Thursday, May 06, 2021

Black/White Border Print Shirtdress

As you know, I started making some late winter/early spring shirtdresses using my TNT shirtdress pattern earlier this year. This one was also finished in late January/early February but got buttonholes & buttons the first weekend in May. Dragging my feet much! LOL!

This fabric was purchased in April 2020. Before I bought it I was talking about it with Gaylen and she was so-so on it. But I saw something in it and went ahead and purchased it.  Then I found this dress online at Lane Bryant that was made from my fabric and I was so thrilled!

While I like how Lane Bryant used the print to emphasize the waist and hemline. I chose to use it a little differently.  I love h
ow a border print gives you so many opportunities to manipulate the fabric. It's what I love about working with them.

Supplies ~

4 yards of a crepey ponte knit purchased from Fabric Mart

1/2 yard of 1/4" elastic from the notions collection

11 1/2" black & white buttons from the button collection

Every supply used was already in the Resource Center.  Nothing was recently purchased to make the dress. I love when my collections work together like that!

Working with Border Prints ~

If you've been following me for awhile you know I love border and panel prints. I've sewn with quite a few and own a lot more of them. I thought I would drop a few tips I use to decide what to buy and how to use them.

Buying first ~

I look for border prints that can be used in more than one direction.  There are a lot of border prints out there that are only on the bottom of the fabric. If they're too directional, I don't purchase them.  Mainly because the print works best at the bottom of a garment. I'm looking for more versatility.

o A larger border print draws my attention faster than a smaller one.

o A mixed print & stripe or varied prints really makes my heart sing.

o Fabric content usually doesn't matter...I will figure out a way to use it!

Using them ~

My most important tip is to think outside the box and use it in a place that will really make it stand out.  A collar, a cuff, button band, insert into a side or back seam...somewhere it makes an impact...brings a little drama.

I have a rule of three.  Meaning that wherever I use the border print it has to be duplicated 3x in a garment. I also like odd number of uses over even uses.  So this meant creatively cutting the collar and collar stand with the stripe.  That way the stripes would appear at the top of the dress, the hem of the sleeve and the hem of the dress. Thus tying the fabric pieces together.

I've written a blog post highlighting my love of border prints and how to use them here if you want more information.

Construction ~

There are no new construction techniques in this make. This is a TNT sew using the fabric's border print to make it different from all the other versions. The changes I made were to...

o  Lengthened and widen the sleeves to get full sleeves with elastic in the sleeve hem

o  Cut the fabric so that the border appeared on the collar, sleeve and skirt hems

o  To emphasize the border print I cut the back skirt in half so I could match the border all the way across the bottom.

o  Used my standard button front opening on the skirt bottom. A 1.5" fold over of the fabric to match the front facing on the bodice. 

A Few Pictures ~


Parting Shot ~

My new complex has amazing green spaces. From my sewing room window, I can watch people walk their dogs, kids play and ride their bikes, and my neighbors do yoga as well as take their daily walks. There is an amazing hill that the kids sled down during the winter and my daughter took these pictures at the top of the hill.  Of course I had to take my high heeled wedges off to walk down the hill!

All of these spaces are steps from my front door and I appreciate it now that spring has arrived. No more figuring out the best naturally lit spaces in my apartment for me time to set up a space in my "Resource Center" to take pictures when the cold dark times return in 8 months.

Finally, I'm headed back to work in my office 2 days a week - whichever 2 days I want.  I haven't decided whether to do Monday & Wednesday or Wednesday & Thursday but it's inspired me to sew again.  Now that these are finished, I'm going to be hitting up the cut pile to make some of the spring/summer pieces I've cut out.  I'm happy for spring.  I'm happy I will be leaving home and I'm really happy that people are getting vaccinated so I can leave home! Thankyouverymuch! *LOL* always more later!


  1. How nice to see your smiling face! The dress is really pretty and I love the way you used the border at the hem, cuffs and collar. It sounds like your new place is working out really well and the resource centre continues to provide. Thanks for sharing your projects, they really make my day.

  2. Wow Carolyn, this dress looks fabulous on you! I love how you used the border print and I notice this and the last shirtdress were made from ponte knits. I would never have thought to use that fabric for a shirtdress and now you have me thinking about it. They look great!

    1. Graca - ponte is such a stable and forgiving knit! It also comes in so many different weights that a lighter/draper weight really worked for this dress.

  3. Your maxi dress is beautiful. I don't even know how to sew knit fabric. It feels so good to have all your notions and not have to run out search, buy, and get back into the groove. Love your new home too. Green spaces are so comforting to me. Even though I am vaccinated, I still wear a mask, everywhere. My trust issues? Living in a a ... blood red state? My rant for another place and day. Thank you so much for sharing. You are so very talented. Be safe.

    1. shakinground - I love having everything stored here. It makes it so much easier when I decide to work on a project. No waiting for a trip to the shops...and thank you for your kind comments.

  4. I love how you use different fabrics, so many ideas! This is another great dress.
    Here's to rejoining the big, wide world...take care and stay safe x

  5. Lovely! You nailed this!

  6. Thanks for sharing your "rule of three"! I use that idea in other areas like gardening and quilting, but haven't applied it to garment design. Fun!

  7. This dress is a stunner. I can see you wearing it to work, and getting loads of compliments, and it making other peoples’ day too, because they get to see it.

  8. Beautiful dress! Thanks for the tips on working with border prints.

  9. What a sharp look! I love a black and white print and the border print elevates it to the next level.

  10. Caroline, I love the dress, your version with this border print is so effective with your rule of 3. I am always attracted to black and white patterns and stripes. It is good to be surrounded by nature now maybe we can get to something like normal life again. I've got my vaccines and hope everyone else does too.

  11. It always takes a while to get settled into a new space, eh? I am glad that the inside sewing spaces are now supplemented with a good outdoor photo studio, and that you are really getting a good spring to make the best of it all! And thanks for the good border advice too

    1. M-C - you're so right about the settling into a new space. I'm still making changes to my sewing rooms...

  12. OH Carolyn, I love your version so much more. I think the stripes at the waist of the LB dress cuts her. Also I like the long of course. Again you make me gasp when I see what you've done as I would never have done that. But You get me thinking and rethinking some of my stash. Thanks much for your inspiration

  13. I do love a good black and white print and as usual you use the border to make this dress different yet again. I feel so fortunate to be vaccinated and able to go out to dinner, see my friends inside without a mask and see my family again! My daughter worked from home until about a month ago and she really had a hard time at first. I wish you a happy return to work.

  14. It looks beautiful! I also like your rule of three, or "odds." I also recall something that odds work well with home decor too. I never thought of applying it in garment sewing.

  15. I love what you continue to produce with border fabric. I like yours better than the Lane Bryant dress. Their intention is probably to create a waist but I think it makes her look stubby.

  16. Another beautiful piece that displays the fabric and your skill so well. Pleased to learn you can now go to work a couple of days a week. We are very lucky down here in New Zealand. Take care and stay safe, Michelle in Wellington, NZ

  17. This is gorgeous! Love the two fabrics together!

  18. Your dress is beautiful, but you always make such great things from border prints that I'd expect nothing less. And I am sure that returning to the office will give you the jolt of inspiration you need for more such lovelies!

    I'm 2 weeks past my second vaccine. My last 2 sons are going for their J&J shots this week, while they have vacation time, and then my entire family is vaccinated. It makes me feel so good. The summer feels brighter already.


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