The eyes, the eyes: print placement

Remember this peacock feather print fabric? I’ve spent a lot of time staring at it over the last few days, trying to work out the best way to make a dress out of it. I swear I will be seeing peacock feather eyes in my sleep tonight.

I was originally attracted to the print by the very strong lines of mirror symmetry, which run along the crossgrain. The fabric selvedges are along the top and bottom of the picture below. I thought at first the print had repeats both vertically and horizonally. However if you look closely it turns out that the two rows of red medallion motifs in the picture are not identical, although you have to go a little way down from the motif to see the difference. Compare the six green eyes below each red circle. The ones from the top row are larger and spaced slightly differently to those in the middle row. So this is a frieze print rather than a wallpaper print.

(Image heavily manipulated in an attempt to get consistent contrast throughout)

The dress pattern I’m using is Burda 111-03-2010. I picked it because the front and back skirts and the bodice back are all cut on the fold, which interrupts the print as little as possible.

Burda 111-03-2010

But how to place the pattern on the fabric? I wasn’t sure where to put the bold motifs. I tried sketching the dress on my croquis in the GIMP and laying that over my photos of the fabric. Here are two versions, one with a red medallion at the waist and one with the pink feather motif centred on the skirt front. I prefer the version on the right with the brighter colours are in the centre; it seems to highlight the symmetry of the design.

Patterns overlaid onto technical drawing

Of course cutting it out was a bit more complicated because I had to think about pattern placement on the sleeves as well as the skirt. Here’s what I ended up with (colours slightly enhanced).

I put the red medallions on the sleeves at the front. I’m hoping they’ll give an effect a bit like butterfly wings.

Peacock dress cut fabric pieces - front

On the back I wanted the eye to be drawn to the top of the dress rather than my backside so I put the pink feathers on the bodice back and the red medallion just below the bodice seam; it should land on the small of the back.

Peacock dress cut fabric pieces - back

The pattern won’t match up at all along the seams but it’s a busy enough print that it won’t matter, I hope.

23 thoughts on “The eyes, the eyes: print placement

  1. Great job! I think you’ve arranged this perfectly. The red medallions look just perfect where you’ve put them. And so does everything else…very well balanced, to my eye.

    You have a really wonderful eye for detail. This dress will be beautiful.

  2. Firstly, what amazing fabric…I love it! Secondly, you are so clever for figuring this out so perfectly. I agree that the placement on the right was the best and your cut-out pieces are looking perfect. Can’t wait to see this beauty finished!

  3. Oh my god. I’m SO glad you had the last of that fabric, as I would never have done it justice. I’d have thrown it together with nary a thought for the print. Clever, clever you. You have done that cotton proud. Quick work, too!

  4. I’m also glad you blogged about your process for using the print in a way that works for you. It’s so easy to get excited and just start cutting.

  5. I think you did a fantatic job with the placement. I love how it shows off the symmetry of the print. It will make a stunning dress!

  6. Love the reference to wallpaper patterns – I did my maths honours thesis on just this topic! I also think you have this arranged beautifully – your placement of the eyes and feathers takes the beholder’s eye just where you want it to go.

  7. That is absolutely to die for fabric, and all the thought you put into the placement definitely paid off. I can’t wait to see it on a person, I bet it will look great with such a flowy design.

  8. I agree. I think it is going to look great. Can’t wait to see it on you. Pattern placement can be time consuming, but worth the trouble in the final garment.

  9. Wow this fabric is amazing, I assumed it was a smaller scale from the first photo so no wonder you carefully planned your layout. It’s going to be a gorgeous and unique dress.

  10. I love how much you thought about this. I haven’t had a to work with such a complex print yet but I may borrow your method in the future…. and it looks like this is going to turn out AMAZING! What a print!

  11. Catherine, how absolutely stunning! Your planning and attention to detail is really going to pay off; I cannot wait to see you in this dress!

  12. Oh this is is going to be way gorgeous. I love the thought you are putting into this too though you have to really else will almost waist the print.

  13. I love how you worked out how to use the print to its best advantage. I’m sure your finished garment will be a testament to your hard work and wonderful use of the print.

  14. Oh, Catherine! It is like a beautiful art piece! I was fascinated with your process to decide the layout! The croquis, the photo of the fabric used with the line drawing….just fascinating!

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