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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Sewing with plaid ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Sewing with plaid
BluestRose
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BluestRose  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/29/13 3:02 PM

I've stayed away from plaids for the most part, only making a couple pair of plaid flannel pajama pants, out of fear of getting the plaid to match perfectly at the seems. Well, I decided to jump in and make my husband a flannel shirt with a large green, black, and white yarn-dyed plaid. It is now in the garbage can.
So was it the fabric or was it me? It shifted all over the place as I was cutting out the pieces, and shifted again when I went to sew, making it darn near impossible to get the plaid to match up. Could this be an inferior fabric (please say it is) or am I missing some technique to make everything match up pretty? If there is a superior flannel shirting out there, where can I get some?

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Bernina 1230 "Bernie"
Babylock Imagine "Baby"

NhiHuynh
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NhiHuynh
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Date: 10/29/13 4:03 PM

Oh no! How bad is the shirt if you ignore the plaid? Is it really garbage can worthy? If it's wearable, I say wear. Maybe dye it if the plaid bothers you. I've seen high end designer garments with plaids horribly mismatched. Sometimes we sewists are just too hard on ourselves.

It very well could be your fabric. The plaid might be inconsistent or uneven. I see it all the time across all price points.

It could also be your cutting. I treat plaids the same way that I treat my prints. I cut my pieces single layered with the plaid/prints marked at the sewing edge, not the cut edge. I usually have my pattern pieces traced onto tracing paper so I can see through it. This is where I usually notice that the plaid/prints are inconsistent or my fabric is not laid out straight. Layout and cut 1 piece at a time. Trying to get a large length of fabric to behave all at once is like herding cats.

It could also be your sewing. If you're using a home sewing machine, it's usually going to pull the bottom layer faster than the top due to the dog feed. Even with a walking foot, I still find the layers don't feed evenly. In this case, pinning where the plaid is suppose to match works against. You need the bottom layer pulled very slightly towards you so that when it gets to the needle, the plaid is matched up.

Good luck.

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I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)

ccris
ccris
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In reply to BluestRose <<
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Date: 10/29/13 4:43 PM

There's a difference in plaids. Some are balanced and some are unbalanced. Here's some helpful information to determine what type plaid you have. Click here. I suspect you might have unknowingly been dealing with an unbalanced plaid. They won't match at the seams unless they're cut properly.

skae
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Date: 10/29/13 4:55 PM

With plaids I make sure I have enough fabric.
If the plaids don't match I take the ends
And try to match the front then it gives the
Illusion of matching the Sides can be off
A little . That is what I do with bad plaids
That don't quite match up.

------
Ecclesiastes 11:7,8 Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. (CEV)

Marie367
Marie367
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In reply to BluestRose <<


Date: 10/29/13 5:45 PM

It might have been you or might have the fabric or some combination of both. I made the mistake of wanting to use plaid in a jacket when I was in a high school advanced sewing class. My teacher worked with me to match it up but it was difficult as the plaid was not balanced. If I use a plaid, I try to get something that is more balanced and repetitive and I get extra yardage. Did you cut pieces individually or did you try to cut it out double layer (like you would normally)? You have to cut pieces out individually with plaids to make sure they match. A walking foot can help with the sewing. It takes careful planning to match everything up. Can the shirt be saved? Very few RTW shirts are matched up so yours is probably not that bad.

Marie367
Marie367
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In reply to BluestRose <<


Date: 10/29/13 5:45 PM

repeating myself.
-- Edited on 10/29/13 9:10 PM --

a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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In reply to BluestRose <<


Date: 10/29/13 9:08 PM

Hmmmph! Sounds like mostly the fabric.

Here's another thread concerning plaids that produced some nice links.
Plaid

Hope you'll try something again - maybe boxers or perhaps some shoe bags from the discarded project for a little practice. Although it takes extra time on the front end, working with plaids can be very satisfying.

Now, I am wondering what I was thinking of when I ordered the gray and cream knit with the super thin stripes! And yes, I will notice if they are not matched. After all these years of living with me, hubbie will notice too.

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

DonnaH
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DonnaH
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Date: 10/29/13 9:50 PM

There are a few things that may have gone wrong. As one earlier poster said, it may not be a balanced/symmetrical plaid - so matching one line may not allow the others to align.

I also recently made a dress (well, almost - it still needs a hem and arm binding) from a yarn dyed paid - but it was a loose gauzy weave. Great for a sundress, but extremely easy to stretch out of "square" - I actually had to sew slowly, keep an eye on the matching down the entire seam (there were CF and CB seams that I had to pick apart and sew again!), and I even had to pull slightly on the top or bottom fabric to make sure everything aligned.

BluestRose
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In reply to DonnaH <<


Date: 10/29/13 10:36 PM

Quote: DonnaH
I also recently made a dress (well, almost - it still needs a hem and arm binding) from a yarn dyed paid - but it was a loose gauzy weave. Great for a sundress, but extremely easy to stretch out of "square" - I actually had to sew slowly, keep an eye on the matching down the entire seam (there were CF and CB seams that I had to pick apart and sew again!), and I even had to pull slightly on the top or bottom fabric to make sure everything aligned.

This sounds like the fabric I was working with.
I kept needing to stretch either the top or bottom piece,
Even when I was pinning it, and then try to keep
It from shifting out of allignment as I was sewing.
Maybe if I try a flannel with a tighter weave?
The fabric I used was an even plaid and I cut out one layer at a time.

------
Bernina 1230 "Bernie"
Babylock Imagine "Baby"

BrendaR
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In reply to BluestRose <<


Date: 10/30/13 1:45 AM

I always hand baste my plaids at the sewing line before machine sewing. If you stick a needle straight through both layers you can see if they are lined up as you go along. When machine sewing, if you can ease up on the pressure on your presser foot, it should help.

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