Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Matching Print Fabrics: Foolish or Wise?

If you read my last blog post about Southern Belle, it mentions that gingham does not have to be matched. Kathleen asks about matching fabric prints and whether there is a guideline - well yes - and no. RTW clothing often will not match anything- even plaids- because it's time consuming and expensive because it takes more fabric, but also wastes fabric. This is true even for home sewers, but being the masters of our own creativity, we can choose whether it will be worth it. Here are the guidelines:

The simple guideline is that SMALL prints, such as gingham, do not need to be matched. Any effort to match them will create more trouble than will ever be noticed. Small and busy prints blend together at the seams without planning.

LARGE prints, can be matched, and always looks nice, but will the extra effort pay off in terms of satisfaction? This is the question to ask yourself. Think about whether the clothing style is compatible. Simple styles with few seams are the easiest. Will the pattern repeat work with the clothing dimension so that the pattern can be matched on all angles, or where will the "off center" spots be?  It's a very mathematical proposition to match a print at every seam and can be the source of a big head ache!Your project could end up a wadder just out of frustration.

Geometric fabrics like STRIPES and PLAIDS must always be matched to look nice. If any part is off, it will be noticed right away.

Here's a great link to Sewaholic for a tutorial on how she's match a print- plaids and stripes are matched in a similar fashion. Though she's matched this first seam for us, you can be sure that the opposite side does not match up at all. Read all about it:



  1. Thanks Laura! Exactly the answer(s) I was looking for!

  2. I do match ginghams a bit, shoulders and the lines on the side of a gathered skirt. I don't stress but do a best effort.


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