The pattern layout always comes into play before sewing and is a discipline that must be mastered so that the finished clothes do not look slanted or twisted. Placing pattern pieces on a fabric becomes more complicated when you use a fabric with a print, and even more complicated when the print motif is symmetrical and repetitive - you have to make it match up at the seams. In today's article, I would like to share my pattern layout tips and tricks for pattern matching checkered fabrics.
I will show you the pattern matching technique on my dress LUCKY YOU.
You can get the pattern for this dress here:
How to pattern match checkered fabric
In one of my previous articles, I published a video tutorial and simple instructions on how to position a pattern on a striped fabric: How to position a pattern on a striped fabric (Video & photo tutorial) The procedure for the checkered fabric is very similar, except that you need to pay attention to vertical and horizontal alignment at the same time.
I wouldn’t recommend the use of striped and checkered fabrics to beginners. High precision is required when sewing, positioning, and cutting individual pieces. It is also necessary to imagine what the print will look like on the garment right at the beginning and follow that idea through the entire sewing process.
I recommend “opening up” pieces that are supposed to be cut “on the fold” if you are using fabric with a complex print. Thanks to this, you will be able to place the pattern piece on a single layer of fabric and you will better see what’s going on. Use original paper pattern piece and a fresh sheet of paper (wrapping paper, for example) and treat it as if it was your fabric - fold it, position the "half piece" on the fold, copy the outline and cut out your new "whole piece".
Front and back pieces
Align the centerline of the piece with the center (axis) of the print when using a fabric with some sort of vertically symmetrical print (vertical stripes, for example). Take care to keep the center lines aligned, otherwise, the garment will look strange right from the start. I could have also aligned the centerline of the front piece and the axis of one of the vertical square rows, but that would require careful measurements.
Pay attention to the armscye area. You will need to position the armscye of the back piece and sleeve piece to the same area of the print. Choose some easily recognizable part of the print to align the piece with. It’s going to be hard to align other pieces if you choose some “blank” area.
Cut out half of the outline of the front piece. Be careful not to accidentally start cutting along the centerline of the piece. Fold the free half over the rest of the piece along the centerline. Try to precisely match up the print on both halves.
My tip: I recommend using pattern view with seam allowances included when sewing with elastic fabrics - you won’t have to draw on the fabric. It’s very difficult to draw on stretchy fabrics accurately because the marker (soap, chalk, etc.) stretches the fabric at each contact. You can find more on how to transfer the paper pattern to the fabric here: How to transfer a pattern to fabric.
The other armscye need be the mirror image of the first one - it should carve through the fabric print “in the same way”. The print should be symmetrical on both sides of the piece. Now is the time to cut out the second half of the front piece.
Prepare the back piece in the same way. Take care to make the armscyes carve through the print in the same way as on the front piece. This will allow you to match up the side seams.
Align the top of the sleeve piece with the center (axis) of the print if you can - this "balances" the print on the piece.
The corner of the armscye should be in the same place "on the print" as its counterpart on the front/back piece. Both corners of the armscye are located on the same horizontal line.
Check the bottom edge of the sleeve - this part should also be aligned with the print. If you have a pattern where the bottom hem of the sleeve is somehow shaped, so I recommend modifying it and cutting it straight and parallel to the print.
When you have the first sleeve cut out, you can use it as a template for the other one. Put the cut-out sleeve on the fabric face side down (to get two mirrored parts), take care to match up the print.
Focus primarily on the whole pocket piece (the one with a straight pocket opening), which is partially visible on the finished dress. Print on the pocket piece should be aligned with front and back pieces. To determine the correct position of the pocket on the fabric, you need to know where the pocket is located on the dress. The top of the pocket is right at the waistline. Check the print near the waistline of the front and back pieces, see what it looks like in this area, and cut out the pocket pieces accordingly.
The pockets should look like this:
And that's all for now. You must not forget about pattern matching later - when pinning and sewing - but now you have a great starting position.
Have a nice day, Petra
Wondering how to position a pattern on a striped fabric? Take a look:
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PS: Did you know that there are FREE PATTERNS available on my blog?