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Quick tips for choosing a large scale print

Looking to try a large scale print? Below are my top tips for making it work for you.

1. Pattern matching (or lack of) can be more apparent with a large scale print. If you’re worried about pattern matching, or don’t want to bother, look for garments with few details and side seams rather than at centre front or back. If you’re feeling brave and want to try it, lay your fabric out on the flat, rather than on the fold, and cut one piece at a time to ensure accuracy. Pin horizontally while sewing to hold everything in place, or try a line of basting stitches if your fabric is particularly slippery. 

2. If you can, drape the fabric over a mannequin or over the body to determine best placement of the design. This will save you from an…….unfortunate flower placement. It will also give you a good idea of if the fabric will suit you.

3. If you’re worried about being overwhelmed by a print, choose a garment with few details such as ruffles, ties and pockets. In a garment with simple lines, all attention will be on the print, but if the garment itself is detailed, the two will be fighting each other. Have a look for A-lines, boxy tops, or full circle skirts. Tilly and the Buttons’ Lotta or Sew Over It’s Ultimate Shift Dress are two gorgeous makes that really show off a print.

4. A large print can be a bit more flattering in a loose garment than a fitted one. This is not to say a tight fitting one won’t work – but if you’re nervous about how it will look, a loose fitting garment can be a bit more subtle. Try a floaty blouse – I like True Bias’ Roscoe Blouse for experimenting with bold prints.

5. If you’re trying to decide between two large scale prints, have a look at how dense the pattern is. A pattern that is more spread out is likely to look a bit more formal, a bit more of a showstopper, while a print that is closely packed together looks slightly more casual. For more spread out prints, look for garments that will give the fabric more room to show off – long skirts, swishy tops. The skirt of the Senna Dress, by Schultz Apparel, or the Alize Top, by Atelier Scammit, are two patterns that really allow a bold print to work.

Not sure if a fabric will suit your make? Send me an email at, I’m always happy to help!