Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Border Debate


Blah…blah…blah ….That’s all we hear on the news these days, what with Brexit, border polls, import/export and other stuff – what will happen to the border between Northern Ireland (UK) and Southern Ireland (EU)? At the moment, there isn’t a border, we just drive along a road and all of a sudden the road signs are ringed in green and the speed limit is in KPH instead of MPH.

I’m not here to discuss political borders but border print fabric – much less contentious and infinitely more colorful.

I purchased two panels of border print polys from some or other ebay shop and they just lay about the sewing room for ages while I waited for inspiration to hit. Eventually I just took the scissors and cut….

First up is Fave top (another freebie) in a huge blue flower border print. This pattern is designed for stretch knits but even as there’s no stretch in my fabric it sews up fine because the top is so loose. If using a woven, just cut a little more generously and/or reduce the seam allowances.


Most important measurement with a woven is the sleeve hem, so take note and make this a little wider than normal.

On my left it’s all white and on my right it’s all swirly blue flowers.


Next, a straight up and down halter neck holiday dress for sultry evenings on a location much closer to the equator than where I am presently; cocktail in hand, gentle waves in an azure blue ocean quietly breaking on white sandy beaches with a full moon and no mosquitoes – Yeah, like my life is like that!


There’s no pattern with this one – here’s how you too can sew this up in about 1 hour and stun your friends and relatives with Cote d’Azur style in the Irish summer rain.

  1. Find border print fabric in a suitable weight and drape – rayon, poly, silk etc.
  2. Measure the widest part of your body (hips) and purchase enough width of fabric to go around plus about 4″ (10cm) minimum wearing ease and don’t forget about seam allowances.DSCN7114
  3. Cut fabric into two rectangles – front and back.
  4. Sew sides seams up to a comfortable underarm wearing position (mine is a tad high, so take care). Leave 6″ (15cm) open at the hem for two side splits to allow for walking.DSCN7115
  5. Shape the neck, front and back, from the underarm by cutting triangles off. The angle and size of these triangles will determine the ‘coverage’ at front and back. Cut with care first and then gradually increase the angle as you become bolder.
  6. If you feel it’s necessary, add a couple of bust darts for better fit.
  7. Turn under a narrow hem at the sides and sew. Make a channel at the top edge of the necks. But do it neater than I did!DSCN7215
  8. Purchase, source or re-purpose a necklace that is about 18″ (45cm) in length. DSCN7216
  9. Thread this through the neckline channels and secure the chain in place with a few hand tacks. Some minor adjustments may be needed to ensure even gathers at the neck edge. I have some to do yet……Make sure you leave the clasp easily accessible. This is your means of getting in and out of the dress.DSCN7218
  10. Hem, if you want or just leave the selvedge edge (as I did).
  11. Style and wear as desired.

This can truly be one of those day-to-night dresses. With a belt, the dress can be hoiked up to any length, the top draped over and may even resemble a skirt and top…….

Sewn in a finer fabric and with possibly a bit more width, it would also make a perfect pool cover-up so you can go and fetch those cocktails in style.

So there you have it – dress and jewellry all in one and in under one hour!


Happy summer sewing people – may the sun shine on your beautiful clothes.

Are you thinking of next season’s sewing yet?


30 thoughts on “Border Debate

  1. Inspired use for border prints! I’m going to keep these in mind for the next time I fall for something with a huge one sided print.

  2. A jazzy print is as good as inspiration as a jazzy cut. Nicely done!

    I have the same problem: coveting certain garments that I wonder if I’d ever get use out of. But sometimes, as with your halter top dress, it’s worth it to dive in.

    May I compliment you on your choice of shoes especially and style eye in general? You have an eye for lines and trends, and your modern haircut and silhouette put together a fresh and contemporary look. Inspiring. To those of us over 30 kg, under 200 cm, over age 18.

    Now grab a cocktail and go saunter by your pool party. Happy July.

  3. Oh my goodness! Both of these are gorgeous – and such creativity. You look stunning both – certainly ready for some fabulous summer fun.

  4. Each garment is stunning in its own way. Love the scale and colour of each. Two very big Bravas!

  5. Gorgeous garments!
    Your inspiration has given me some ideas for a certain piece of silk…
    So special thanks for this post!

  6. Both are stunning border prints that you used so effectively to make gorgeous garments! Love both!

  7. Beautiful as always! Thanks for pointing out to the Fave Top pattern, could be something for a printed silk lounging in my fabric collection.

  8. I love both creations ! Well done !

  9. Ruthie, what about a beachfront stand in one of these exotic locales you are referring to? You could sell these dresses and make enough money to keep you in all the cocktails you like? I love the dress, the possibilities are endless about how you could make it look and such a great holiday item, ready for any occasion! As always, your sews are brilliant.

    • Thanks Susan. These, unfortunately are ‘wishful’ sewing garments but then…you never know when they might come in handy.
      I’ll have to learn how to mix a cocktail……..

  10. These are two gorgeous makes! I particularly love the way the border works on the blouse, but a dress worn three ways is spectacular!!

  11. Lovely summer clothing Ruth; shame the rain is here in the U.K!
    May I say, loving the new hairstyle. Enjoy your summer and thank you for supplying us with new ideas.

  12. Wow. I really love both these. The fabric has just made the top. Love it from the back too. The dress is classy definitely one for cocktails whilst waiting for dinner on your cruise. (Captains table of course), it’s also really slimming. Love the shoes as well. X

  13. Stunning Ruth – even in an Irish mizzle! They will both look fabulous with a regulation cocktail. Have a great holiday 😃

    • Thanks Kim. My holidays this year are camping and bunking down in someone else’s holiday house. Of course I could always pack these, just in case…..

  14. So, so cute! Thanks for sharing.

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