Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Matching Plaids (or stripes)

I've always been a little afraid of plaids and stripes. All that matching and one little screw up results in a garment that I won't want to wear. I'm so picky about stripe matching. I won't buy something RTW if the stripes or plaids don't match. Anyway, since I bought this big windowpane plaid for my Chanel jacket, I decided I'd better do some reading up. I want my plaids to be perfect! So, here is what I've learned.

From Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing, I read about a foolproof plaid matching system, but it involves laying out each pattern piece individually on a single layer, and I don't have anywhere in my house big enough where my kids can't reach, so that method was out, although if you do have such a space, it looks like an amazingly accurate method. Check it out.

Since I had to lay out my fabric folded (my dining room table is just wide enough for folded 60 wide fabric), I wanted to make sure that the dominant pattern (in my case the red stripe) lined up both horizontally and vertically.As you can see, that means that my selvages didn't line up, but my plaids did! Since this is a woven in design, the woven lines give you a grain line you can really count on. Since my boucle is very a "shifty" loose weave, I then went the extra mile and pinned together my folded fabric along the red lines, making sure that they aligned on the two layers. I used really long corsage pins. You might be able to see them in the photo above!

Now, on to placing the pattern pieces. I found this great old sewing text at my library called "Unit Method of Clothing Construction" by the Iowa Home Ec. Association. It has this awesome diagram for pattern matching!Easy right! Just match up the letters!!
And look! It really was! Even with the added complexity of the princess seam, it was really not hard. Of course, there are a few additional pointers to remember, but The Iowa Home Ec Assn said it better. Here is how they said to do it...

"Place pattern pieces on vertical lines first, placing CF, CB and Center of sleeve (marked a in the figure) on the same plaid or stripe repeat. Slide pattern pieces up or down to match corresponding notches for horizontal meeting (marked b). Be careful to match at the SEAM LINE not the cutting line. If sleeve cannot be matched at both front and back notches, matching front notch is preferable."

Happy Matching!!


Carrie said...

I love how simple that sounds. Just match up the letters. Now why didn't I think of something like that. It's amazing how much something mulls over in your head and then "poof" you find an "easy" way out there....Great post. Thanks for the tips

Beangirl said...

Girl. How did I miss this? Maybe I wasn't reading blogs then? What the heck?? This is FABULOUS. (I followed through from a pin from Elle C, btw.)

mysweetiepiepie said...

Thanks for the great info.

I've pinned it to my Pinterest sewing board here: