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Bias Cut Top Engineered from Border Print

August 19, 2014 by Communing with Fabric 7 comment(s)


Hi, Britex readers! I am Shams, and I blog over at Communing with Fabric. I am excited to join the ranks of Britex bloggers, and I am happy to share my first project as guest blogger!

There is a bounty of riches to be found on Where should a newbie guest blogger begin?

As I love border prints, and I also have a soft spot for paisley fabrics, it didn't take me long to settle on this beautiful 100% viscose panel and border print from Italy. I made a bias, V-neck top using view C of Vogue 7906 (an out-of-print Vogue Basic Design) as a starting point.

You might ask (and rightfully so), "Is this fabric a panel print? Or is it a border print? Which is it?"

It's BOTH!

Generally, a border print is manufactured with the border placed along one (or both) fabric selvedges. This means that if you want the border to appear along a hem, for example, you have to cut the fabric across the grain.

In this case, they placed the border print from selvedge to selvedge, repeating it every 39", so you can cut the pattern on the grain and still have the border appear along the hem of your garment. (Aside from the 18" border, the rest of the 39" panel features a turquoise background scattered with what-I-think-are stylized leaves.)

However, if you know me at all, you know that I like the unexpected. I spent days (maybe weeks) deliberating on how to use this wonderful fabric. I would chose a design and then, days later, I'd reject that idea and go back to the drawing board. I made, and changed, my mind at least 5 times. There are so many ways you can use a border print. In fact, I've created a Pinterest board with all sorts of inspiration for borders and panels.

I finally decided to use three panels of this fabric to make a top, placing the border along the neckline on a 30° bias angle, and matching the print at center front, center back, and the shoulders. Using a 30° bias, instead of a 45° bias, creates a deeper V-neckline and the causes the print to meet at a pleasing angle. (There is no such thing as the "bias police"! You don't have to use a 45° angle bias, so long as you are consistent and the fabric behaves well at the angle you've chosen.)

Have you ever heard of an engineered print? An engineered print, also called a placed print, uses a print strategically as a design element; the print is possibly even designed for use in a specific garment. I engineered the extra wide (18") printed border to create a symmetric "butterfly" effect. The sleeves are cut on the straight of grain with the border at the top of the sleeve cap.


I didn't want the solid fuschia edge near my face, so I cut the front to exclude the fuschia entirely.

IMG_8101_copyPattern matching at center front

The fuschia appears only at center back, where I quite like it.

IMG_8019_copy2Pattern matching at center back

I performed quite a few pattern alterations: enlarged and lowered the bust darts, added small darts at the back neckline, drafted a back neck facing, removed the button front closure, narrowed the shoulders, slightly reshaped the armholes (a side effect of the bias), shortened the sleeves, and created a V-neckline. The length of the top, the shirt-tail hem, and the gently flared sleeve are from the original pattern.

This floaty top is absolutely wonderful to wear in warm weather! Despite the fact that uses a woven fabric, has no closure, and uses darts for a closer fit, the bias has enough give that it pops on and off over the head. It skims the body but doesn't cling. It also flutters beautifully in the breeze.

IMG_8088_copyI love it!


Thanks to Britex for providing the fabric!

7 Response to Bias Cut Top Engineered from Border Print

  • Ladyslipper says:

    Beautiful job of incorporating the borders and panels into your design. The top looks wonderful on you.

    August 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm

  • Karen says:

    Shams is one of my favorite sewing bloggers. She always thinks out ot the box, sews with exceptional skills, and writes a friendly blog. Britex is lucky to have her! This beautiful top confirms my accolades.

    August 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

  • Britex Fabrics says:

    Shams IS amazing! Thank you for all the supportive comments. Many more Shams-made projects to come.

    August 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

  • Kathleen O'Brien says:

    Oh, my! Another Shams exclusive couture top! You are a genius and made the fabric really work perfectly for you. So, so lovely. Thanks for showing us how to "make it work" (Tim Gunn!) . Inspiring.

    August 19, 2014 at 6:04 pm

  • Rose in SV says:


    I admire how you selected fabric sections that you liked the most. Great job on achieving the symmetry!

    Rose in SV

    August 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

  • KarlaB says:

    Beautiful fabric! Lovely top! Great job engineering the fabric and pattern, and explaining it all to us!

    August 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm

  • Judi says:

    Stunning fabric and an absolutely awesome top!!!!!!!!!

    August 20, 2014 at 8:30 am