What’s on my sewing table
and my top tips for pattern matching

Blog / 24 September 2015

Ever since the new Autumn/Winter Liberty Lawns came in I’ve been itching to make something from them, especially this print – called Byrne, colour way B.

It really reminds me of the classic Strawberry Thief print which I also love, but the new print is a much bigger scale.

I wanted to make something that wouldn’t interrupt the pattern too much and allow it to shine. After making my very summery version of the Colette Laurel Top, I was really happy with the fit and style and decided it would be perfect for the new lawn.

When your working with a print that is relatively big and that you can also see lines and columns of the repeat then it’s worth spending a bit of time over the cutting out to make sure things look centred and lined up.

Here are my top tips for matching up a pattern when cutting out…..

1. Decide what is most important to match first

You have to get your priorities right in terms of where you want the pattern to best matched. For me it’s always going to be the centre front neckline, how the pattern rolls into the sleeve and then how the pattern flows around to the back bodice at the side seams.
As you are making a curved 3D shape when you make a garment, the pattern will not match perfectly at every seam, its more about where the eye is drawn to and how the lines of the pattern flow around the garment.

2. Start with the front bodice

I always cut out my front bodice first and then all the other pieces are cut with reference to where the pattern repeat is on this piece.
For this Laurel top, the front bodice is cut out on the fold so I created a fold in the fabric on a part of the pattern that I wanted to run down my centre front. make sure that the repeat of the pattern stays lined up when you create the fold by folding it back a little to check.

3. Think about what will show at the neckline

Whether you are having a bias finished neckline (like the laurel) or there will be a facing, consider the seam allowance at the neckline and place the pattern piece so that once the seam has been sewn at the neckline you can see the bit of the pattern that you want. I wanted the birds’ heads right at the top so I placed the pattern piece about 1cm above that. That way no little birds get beheaded!

4. Cut out the back bodice

As the side seam is likely to be curved, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to match the pattern exactly at that seam, but what you can do is make sure the same row or line of the pattern follows round.
Look at what bit of the pattern repeat is at your hemline and make sure when you cut out your back bodice, the same bit of the pattern is at the hem.
Don’t worry too much about the back neckline, you’ll hardly see that at all and the eye won’t be drawn to that part of the garment, your hair might even be covering it anyway so it’s going to be low of the priority list.

5. Cut out the sleeves individually

Trying to cut the sleeves at the same time will be a nightmare and you’ll get it done quicker and more accurately if you do them one at a time. Just remember to flip your pattern piece over so you don’t cut out two sleeves the same!!!! Sleeve heads are not symmetrical – the front and back curves are different.

Use the notch on the armhole curve of your front bodice as a guide. Look at what bit of the pattern it falls on and using the notch on your sleeve head, place it on the fabric at the same point.

From the centre notch on the sleeve head (the one that gets matched to the shoulder seam) fold the pattern piece parallel to the grain line. Then make sure that this fold runs down a certain point of the pattern. I made mine run down the centre of the pink trees.

Then make sure that you do it the same way for the other sleeve.

I’ve still to finish sewing mine up so I’ll let you see the outcome soon!

It’s a busy weekend and upcoming week here at g&g! Come and visit us at the Threads textile festival in Farnham this weekend (25th and 26th)!

We will be closed on Monday the 28th for a little more renovations in the shop – really excited about that!!

There is still time to book a place on the Sew Your Own Style Event with Image Consultant Nicky on Monday 5th October. Find the details in this link – we have two sessions coming up over the next few months and if you book both you get 10% off! Yay!

Also coming up next Friday is the start of my Lets Make Christmas Blog Series!
Each Friday in October I’ll share another great Christmas present idea that you can whip up in no time for family and friends!