a shirt is a great idea to give you lots of options for your design.

The key is to pick a simple pattern with not much to interupt the fabric design. Avoid too many darts or pleats that will break up the print.

The Stevie dress is perfect because there are no darts or waist seams, and the sleeves are grown on.

The unbroken line of this dress looks really gorgeous and as if the fabric had been custom printed for it.

I would just make sure that you are lining up the bottom of the pattern pieces so that the front and back borders match as much as possible.

This Robert Kaufman border print cotton is probably the one I get asked about most often.

It looks like a painting and I wouldn’t blame people if they bought it just to frame it and hang it on the wall!

I knew that I wanted to maintain as much continuity of the gradient design as possible so I decided to mash two patterns together to create the perfect dress for it. I used the boat neck bodice from the Anna dress and the gathered skirt of the Day dress. I felt that it would be too hard to match up the panels of the Anna skirt and a gathered rectangular skirt is much better for a print like this.

In order to keep as much length as possible, I cut the skirt pieces on the selvedge of the fabric and turned them up with a single fold, as the selvedge will not fray.

Gathered dresses or skirt are great options for border prints, or you could also make some gorgeous wide legged trousers with the border along the hems.

We do have some double border prints which are great for tops or childrens’ clothes. They are slightly harder to work with for larger pattern pieces as they may not fit. I did look into making some pyjamas from the Nightfall double border print, but the shirt pieces were too long. I opted instead for the Cielo top, which is a nice simple design and would let the fabric do the talking.

I chose to make a feature out of the little pink flowers by echoing them in the hem and the cuff pieces. The cuffs took a bit of fiddling, but I got there in the end and I’m really pleased with the balance they give.

I kept the main design to the bottom of the top but I also added some of the more dense design to the back yoke pieces for a bit of interest.

You could very easily make a child’s dress or gathered skirt out of the double border prints and have plenty of fabric to work with.

I hope that helps with some ideas – I can’t wait to see what creations you come up with!

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