Record Matching Points During Cutting
Once you have placed the pattern piece so the fabric lines up with your favorite design features, your choices determine where the fabric is placed on the other seam lines of your pattern.
I used a digital camera to take closeup pictures of where the plaid lines line up with all the seam intersections, as well as pattern notches and other features marked on the pattern.
When I cut subsequent pattern pieces, I referred back to the photos to make each pattern piece correspond with the previous pattern pieces at the seam intersections and pattern notches. Sometimes I lined up horizontal stripes so they happen at the same relative place on the new piece. And sometimes I line up vertical stripes so a pattern will continue uninterrupted on either side of a seam, for example.
Photo showing where fabric design meets with shoulder/armscye seam, as well as pattern notches on shoulder.
Where fabric meets up with the armscye/side seam, also where design meets pattern notches.
Laying out the left side shirt front band. The large pink band runs just inside the seam allowance. When the seam is stitched, the vertical features will continue evenly from the front, across the seamline, and onto the band.
Cutting Back and Other Folded Pieces
To cut out the back piece, and other pattern pieces that are normally placed on the fold, I simply placed the pattern piece for one half, cut it with the rotary cutter, then flipped the pattern piece over and cut the other half.
Positioning the first half of the back. Large pink line hits top of shoulder, large pink line along the center line of the back piece.
After cutting the first side, flip the pattern piece and cut the other side.
I handled pockets using a method adapted from Lee Hollahan’s book, How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns.
While cutting the left front shirt piece, I positioned the pocket pattern piece where it will be attached, matching pattern symbols. I then made small marks, with a sharpie, on the pocket pattern piece indicating where the notable plaid lines (in my case the heavy pink stripes) line up with the edges of the pocket.
Green tick marks mark where the pocket lines up with the bold pink lines, when the pocket is positioned on the shirt front. Finally, I place the marked pocket pattern piece against the raw fabric, lining the fabric lines with the pencil marks, and cut.
Collars and Collar Stand
Matching the collars and collar stand pieces is pretty easy. They are cut on the grain along an axis perpendicular to the rest of the shirt, and so only the vertical features need to be matched. I lined up the center line of these pieces with whatever line of the fabric was positioned along the center line of the shirt back.
The collar and collar stand line up with the bold pink stripe along the garment centerline. This will make the collar design line up vertically with the back of the shirt.
Keeping Pieces Aligned During Sewing
It’s not enough to get the pieces cut so they match properly. They also have to be kept in alignment while stitching the seams.
This time, I tried the walking foot to keep plaids matched. The walking foot evenly feeds fabric on both the top and bottom layers, which helps keep the layers matched.
Next Installment: Part 3 - The Results
Previous Installment: Part 1 - Matching Plaids Tutorial - Marking Seam Lines, etc.