Making Lemonade

I often buy fabric online. I know that there are people who never buy fabric online. They worry that they will hate their purchase once they see it in person. Usually, I’m really happy with my online purchases.

This was not the case with this fabric.  I had mistakenly assumed that the lozenges were tall and thin rather than wide. I also didn’t read the colors properly on my computer screen. I had thought that there was a rich red in the fabric. Instead it was a not very interesting magenta.


I hadn’t paid very much for the yardage but it bothered me each time I saw it in my stash. today I decided to turn it into a dress. My friend Ann deals with border prints by cutting off the borders and throwing them away.


I love border prints. I decided to make this into a cowl necked dress. I like how  you can get visually complicated shaping with relatively little effort.  I cut the back normally, as a fitted tank dress.

For the front, I got a little tricky.  I was using an existing   dress as a pattern. I just bent the bodice sideways. The dotted line indicates the new placement, and I cut around the side in it’s new place and used X-ray vision to cut the neckline properly.

cowl dress  diagram 001

border print dress (2)

This was the result. I added the border to the bottom because otherwise the dress would have been too short for me, a 51 year old with less than stellar legs.

I cut the border like so:

border print 001

I sewed together the border ( imperfectly). If I were more of a perfectionist I would have ended up with perfectly mitered stripes. Aligning the side seams of the border piece and the dress was easy.


This a closer view of the bodice.

border print dress (1)

So the end result not so great fabric is  now a not bad dress.


  1. Yes, it's a very pretty dress!

  2. Very clever! and interesting that the dress motifs give no clue to the fancy pattern cutting!
    One of these days you will have to get some photos of you in these type of dresses. you are very good at them.
    Sandy in the UK

  3. Sandy- I think it's because the center line remains the center line... I think that the language of pattern drafting may be needlessly complicated. you don't reallly have to take your paper pattern and cut it into several slices, spread the slices and re draw the pattern.. I use a finished garment as my pattern..and make guesstimated edits in a fairly crude way. it usually works well enough.

    Frankly, I was hoping for a more dramatic front drape. Buit Given the time it took me to do the figuring out and cuttiong...was maybe 5 minutes, so was worth the lack of matching exactly the vision in my head.

    I spent years looking at pattern drafting books and couldn't really understand what they were getting at. Working in my bass-akwards way feels so much easier for me. no complicated math to figure out...just a bit of manipulation and I'm done.

    I hate having my photo taken. So imagine the dresses on a lumpier body than my dress form.


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