Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bias Cut Butterfly Top Engineered from Border Print

I've finished my first Britex Blogger guest project! You can see it on the Britex blog.

There is a bounty of riches to be found on britexfabrics.com. 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.

Fabric hanging from m front porch

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.

Auditioning the border placement for the sleeve

Laying out one of the fronts. Just look at the size of that bust dart. ;)

Matching the print

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

Pattern matching at center front

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

Pattern 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
  • created a V-neckline

The length of the top, the shirt-tail hem, and the gently flared sleeve are from the original pattern.

When I cut the back pieces, I had an area at the hem that ended abruptly at the selvedge edge, due to the print matching.

So I patched it. I didn't have an exact match for the print, so I inserted a piece that was very close.

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.

I love it!

(Note: I am wearing the top with black denim pants that I made using Katherine Tilton pattern, Vogue 8837. Sadly this pattern (one of my favorites) is now out of print.)

Thanks to Britex for providing the fabric!