Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Matching patterns

These past few weeks, I've been working on making several sets of curtains, pillow shams, and tie backs for a client. And whenever I make curtains, there's usually pattern matching to do. It's a time consuming process, but well worth the effort as the seam comes out nearly perfect every time! I remember when I tried to do it the first time, my seams were quite obviously askew. I had to redo them. Since then, I've developed a very accurate way to match the patterns. This is how I do it.

First, match the print along the selvage edges, then trim off the selvage. In this pic the selvage is that white strip in the middle.

After trimming off the selvage edge, match the print and mark along the cut edge with pins. Here's a pic with the selvage removed, and the cut edge pin marked. You can see the pin heads here..

After marking with pins, measure twice the amount of the seam allowance. Here it's 1/2" seams, so I marked 1" below the pins.
Trim off the excess along the marks.
Now it looks like it doesn't really match anymore, but remember, there's a seam allowance. Lay them right sides together, pin along your 1/2" seam and check to make sure your print matches. Sew together using the 1/2" seam allowance. Place a few pins perpendicular to the seam in places where you want to make sure the fabric won't slip.
Check, finish edges, press your seams and voila! All Pau. Can you find the seam?
Here's a closer peek...
And that's all to it. It helps if you have a large flat surface to work on. I have to do it on the floor so the fabric can be spread out, but I usually have to work with large pieces.

7 comments:

gwensews said...

I know this is awesome, but I am lost on step #2. What edge are you pinning? the cut selvedge edge?

Dale said...

Hi Gwen, yup. I removed the selvage edge and matched up the print again. That line of pins only marks where the cut selvage edge matches the print.

Katharine in Brussels said...

Very nice! Even in the close-up it's hard to spot! You developed such a great technique, thanks for your generousity in sharing :)

Melissa Fehr Trade said...

a-ha! I had to read it through a few times, but I got it now! This is great, thanks for sharing your secret!

sewiknittoo said...

would you do this the same when saying making a skirt using a print pattern would you cut the fabric in several places so the seams match up at the side seams...?

gigidaf said...

how would you match curtain panels?

gigidaf said...

I am making café curtains and I want the pattern to match where the two panels meet.
The repeat of the pattern in 26.625" and I want the finished curtain to be 36" long.
I have 8 yards of material, and I will need 6 panels.
How long do I need to cut each piece and do I have enough material?