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How to Lay Out A Pattern On A Border Print


Border print fabric is printed along one or both selvedges (page link), along the border of the fabric. The border can be narrow or wide, or it can cover the entire width of the fabric. Some variations of a border print include ombré fabrics that fade from dark to light or color to color across the width of the fabric. Eyelet fabrics with scalloped edges can be treated as border print fabrics and work well in patterns designed for border prints.

Border print on Cambie Dress

Border print on Cambie Dress

Border print on Cambie Dress Skirt

Border print on Cambie Dress Skirt


Border prints make great skirts and dresses! Full, gathered skirts work well in border prints. Place the border along the hemline for a traditional placement, or place the border at the top of the waist and have the pattern fade down the length of the skirt. When choosing a pattern for a border print fabric, look for patterns where the hemline is cut straight across the grain, not curved. You can use a pattern with a curved hemline, but you’ll lose some of the border detail. There are sewing patterns designed specifically for border prints; look for these as a good choice for border print fabrics.

The hardest part about working with border prints is deciding where to place the print—the cutting and sewing is easy!


  • Analyze the border print fabric. Does the border print run along both selvedges or just one? How deep is the border? Does it cover most of the fabric, or is it decorating a narrow strip along the edge?
  • Border prints with smaller borders are easier to lay out, as the majority of the fabric is solid.
  • Border prints with wide borders are more challenging to lay out as the print needs to be considered for each pattern piece.
  • Take the pattern pieces or the pattern piece diagram and look at the grain lines (page link). That will determine where the border will fall on each piece. Look for straight edges parallel to the grain as ideas for where to place the border: Across a straight neckline? Along a straight hemline? On patch pockets?


How to lay out a pattern on a border print (1)

Fold fabric lengthwise, with the selvedges together. You may want to fold your fabric wrong sides together to make it easier to see the border print as you work.

Start with the largest pieces first. In the example, the largest pieces are the skirt front and back. As you place each piece, make sure to line up the border from piece to piece.

How to lay out a pattern on a border print (2)

For example, on the skirt front and back, make sure the border matches across the side seams. If you place the pattern too high on one side and too low on the other, the seams will look sloppy. The example, left, shows a poorly matched side seam compared to the well-matched side seam, right. Measure up from the selvedge to ensure the seams will match.

How to lay out a pattern on a border print (3)

Use the notches on the bodice pattern pieces to line up the pattern along the print. If there are no notches, line up the underarm seams.

Tips + Notes

  • You may have to change the grain line when working with border printed fabrics in order to get the print where you want it. It’s OK to rotate the grain line 90°, but avoid changing it completely.
  • It’s not necessary to match the actual print across the seams, but you may want to for large prints, stripes along the border or prints with distinct outlines. (See page link for more on matching prints.)
  • Buy extra fabric when working with a border print so you have room to work with the print and create your own cutting layout instead of following the pattern’s layout. Do a trial layout before cutting.
  • If you are placing the border print along the hemline, make sure the garment is the correct length, as hemming it shorter once the garment is sewn may cut off part of the border.
  • To cut fabrics with finished borders, such as scalloped-edge lace, trim off the hem allowance and place the new hemline along the finished edge of the fabric.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine