Tips for Matching Plaids and Checks

Tips for Matching Plaids and Checks - Marcy Tilton Fabrics

How much fabric to buy?

To figure extra yardage, multiply the repeat by the number of main pattern pieces. For example, if the repeat is 4" and you have 4 main/large pattern pieces, you would need a minimum of 16 extra inches. If cutting large pieces on the bias you will need extra yardage depending on the size of the plaid.

Tips for matching plaids

  • Cut single thickness, starting with the main pattern piece at center front or back, placing CF/CB centered between (NOT ON), a dominant color or line
  • Then cut single thickness, one piece at a time, using the first cut out piece as a pattern piece for the next, flipping, so you get a left and right side. This way assures matching both horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Consider where the plaid will hit at the hem of the garment.
  • Cutting the fabric double runs the risk of the lines not matching - this can be corrected sometimes in sewing, but is not as accurate and can end up taking as much time as cutting single thickness.
  • I draw the plaid on the pattern pieces to match at side seams and notches on sleeves.
  • Match at the seamline, not the cut line!
  • Drawing the plaid on the pattern piece help with matching both the horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Matching at the sleeve can be tricky because of the curves. Match at the front, sometimes this will align at the back, but not always.
  • Cutting the sleeves on the bias is an option.
  • Matching at the shoulder is often a case of luck, if matching at the side seams, the shoulder placement cannot be determined.
  • If the plaid is unbalanced, cut in a one way direction, as for a nap.
  • Sew with a walking foot to prevent shifting.
  • Hand basting can help prevent shifting too. I use a diagonal basting stitch, sewing right along the seam line. Silk thread is easier to pull out.
  • Some pieces like pockets, yoke and collar can be cut on the bias which simplifies matching.
  • Finally, rely on common sense and your own creative intuition.
  • Having an extra yard on hand can be insurance just in case you need it!

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