How to Match Your Stripes Like a Boss!

May 10 2021 0 Comments

Do you fancy having a go at making a striped jobs but live in fear of your stripes being on the wonk? Well, here are our top tips for getting your stripes to match.

If it's your first go at stripe matching, give yourself a fighting chance and go for bold symmetrical stripes like I've used in the sample, they are far easier to match & won't make your eyes go funny when you're sewing.  

  1. First things first, after you've washed your fabric, make sure that it's been cut straight & that it's on grain. Find a large surface & put the selvages together; sometimes you might find that the fabric is slightly skew-whiff, which is going to make things a bit tricky, but it's better to find out at this stage before you start cutting into it!
  2. The best way to cut your fabric is in a single layer & not on the fold, especially with narrow stripes. Ideally, redraw your pattern so that it is the full piece rather than half a piece, instead of just  flipping the existing piece over. (This should give you a more accurate result).
  3. You can go the extra mile here & mark a couple of lines in significant places, at a 90 degree angle to the centre line, under the arms is a good place & somewhere between there & the hem is another, or use any notches that are already on the pattern. Use these lines & the hem line to make sure that your stripes line up & then cut. Make sure that the marks you put on the front align with those on the back.
  4. Cutting with a rotary cutter & a mat stops the fabric moving about too much, alternatively use lots of pins, to hold everything in place when cutting with scissors.
  5. Talking of pins, you're going to need a lot but for extra accuracy and these Clover fork pins are great for keeping everything in situ. Try to pin close to the sewing line, rather than towards the edge of your fabric aligning the stripes as you go.
  6. Now baste before you sew - this is the bit no-one that likes to do but takes a few moments & is worth it. You can do it on the machine rather than by hand but make sure that you sew on the seamline. You'll get an idea of how accurate your pinning was & it's much easier to unpick than smaller stitches if it's way off!
  7. By basting, you will also have got an idea of whether the feed dogs are distorting your fabric, pulling the bottom layer through the machine slightly faster than the top. This will depend on the type of fabric that you're using, it can happen with thicker fabrics or very stretchy fabric.
  8. If you're having problems with this, check to see if you can alter the pressure of your presser foot or perhaps try a walking foot, which will pull both layers of fabric through the machine evenly.
  9. Once you're happy with the stripe alignment, go ahead & sew up you seams. You can sew straight over the top of the basting stitches.

Hopefully some of these tricks will help in your quest for stripe-matching but if it isn't perfect, don't fret - you'll probably find a lot of ready-to-wear garments aren't bob on either!

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