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Bohemian Prints: Why adding a border is always a good idea (and how to get it right)

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Words by Lyndsay, Senior Designer.

We get it. You’ve just spent hours painting beautiful elements and crafting a gorgeous flow for your fabric design, isn’t that enough? Of course, you can stop here, but spending just a little extra time adding a detailed border to your print is so worth it. Adding borders to your designs will instantly elevate both the aesthetic and saleability of your fabric print.

Sure, a gorgeous print can pack a punch on its own, but adding a border (or three) gives your customer way more freedom to use the artwork on their product. Read on for 5 top tips on borders and learn how to elevate your fabric designs now.

1. The Aesthetic

Straight up - borders look great. They add personality to the garment, creating points of interest at the hem, sleeve, or flounces of a dress. Borders act as an anchor for the main print and offer a contrast to give the eyes a bit of breathing room. Without them, a busy print can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Not sure where to start? Look to the runways and your favourite brands for inspiration.

If you’re after an authentic look, a lot of traditional paisley and Jacobean designs feature borders at the bottom of the design. Learn more about how to elevate your paisley designs in our last blog post here.

2. Borders Add Value For The Customer

Happy customers. That’s the aim of the game. Look at it from their point of view - buying designs with production-ready borders takes extra work off their shoulders. They get more bang for their buck and a more versatile file to play with.

Borders can be used in so many different placements that a purchase becomes infinitely more versatile - and will set your work apart. Print-savvy in-house teams may take your artwork and re-work it into a whole collection of co-ordinate prints. Having pre-made borders makes their lives that bit easier.

3. It's Creatively Satisfying

As a Senior Designer, I’ve spent countless hours creating Paisley and Jacobean prints. The ones I’m most proud of all have borders that end up looking great in garments. From a creative point of view, it’s super satisfying to make the most out of the motifs you’ve spent so much time and energy crafting. These designs always feel the most ‘finished’ - and often get snapped up by customers the quickest.

Designs with borders really allow your motifs to shine. When you’re creating a border section, it’s super important to think about how to get some mileage from your work. Plus it’s really fun to do. There’s nothing more rewarding than using a few simple tricks to completely transform your motifs and uplift your print in a flash.

Top Tip: Use a contrast colour to ground the main section of the border for a bold, eye-catching hem.

4. Industry Expectations

Sure, designing a great print with a gorgeous flow is your bread and butter as a fabric designer. But in order to give your customer the full package, you’ll need to provide Printer-ready files. Fabulous design skills are a must, but having the technical industry-knowledge to go with them is guaranteed to have your customers coming back for more.

First up you’ll need to be able to design in repeat - both your main print and your border. We give you the low down on this in our Photoshop courses here if you need a reminder (it’s not as hard as it looks when you know how!) As well as this, you need to know how to set up your file to send to the printers. The most economical way to do this, is place the border down the selvage of the fabric, that way the garment pattern pieces can be placed along the border with the least amount of fabric wastage.

The most important thing to remember here is to communicate with your customer. Trust me, getting their exact needs when it comes to setting up files will make your life a lot easier in the long run.

5. Learn How and Add to Your Design Repertoire

Here’s the best bit - you don’t have to create any more elements! You can cleverly transform your existing motifs into infinite new compositions to save time and create dramatic, bohemian borders. All you need to do is learn a few quick photoshop tricks and you’ll soon be dropping beautiful borders into your designs at break-neck speed.

Time-poor but want to uplift your work? Learn our in-house tricks in our new Gouache Paisley course.


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