Quick and Easy Stripe Matching with Knits
I'm a self-proclaimed non-perfectionist. I don't necessarily think perfectionism is a good or bad trait, I just have never possessed it. My sloppy handwriting, erroneous use of commas, and the state of my living room tell this story.
But that doesn't mean I don't value attention to detail. And the older I get, I certainly enjoy doing things the right way. But if there's a small error here or there, especially where no one will see it? Eh, I'm okay with it.
I've always had this laid back attitude about pattern matching, and especially about stripe matching. It seemed time consuming and, well, hard - a mental workout. But then I figured out a quick and easy way to match stripes (even mini stripes!) on knit garments and I'm not looking back.
With these few extra steps, it feels almost like cheating in the pattern matching game. If you've struggled with perfectly aligned stripes on your knit garments, this post is for you. For this post, I’ll be demonstrating my technique on the side seams of my Bethioua.
1. Align the Stripes Before Cutting
As obvious as it sounds, this is the most crucial step for perfectly aligned stripes at the side seams of your garments. When cutting on the fold, make sure your stripes are aligned at the raw edges. If you're working with mini stripes, make sure to check every six inches or so to make sure you're not aligning two different stripes.
I place a pin through a stripe every six inches or so.
2. Align both front and back side seams
In order for the stripes of your two pattern pieces to line up, they need to be cut so that the lines travel through the same places at the side seams. I simply lay the front pattern piece next to the back, lining up the stripes of the front piece with the stripes of the soon-to-be back piece.
I pay attention to the corner of the armscye and the bottom corner of the hem, making sure these points are aligned with the stripes the same way the front piece is.
This method isn't exact, but since we're working with knits, precision isn't necessary.
3. Pin the seam stripes at even intervals
The most time consuming part of the stripe-matching process is pinning the seams. Pin your side seams right sides together, placing a pin through every other stripe or even every stripe, if you prefer.
The more stripes you align and pin, the more accurate your stripe matching will be.
4. Baste the seam
If you have a walking foot, now is the time to use it so that the top and bottom fabrics feed under your presser foot at an even rate. With a long straight stitch sew the pinned seam with a seam allowance smaller than what the pattern calls for.
Sew over your pins without removing them to ensure the top layer of fabric doesn't stretch while you sew.
5. Check your stripe matching
Once the seam is basted, turn your garment right side out and take a look at your handiwork. If you find any stripes that don't align perfectly, rip just that section out, pin and re-baste.
Or if you’re like me, don’t worry about it. Likely, nobody will notice.
6. Serge or Sew the Seam
Once your stripes are aligned, serge or sew the seam with a stretch stitch. Use a seam allowance larger than the basting stitch.
Voila! You now have a perfectly stripe-matched seam! Give your seam a good press and yourself a pat on the back.
On Monday we'll be launching the 2016 Winter Collection with a cozy fabric batch to accompany it! The first 25 people to purchase the full or mini pattern bundle will receive an extra 10% off. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter below to receive the discount code.
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