Thursday, August 11, 2011

Borders, Bias and tattoos

Sewing the Lonsdale dress reminded me a few things, for example, bias is my friend and a skirt pattern with multiple panels works a border print better than a simple A-line skirt.
Email question:
"Can I use an A-line skirt pattern with a border print? I have a silk border print and an Indian Sari with a beautiful woven border.  I haven't tried border prints and I am terrified to mess them up!"

This illustrates why I would not use a simple A-line skirt pattern on border print fabrics.
The border will be cut off by the curved hem in an unappealing way.
Instead, use a skirt pattern with more panels.  One simple solution is to simply add a seam at the center front:
The difference is that the grain line marking has been moved FROM the center of the skirt, to the CENTER OF EACH NEW PATTERN PIECE.  This will make the skirt a little drapier, too, now that the seams are more on the bias.  This is often more flattering, depending on your figure and your preferences.
And I wanted to get back to anon, who asked "why aren't you underlining the skirt?  Is it because it will affect the drapey-ness of the fabric?"
Answer:  Yes, underlining will change the hand (the drapey-ness) of the fabric, but no, that isn't why I chose not to underline.  I was more concerned about the hemlines of the lining and the skirt and I want them to hang freely.  It's possible that the fabric will continue to settle over time, much like a building settles into the ground.  If the underlining fabric settles a little differently than the outer fabric, I don't want any droopiness between the fabric and underlining happening to pull anything out of alignment.  Maybe this fear is irrational (this isn't the leaning Tower of Pisa, after all) and it would have been fine, but - that was my call on this one.  Plus I thought it would feel pretty and fluttery to have the dress and the lining swishing around separately.

The dress is almost finished now.  This progress shot is already outdated, as I continue to sew:
In this photo, the dress is basted together for a fitting.
In other news, my girl is coming home!!  She has lived, worked and travelled Asia for the last three years and I am looking forward to having her stateside again.
in Kuala Lampur, where it's hot and humid :)

in London where it is not hot and humid :D
the zebra is a souvenir from Bangkok
Unrelated note:  When we were at Couture Boot Camp, we went out for dinner one night.  I told Gertie, "Thank you for getting me comfortable with tattoos".  Her reply, "You did that yourself!"


  1. Great tips on working with a border print with an a-line skirt. I am loving the progress notes / pictures. Your daughter is precious. I am sure she will be happy to be home as much as you are happy to have her home.

  2. What good information. Very clear and easy to understand with your drawings! Thanks

    Congrats that your daughter will be stateside again! Our niece and her DH are just back stateside :O). We just had the best visit with them.

  3. Thank you for the follow-up. Are you simply making a seam, or are you also adding fabric? If the former, I would think that the new seam would serve as the de facto grainline.

    Congratulations on the return of your daughter. Your daughter's tattoo is no big deal compared to what I've seen out there, but I can't say I'm a fan of tattoos.

  4. anon, I am making a whole new seam.
    If you add extra fabric, a viable option, you will have a gathered waistline. Not a great look for those of us with a tummy.

    And thanks everyone for your well wishes on me and my daughter. I agree, she is precious!

  5. Thank you for the A line/border print instructions. I will now go forward with courage on my beautiful border prints!

  6. Great post on thinking about border prints and skirts. I'm dying to try my hand at making one. Maybe this fall?!

    Enjoy having your daughter back!

  7. nice that your daughter is coming home :) it was probably a wonderful experience but you must be soo happy to have her closer.

  8. My daughter came back home too and it's wonderful!!! Thanks for your explanations on 'A' line skirts and borders.

  9. Your dress is totally cute. I know you'll be glad to have your daughter back toward home.

  10. Thank you for the tutorial on the border prints! Glad to hear your daughter is coming home. I have tattoos so maybe I'm biased but to me they are a beautiful artwork and a way to express ourselves.

  11. I will never be comfortable with tattoos and I might just buy shares in a product used for tattoo removal. It will be a boom industry in the 2020s.

  12. Oh no now I am feeling guilty for being so far away from my dad, oh well hopefully he will be happy I didn't get any tattoos! Your Lonsdale dress is looking great and I love the cute little border placement illustrations.

  13. Great news for you that your dd is coming home.
    The dress is lovely.


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