Sewing Amsterdam With Border Prints
Blogger: Deanna Mackin
Border prints are unique fabric designs that are fun to work with. They allow sewists to truly highlight a print, and they also translate beautifully into special occasion statement pieces.
Instead of featuring a design throughout the entire base of the fabric, border prints highlight the design along one or both edges. Single border prints have a design printed along one selvedge edge. Because of the amount of blank space above the border, single border prints work well for a wide variety of patterns including adult size garments and children’s maxi length dresses.
Double border prints may have the same or coordinating prints along both selvedge edges. Some double border prints feature a wide border along one side and a narrow border along the other. Today’s blog features a double border print design “Bel Giardino” from Bec Williams Design printed on rayon challis from Carriage House Printery.
Most patterns with straight hemlines can be used with border print fabrics. This includes skirts, dresses, tops, pants, jackets and more. Dress patterns that call for circle skirts or curved hems will need to be modified if a border print is used. This can be done by using straight skirt measurements from another pattern that has a similar bodice length or redrawing a straight hemline onto the pattern piece wherever a curved hem is being used.
Before purchasing fabrics, consider the width of fabric as well as the depth of the border design when calculating how much fabric is needed. One thing to remember is that skirts are typically cut lengthwise. Border prints will be cut opposite using the crosswise grain. This can change how much fabric is needed to complete a project. One final consideration when determining the amount of fabric needed is the print design repeat. Take note of how often the pattern repeats and where the seams will fall. Take note of these items when cutting the fabric and if pattern matching is needed at any seams.
When using border prints, it is recommended to reduce seams in order to match the print/design whenever possible. Border prints are best highlighted when showcased as one visually continuous design.
Instead of using seams on both sides of a skirt, a single seam can be used at the back, center of the skirt. This means that skirts will need to be cut using one continuous piece, twice the width of the original skirt measurement. To match a design along the seam, “fussy cut” to match up prints.
To start, select an element of the print that can be used in the seam. I chose the blue flower with the yellow flower directly underneath.Calculate the repeat of the print, or how many inches/centimeters between design elements. This print has a very wide 36” (91.4cm) repeat. My size 6 skirt called for 2 pieces cut 37.5” (95.3 cm) wide, which becomes 75” (190.5 cm) when doubled to be cut as one continuous piece. I reduced the width slightly to accommodate my border print and cut one piece 72” (182.9 cm) wide, or 2 repeats of my print. Skirt widths can easily be reduced or increased as needed.
Place the fabric right side up. On the left-hand side of the fabric, locate the chosen design element. Using a disappearing pen, draw a vertical line through the middle. Draw another line 1/2” (1.3 cm) to the left of the first line. This will be the cut line. Repeat the same steps with the right-hand side of the fabric. Cut the skirt piece using these 2 lines for the width and the length indicated in the pattern.
To ensure that the design is lined up before sewing the seam, use double sided wash away tape. Align the tape along one raw, short edge of the skirt. Line up the other edge, placing the skirt ends right sides together. Because the pieces are now temporarily stuck together, the seam can be opened to inspect the design before sewing. If the design is aligned, sew the skirt seam using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. When completing the garment make sure the skirt seam is aligned in the center back.
Border prints are so fun to play with. They aren’t just for dresses and skirts but can also be incorporated into pocket details, bodice bibs and overlays, totes, bags and so much more.
We can’t wait to see you get creative with border prints!