Mrs Bowden’s Top Tip – using a border prints

Felixstowe Sewing School

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Mrs Bowden’s top tip – using border prints
I find border prints most alluring.  There is something about them that makes you feel that you are getting something extra with the fabric purchase almost for free!  Over the years I have been seduced by various border prints and here is one of them – a fine length of cotton.  However, I do realise that it can be a bit daunting when faced with how to actually use them – which is what this weeks top tip is all about. 
When you buy your border print fabric check if the border is only down one side parallel to the selvedge or if it runs down both edges – this is a little bit more challenging to use as you don’t have the full width of the fabric to play with by treating the border as the ‘hem’ edge.  I spotted this butterfly and floral print fabric on ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SATIN-DOUBLE-BORDER-PRINT-BUTTERFLY-FLORAL-DRESS-FABRIC-FREE-P-P-/132178686591?hash=item1ec676b27f:g:X2UAAOSw71BXQHTO
The big pattern makers have helped us by producing dressmaking patterns specifically for border prints. Here’s a Butterick pattern B6453 with a simple gathered skirt which is easy to achieve and a really effective way of showing off the fabric.

This simple skirt pattern is also from Butterick 4686 and gives guidance in the cutting for using your border print.
If you like a rule of thumb for using border print fabrics it should be to consider disturbing the fabric as little as possible.  In other words, if you can just gather it up and pop it on a waistband you’ll have a simple skirt which allows the fabric to sing out.  This style of skirt was very popular in the 1950s and the range of border prints was dazzling!
Another tip is to use a pattern which has a straight hem rather than a curved one. For example; the dress on the left (Butterick 6167) is gathered at the waist and has a straight hem.  The one on the right is curved at the hem and therefore more difficult to use when laying the pattern piece onto the border edge.
I know this is difficult to see but it’s an excerpt from a magazine published in 1992 which gives some good ideas for using a border print.  You can isolate the border and then reapply it to the garment.  Food for thought.
I do hope this has inspired you in some way.

Until then,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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