Detail Inspiration: Border Prints


We’re resuming a feature on the Coletterie where we’ll spotlight all kinds of details. Today, I’m focusing on border prints. This is especially timely since our new Hazel dress looks so lovely in a border print.

Border prints can be so fun to use. They do look fantastic at the hem, but notice how these dresses also use the border to highlight the bodice and waist.

Have you used border prints before?

Vintage Yellow Dress, Erdem, Vintage Blue Dress

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

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Comments 22


I have just discovered the joy of border prints with a fantastic 70s curtain set I picked up while thrifting recently. I’ve never worked with them before so am tossing up between using it at the hem or getting a bit crazy with it. With two curtains perhaps I could try both…

Vanessa twinklesparkleshine.wordpress.con

Border prints always look so fabulous!.. But admittedly I have always been nervous using them! I have some gorgeous silk I have been saving for about ten years… Very inspiring pictures, maybe it is “time” to sew it up!


I’ve never worked with border prints, but I would never thought on anything different as using them on the bottom of a skirt. This picks are great!


I made a pair of maternity capri pants out of denim with an embroidered border. I got nothing but compliments on them, wore them for three pregnancies and then passed them around to all of my friends who also got nothing but compliments on them. I love how a little detail like that can elevate a very simple article of clothing to something special (and it is an easy thing that can totally make you look like a pro)


Oh border prints, how you elude me! I am always on the hunt for them, but I never find good ones with out a crazy hunt. I love these florals with the bigger size. Do you know where to find nice border prints? The ones I find are usually vintage, and in limited yardage.


It is really hard to find good border prints! Sometimes you can find cute vintage ones on etsy. We used a Nani Iro print for the purple Hazel and her brand has a few really lovely border prints.


I love border prints…not always easy to find, but when you do, snap it up because it seems other sewers are on the hunt too. In fact, I’m thinking of a particular floral pattern on a black background for a stretch cotton that I’m wondering is still around at the local fabric shop. I’ve waited too long. It’s probably gone. :(


That fabric sounds wonderful!

Maria M.

I’ve used border prints just a handful of times, and typically on an unexpected item, or place — the neckline on a sheath dress, the hem and hem sleeves on a bolero jacket, and once down one side of a caftan. More and more however, I find it hard to find such prints. I’m not one to sew items for myself with bunnies or bears, and that is all I seem to find these days.

As other posters noted, if you find a lovely border print, it would seem prudent to snap it up as it may not be there later. I would love any of the prints you’ve shown here, especially the one on the model.

Daughter Fish

I love using border prints, and should do more of it. Last summer, I was really into using West African prints in this way. These fabrics tend to be so geometric, and designing with them can be really fun.


Lovely, lovely, lovely!


i love love love them !


I have never used a boarder print, but these examples are lovely. It really adds an elegant detail!


I wish I could find some nice border print fabric but it seems very difficult to find. I can imagine lots of beautiful dresses with border prints, I have now to go hunting for the fabric.


Oh, that first dress in yellow is divine.


I love border prints, but have always wondered how to make them work around the bottom of a skirt, as most patterns seem to have a slight curve to the bottom of them. Do you just ignore that and cut it straight?


@Susan, that’s THE challenge with a border print, IMO. I have some woven and knit border prints myself. I’ve picked patterns several times to make them but put them aside, the fabrics are too beautiful (and apparently, rare) for a mistake. I think you need either a) a border print that ends with a wide enough solid stripe that will “hide” minor curves in the hem/seam line or b) a pattern with a straight edge.


I have used a border print before… a lovely yellow tulip silk/cotton batiste that I used to make a blouse. I love love love that blouse!

I was looking for a stripe for my Hazel, but then I found a neat border print that is a Betsy Johnson print. It’s teal green cotton with a large white floral border on one selvage and a narrow white floral border on the other. It was $8 a yard and I couldn’t resist it. I’m sure it will be perfect for Hazel.


I like border prints but I really love embroidered borders! A few years ago I found a fine black cotton with an embroidered border in the red tag fabrics at JoAnn’s – for $3/yd! I snagged it up and kept it in my stash until I found a skirt pattern I liked for it. I agree that it’s difficult to work with a border print if there isn’t enough room at the bottom to compensate for hem curvature. Right now in my stash I have a lightweight purple cotton with an embroidered and scalloped border, waiting to be made into skirts for my girls.

My favorite border print is a skirt that my grandmother made back in the late 50’s or early 60’s – a desert scene of cacti which was mostly pink tones. I haven’t worn it in a while because the fabric is getting a bit more delicate due to age. I used to wear it all the time.


I never thought to use border prints for anything other than a skirt/dress hem. Now my mind is reeling thinking of neckline possibilities. That’s why I love y’all. You constantly make my brain think in new ways, stirring up the creativity. :)


normally i used the border print at the end of clothes and also hand and long skirt.. i sew the traditional clothes known as ‘baju kurung’ ..its very tricky and you need frequently adjust the pattern so that there will enough material to make one set of clothes..the material use normally soft.

Norma Riley

Where do we find about fabric, where to purchase, etc. Thanks

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