Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tips On Matching Plaids

Over the years, I've sewn many garments out of plaid fabric, and I've never been entirely pleased with them. My most recent plaid shirts have not quite matched at the center fronts. They are better-matched than ready-to-wear shirts, but they do not reach the degree of plaid perfection my mother always aimed for. Since I have need of more shirts, and a store of plaid shirtings, I've been looking for advice and tips I haven't already tried. I didn't find much on the Internet that didn't duplicate what I already knew (Cut your pieces one at a time, don't put the boldest plaid line across the point of an ample bosom, and match the horizontal lines at sides and center fronts). However, these three articles offer good advice.

  • Matching Plaids When Making a Jacket You'll find an extensive set of directions, including tips on two-piece sleeves and vertical darts on jacket fronts and backs.
  • Free Sewing Tips: Matching Plaids This site tells how to match plaids at the center front of trousers. Plaid flannel pajama bottoms are shown. These are particularly easy because they are loosely fitted, and the center front seam has minimal curve.
  • Sewing on Plaids by Julie Culshaw This article is less project-specific, but includes tips on wearing plaids, choosing suitable patterns, and sewing techniques. Here's the advice I found most helpful:
    Use a walking foot to avoid seam slippage, which will cause your seams to be slightly unmatched. By far the most accurate method of sewing plaids is a method called "slip-basting". Place your two pieces of fabric together as they will be sewn. Then press back, with the iron, the seam allowance of the top piece. This allows you to see exactly where it will be sewn to the under piece. Now hand sew them together, right along that seam line, slipping through the fold of the top piece, then picking up about 1/8" of the bottom layer. This will hold the two layers in place until you sew them. This technique combined with a walking foot will take care of any seam slippage.

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