Create professional looking garments with matched patterns
When your working with a print that is relatively big and that you can also see lines and columns of the pattern 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…..
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.