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Plaids & pattern matching

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Matching Patterns. Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers Matching Patterns.

Matching Patterns

Match prints along seams (Sewaholic) One of the biggest pet peeves is seeing unmatched prints, stripes and plaids on RTW (ready-to-wear) garments.

Match prints along seams (Sewaholic)

It seems so lazy! Especially on higher end garments. (This shirt isn’t high-end but still! Not even the slightest effort to match the plaids..) Since I’m a production manager as my day job, I know that it costs extra to match your seamlines. But that’s the wonderful thing about sewing your own clothes, you can take the extra time to get it right! When I cut out the Coral Garden skirt, I wanted to get it perfect. Matching Plaids: A Step-by-Step Guide. We’re switching topics for the day, from blouses to tartan plaid capes, with a post on matching plaids!

Matching Plaids: A Step-by-Step Guide

Matching plaid is all about the cutting. Matching Prints for Borders. Check out that Tart in the Tartan! Here it is: the dress-that-you-probably-already-know-what-it-looks-like-because-you've-seen-so-much-of-it-in-previous-posts!

Check out that Tart in the Tartan!

It's a simple fitted dress with 3/4 sleeves and collar and cuffs in some fake leopard scraps that I recently rediscovered in my parents garage. Someone in Australasia may still have an awesome tailored jacket made from this leopard tucked away in their wardrobe - I remember patterning and cutting the sample where I used to work about seventeen years ago! I kept some of the small offcuts for Mum because she was into making teddy bears back then. Thankfully she never used it - so today I get to have a luxurious collar and cuffs on my dress!

I tried to get some detail shots, but the photographer is no dressmaker... "Make sure you get a good shot of the back vent" "The what? " Sewing Checks - A Magic Pat-Trick! While I'm still on the topic of sewing checks or plaids, let me show you this little trick for sewing seams together so that they match perfectly!

Sewing Checks - A Magic Pat-Trick!

I was shown this by one of the sample machinists (Pat) at my first job in the clothing industry, where I was a "design room assistant", that is in reality - the design room dogsbody! I stayed there four years so it couldn't have been too bad - and I learnt a lot of things I still value today from those who had already spent a lifetime in the industry. And I do a good cup of tea ;) Here goes: Place your pieces right sides together as you normally do when sewing a seam. Then on the top layer turn back the seam allowance, less 1mm: Start sewing at 1cm, just inside the fold line - you will be sewing through three layers. This is how it looks when sewn: Cutting Checks and Plaids - Part 1. Cutting checks isn't hard at all, so don't let that idea prevent you from giving them a go!

Cutting Checks and Plaids - Part 1

It does require some extra time and planning though - trying to do it in a rush isn't really a good idea! Here are a few general tips from me:Lay up your cloth, lay out the pattern pieces and decide where everything is going to match first vertically, then horizontally. Draw guidelines and match points on your pattern to remind you where everything is planned to line up - you'll spot a few random scribbles on mine!

Remember that you need to match the stitching lines, not the cutting lines. When all planning is done, double-check everything! The answer is, it depends on your check and your pattern. Cutting Checks or Plaids - Part 2. Lay the pieces right sides together, taking particular care that the checks are square, and not skewed - ie they are perfectly parallel and perpendicular to each other like they were designed to be.

Cutting Checks or Plaids - Part 2

Position the pattern piece in place and chalk around it: Cut out the top layer only: The reason for cutting only the top layer is clear when you now examine the under layer - see how most of the checks are slightly misaligned? They need adjusting so that we will have a perfect mirror image! Nudge the top layer of cloth with your fingers until the checks line up exactly, both horizontally and vertically: Now cut out the under layer, using the top layer as a guide, so you end up with two perfect mirror images. If you do this to all the panels as you are cutting, they will be a breeze to match when it is time to sew them up! Are you getting tired of this fabric yet? Oh, and I accidentally had my credit card on me and it purchased some new fabric before I could blink and stop it..... Sewing Plaids / Amy Alan. Once you have your plaids cut out, what’s the best way to make sure that the stripes, lines and checks line up?

Sewing Plaids / Amy Alan

By pinning or basting, of course! There are a few different techniques for matching plaids, and the one you choose to use can be determined by the shape you’re trying to piece together, and also by the complexity of the plaid pattern you’re trying to match.