Using a boarder print – Agate Alignment

I follow Wattle and Slate fabrics. I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan like some of the other members in their facebook group but I like the quality of the fabrics and I do like the prints. In their last round, I was particularly drawn to their Agate Alignment and I ordered it in cotton lycra for use down the line and swim. I mean, it seemed rude not to use it for Maggie!

How do you make the most of a print like this?

Well April Hay the designer of this particular print has done a blog post on making a dressing gown using a a squish fabric base. She has done it using as much of the fabric as possible for the least amount of waste. It’s a good blog if you do have a border print and want to make a garment to celebrate the print rather than use a print to make a garment.

Take this photo below of April’s lay plan for her dressing gown. Her border print is uniformly lined up with the hem of the front and back pieces. The same with the sleeve pieces so that the print encircles the cuffs.

Cutting instructions from April Hay’s blog post

You have to do a lot of umming and arring and thinking about where to lay your fabric pieces. Unlike with a check or stripe where it’s all uniform, prints can be organic and flowing so matching isn’t such a big thing but you want your pattern pieces to flow nicely into each other.

How do I lay out my swimsuit?

So for my swimsuit using the same print I needed to do something similar. As I’m making a size medium (and I’m tight), I only need half a metre of fabric. But this doesn’t give me much to work with. I used my printed off pattern pieces to trace off a full sized front and back pieces using brown paper. By doing this I could get a sense of whole panels on the fabric.

My first idea was I could lay the lower end in the border print, so the print is wrapping around the hips. However, the front panel is longer than the back. The crotch seam is actually not directly underneath but towards the back (this is for comfort so that the seam isn’t in a sensitive area). So I think in this instance, the print is wasted on the front panel. I could do some kind of gusset seam underneath but I’m a firm believer in keeping it simple. So this lay is out the window.

If I’d bought more fabric I could’ve laid the pieces parallel with the selvedge. This would look really cool. But as I said before, I’m tight and also there is a vast amount of fabric wasted in the middle, which I’m really against. If I did this, another swimsuit would be quite plain. BUT I haven’t ordered a full metre and I can’t fit my pieces on so moving on swiftly….

I toyed with the idea of having the print wrap diagonally around the body. It would’ve looked amazing but I’m really loathe to break the rules and go off grain, even if it’s with stretch fabric.

Finally, and this was actually my first idea, I could lay my pieces with the print at the top and the lower edges in the middle. A large proportion of the print will be over the bust and plainer around the bum. With the dipped back, it does mean quite a bit of the print is cut off and lost but I feel this is the best use of the print

How does it look?

And now I’ve made the swimsuit, what do you think?

I’ve made view A front and view C back. As some form of strap is needed across the back with the dipped back, I’ve made a low cross between the notches instead of going into the front shoulder straps. I quite like this little variation. It was a little experiment and I think its rather successful but I’ve pulled the straps a little tight as it’s distorted the curve. It’s quite hard to fit yourself. I don’t care, I love my new swimsuit and it’s had loads of compliments.

What’s my parting advice?

Whatever you make with a boarder print, keep it simple. Make something with large panels rather than lots of seams to show off the print. Make garments such as T shirts, shift dresses, trapeze dresses and maxi dresses

Thanks for reading

Rosie xx


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