Today’s Challenge: Fabric with a bold pattern

The fabric that we chose for the jacket Leah is going to wear during her vows is a very stable plain weave 100% cotton fabric fully embroidered with a 3 color repeating pattern (blue vines, red leaves and small gold flowers).

Fabric challenge #1:  The embroidery is very bold and has small splashes of color that are very far away from each other in a irregular pattern.  Your eye is really drawn to these parts of the fabric.  This means I really have to make those splashes of color (the red leaves in particular) look like they line up, and make sure they are strategically placed on Leah’s body.Fabric Challenge #2:  the repeating pattern is very large.  The pattern in the embroidery only repeats every 22 inches and it is not mirrored side to side.  This means, for example, the bodice pieces will probably only have one bold red leaf on it, and the right side will not be exactly the same as the left side.

Solutions:  In this case, the way the pattern looks on the body aesthetically is more important than grainlines.    Everything is about making the most of whatever symmetry you can find in the fabric.  Trick the eye into believing it is symmetrical, even when the embroidery isn’t.  Mark directly on the paper pattern exactly where the bold leaf ends up so that you can try to match it as exactly as possible for the right and the left.  Small pieces: avoid the bold accent colors as much as possible in layout.  Luckily, embroidery can be seen from the right side and the wrong side of the fabric.

It was tedious and challenging but I believe I was as precise as I think was humanly possible in laying out these pattern pieces for cutting.  I really think the extra work here will pay off when we see how beautiful this embroidered jacket is on Leah.  I can’t wait to start sewing it together!

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

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