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About Placement Prints and How to Sew with Them

In fashion, “placement print” is what you call a fabric that has a large motif or design that is then strategically placed on a garment for maximum impact. A placement print can have one large graphic that appears only once in the garment, or it can have large, repeating motifs that need to be strategically positioned when cutting out a pattern. Here are some examples of placement prints in recent fashion:

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Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2013 dress with central motif.

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Dolce & Gabbana top and shorts, Spring 2013, showing large repeating motifs strategically placed.

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Christopher Kane top, Spring 2013, with large dominant motif.

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Oscar de la Renta Spring 2013 dress with motif placed in the middle of the dress.

Placement prints are stunning to wear, but they provide extra challenges to home sewers. Here are some tips from Mood for working with placement prints:

  • If you find a placement print fabric in-store, take the bolt with you to the nearest mirror and then drape the fabric over your body. Place the motifs where you want them to appear in your garment. Do you like the way the fabric looks on you? Walk away from it if you don’t.
  • If you are buying online, be sure the pattern repeat measurement is specified. At Mood we try our best to show the entire panel or repeat if the fabric features a large motif(s). Take a tape measure and check the size of the pattern repeat on your body to get a better idea of how the motif will look on you and your garment.
  • Bring your pattern pieces to the store. This way you can lay out your pattern on the fabric and quickly eyeball how much fabric you’ll need to accommodate strategic placement of motifs. If you’re shopping online, use the panel size information and approximate laying out your pattern at home. If the fabric is not sold in panels, then buy at least an extra half yard or as much as is needed to add an extra large motif to your yardage. You don’t want to skimp on fabric when you are working with a placement print.
  • Play around some more with your fabric at home, before you cut into it. Try placing the motif on several different parts of your body, not just front-and-center. Position the motif over the part of your body you like best and want to highlight. Or, you can strategically place the motifs to create a slimming effect, as Oscar de la Renta did in the dress above by concentrating the design around the waist and hips. Spend some time online looking at how designers use placement prints to the best effect, and then blatantly borrow their techniques.

 

Here's a beautiful silk twill panel from Chado Ralph Rucci that's now sold out at Mood NYC but may still be available at Mood LA (not sold online). It's a strikingly beautiful print just on its own, but look how stunning it is as a simple coat.

Here’s a beautiful silk twill panel from Chado Ralph Rucci that’s now sold out at Mood NYC but may still be available at Mood LA (not sold online). It’s a strikingly beautiful print just on its own, but look how stunning it is as a simple coat.

Take a look at some of the panel prints Mood currently has online: FP25966C, FS23873C, and FR25901C.  Have you ever made anything with a placement print? I’m almost finished with my shirt made from a Thakoon print that has gigantic paisleys on it, and I hope to share it here soon. Stay tuned!

 

One Response to “ About Placement Prints and How to Sew with Them ”

  1. Pauline Granstrom

    I have used large Japanese floral prints in this manner. It takes time and thought BEFORE you even think about cutting into the fabric. But is fun and the result is fantastic

    434 days ago   |