How to pattern match and adjust the Dorothy pattern for a border print.

I have recently been collaborating with Makower UK fabrics, showcasing their beautiful craft weight cotton fabrics being made into some of the styles from my sewing pattern range.

Most of the Makower UK collections feature a border print design which is just asking to be used on the Dorothy dress. The Dorothy dress skirt is cut slightly curved which upsets the straight lines of the border print.

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to adapt the skirt pattern and pattern match for using a border print on the Dorothy dress.



The amount of fabric you need will vary depending on the pattern repeat. It will also depend on if you want to pattern match at the side seams or all the way round. I used two metres for this three year old version. I did use remaining pieces for the bodice lining instead of using the sash fabric. Therefore this dress used approximately 50cm more than the pattern asks for. 

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Measure the lower edge of the Dorothy skirt pattern piece of your chosen size from centre front to the side edge. Make a note of your measurement. In this example 51cm/20″.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Take a measurement for the length of the skirt from edge to edge of the pattern piece. You can of course adjust longer or shorter as desired. Take a note of your measurement. In this example 42cm/16.5″.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Fold the fabric keeping the lower selvedge edges matched. This is the opposite way than you usually fold the fabric because the border is printed on the selvedge edges. Bring the fabric in until you have enough width for the skirt front panel (the first measurement you took- 51cm/20″).

Using a pattern master or ruler with a right angle draw a line at right angles to the fold at the length you want the skirt(42cm/16.5″). Take this measurement from above the white border on the selvedge. From this line draw another right angle at the width you want ( 51cm/20″).

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Cut along these lines cutting off the white selvedge edge. This is your front skirt panel.

Pattern matching the side seams.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Lay this cut panel on the remaining fabric so that the pattern matches up. Ensure you have enough fabric to the side for the width of the panel. This time you are cutting the back panels.

Mark the edge of the panel with chalk.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Mark a line all the way along the edge (side seam) keeping it squared with a right angle ruler.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons

Peel back the panel to reveal the chalk line and draw a second chalk line 3cm to the right of the first line. Measure from this line the width of the back panel (this is not on the fold) using right angles mark in the measurements for centre back seam and waist seam. Cut the panel out.

Repeat this process to make the other back panel.

If you are making the smaller sizes or are happy to use a little extra fabric you could cut one long panel without side seams. I would still mark where the side seams would be to make it a little easier to distribute the gathers.

The centre back seam won’t match using this method. If you would like all the seams matched the easiest way would be to omit the side seams and work out the closest measurement on the pattern repeat to the size you want. The skirt may be a little more or less full depending on the pattern repeat.

Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons
Dorothy hack - Bobbins and Buttons
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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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