Working With Border Prints

Lately, I've had this burning desire to design a red dress for myself, but since sewing clothing is temporarily off of my docket, the next best thing I can think of doing is stopping in here and talking about fabric and making clothes.  Would that be fun?

Today the subject of border prints is on my mind.  For a bit of background, here are examples of different types of prints and then an example of a border print.  There are directional prints that have an obvious "up" side:

There are two-way directional prints that generally have a motif arranged facing up and facing down so that you can cut them out in two directions. Like this:

There are tossed prints that look the same from any direction.  Like this:

(Well maybe I could have found more clear illustration of a tossed print, but aren't these Anna Maria Horner butterflies gorgeous?)

And then, as you can imagine, there are border prints that change designs from one side of the fabric to the other, such as this fun one:

Border prints are great because they pack such a big punch.  People sometimes think border prints must be cut out with the border near the hem.  Doing so is a great way to display the print and can look fabulous.  (Vintage clothes are chuck full of border print inspiration!)

But border prints can be used in other ways as well.  They can be laid out upside-down.


They can even be used vertically, like in this Mad Men blouse.

General garment construction rules considered (grain, for example), I don't think there is a wrong way to cut out a border print as long as the design is interesting.  I made a dress a couple of years ago and I'd love to experiment again.

The fabric I used for my dress was a relatively subtle border print on a sheer silk.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the fabric before it was cut, but the border was not very wide.   I decided to create an ombre effect.

Above the empire waist, I cut the fabric "right-side up" and on the skirt I cut the fabric "up-side down."

I could have arranged the fabric in any number of ways, but this way happened to feel *right* to me.

There was actually a small section at the very bottom of the border that was mostly red and had a geometric look to it from a distance.  I cut that part off and didn't even use it.  I wanted a composition that didn't stop the eye.

By the way, this is the pattern I used.

This dress was for a family wedding quite a while back and I haven't worn it since!  Such a shame.  I'd post a picture of how it looked on me, but all of my pictures are like this.

The dress is lovely, can't you tell?


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