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Tips & Techniques > Matching a pattern across front opening

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Posted by: Gigi Louis

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Member since: 4/4/02
Reviews: 77 (tips: 16)
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Posted on: 3/31/03 9:32 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 15 people   
Matching motifs across the front is much easier than you think and gives very impressive results.

Use the CF marking of your pattern as a guide and cut out single layer (yuck, I know but it's the only way). Go ahead and cut your first side (I always begin with the pattern face down first - that way I always avoid ending up with two of one side) and snip-mark the CF at the top and bottom. Now take this garment section and match it up on the uncut fabric so that the pattern/design matches perfectly. Put a pin at the CF snips at the top and bottom. Now reposition your pattern (face up this time) aligning the CF marking of the pattern with the pins and cut. The motifs will match up perfectly across the front of the garment now and everyone will be impressed.

I also like to match the pocket sometimes: mark the pocket position on the garment section. I like to use some type of see-through tracing material for the pocket pattern piece so that I can roughly trace the pattern/design I am trying to match. You can use gift-wrap tissue, soil separator or whatever else you may have on hand that is kind of sheer. Lay the pocket template over the markings on the garment and roughly trace the motif. Now you can exactly place the pattern piece onto your fabric and get a match.

If you want to match the pattern at the side seams you would do it the same as the fronts, snips would be made at the seamlines. If your fabric is wide enough and the garment is straight at the side seams I would just omit the side seams so that you get a seamless (no pun intended) look without doing a lot of work - however, realize that you may then not be able to match the CF, depending on the pattern repeat.

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slmstyle said... (3/26/12 10:58 AM) Reply
Thanks so much for the tips on matching motifs. I am making a halter dress with a lovely paisley foulard type motif print, but I messed up the bodice and the patterns don't match, they are not symmetrical and don't look like mirror images on either side of the bodice top and I can't live with that. Luckily, I have extra fabric, so I am going to cut out the bodice pieces again, rip apart all of my careful work, and start over (ugh!). It just has to be right or else it will drive me crazy and I won't wear it. Thanks!
Diane E said... (1/14/07 8:56 PM) Reply
Dear Gigi, I was so happy to find this tip this afternoon. Thanks for writing and posting it. I will share my finished project and everyone will have to see if I followed your advice successfully!
Katharine in BXL said... (3/9/04 6:58 AM) Reply
Thanks for the tip! I can clearly visualize what you mean. :)
katieb said... (3/9/04 4:26 AM) Reply
I wish I had known about this last year when I changed a pattern to front opening. It sounds so simple. Thanks for the tip. I have matched a pocket in a similar way with great success. Thanks.
Jennifer shaw said... (11/2/03 9:08 PM) Reply
It worked!! Thank you.
Jennifer shaw said... (10/26/03 2:34 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip,Gigi. I cut out a cotton lawn patterned fabric for a skirt, this morning. It was a good challenge to find the repeat on the one way fabric.
Lisa Laree said... (4/1/03 3:43 PM) Reply
One of my spring sewing projects is a rayon print shirt for DS that will require pattern matching; this follows my thinking as far as it went; thanks for filling in the blanks!
Deepika said... (4/1/03 1:42 PM) Reply
I agree! Great tip on matching fronts. Now I need one for matching plaids for DH's pants. I have tons of nice plaids but have been reluctant to make his pants because its a pain :(
martha said... (4/1/03 9:52 AM) Reply
This is the best description of how to match a print that I have read. I can easily visualize without the aid of pictures, not something that comes easily to me very often :) Thanks for a great tip Gigi!
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