I’ve had this striped fabric in my stash since my visit to my sister a summer or two ago. It’s a heavier weight knit than what I usually have and I quite like it. The red stripe is quite bright too, which brings the grey, blue and black to life for me.
I had always planned to make this skirt, Vogue 1292, a “Today’s Fit” by Sandra Betzina, and I purchased this striped fabric for that sole purpose.
But you might already know from personal experience how easy it is to get led astray by fabrics and patterns.
Just look at this lady’s smiling face, she is so happy and she looks so cute in her new me-made top. I love the right angled stripes! I want a top like her’s!
So I changed my plans. It didn’t give me a smiley face like her’s though – not in the beginning at least.
I spent a few hours last Sunday afternoon, planning my pattern layout and staring at my fabric. In fabric design (stripes, plaids, etc.), there are horizontal and vertical repeats (number of inches before the pattern starts again on the fabric), and even/balanced patterns (stripes are equal width, equal distance apart) and uneven/unbalanced patterns (stripes and the spaces between them are not equal).
If it isn’t obvious to the eye, the trick to discovering if your stripes or plaids are even, or balanced, is to fold your fabric edge at a 45 degree angle and see if the stripe (or plaid) balance continues smoothly and uninterrupted. When I folded my fabric 45 degrees to check the balance of the fabric, it was disrupted/uneven.
I know when matching stripes you must:
A. Place your first piece on your fabric on grain and hopefully on stripe too. Although some fabrics are sloppy and the stripes do not run on grain! Trace the stripes on to your pattern piece from the fabric below. Cut your first piece. Place this pattern piece for a second cut, on grain, line up the drawn stripes with the fabric stripes and cut an exact copy. Don’t forget you might need a mirror image though, if so, flip you pattern piece over and do the same.
B. Another way is to cut the usual two layers at a time with pinned fabric. I pin at every stripe through both layers on the selvage and the other edge, checking constantly that I am lining both layers up correctly. I have seen some sewists use Wonder Tape instead of pins but that is a lot of waste, in my opinion. Then I place and cut my pattern piece. I still trace the stripes on the pattern pieces so I can match up the fronts and the backs, etc.
Now with this fabric, I quickly realized that not only were my stripes unbalanced but my front bottom piece would be cut with the stripes at right angles, so I tried a few options. The red stripe stood out the most, so … let’s try matching it!
Top red stripe matching.
Top and bottom red stripes matching. Unfortunately I had to put my fabric slightly off grain to match these two stripes and not at a 45 degree angle.
Middle stripe meeting at right angles.
So as I am plotting and planning, Mr Greenthumb walks through the kitchen, notices me laying out my pattern pieces (still) and says:
“You’ll never match those stripes, they aren’t the same width.”
Me: “Yes, I know!” … spoken rather shortly!
So I quickly decide that my time is up. I have decided on my final fabric placement. These stripes are not going to match, so I pick the best unmatched option – middle red stripe matching at right angles.
To double check I folded up the seam allowance on my front top piece and cut off the seam allowance on my front bottom pattern piece, to exactly match up my two pieces. I didn’t forget to add the seam allowance back on when I was cutting out my front bottom piece.
How did it work out? I’m a smiling lady too!
Yes, it’s a Simon-photobomb.
I’m examining all the cat hair I have on my top already.
Simon’s hanging around because he thinks he can go outside.
Funny thing about this pattern … it’s almost identical to Vogue 9107, which I have sewn up already here.
Do you have any “stripe (or plaid) matching” tips that you would like to share with us?
Happy Easter! and Happy Sewing!
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? 1.8 metres (136.7 metres remaining!)