Matching Patterned Fabric
Whatever you are making it is inevitable that sooner or later you will have to join widths of fabric together. This is simple until there is a pattern to contend with. All patterned fabrics have a repeated pattern down their lengths. This is called the "pattern repeat" and is measured from a point in one pattern to the same point in the next pattern.
Most patterned fabrics match horizontally across the width. All the cut lengths have to start at the same point in the pattern so that they match at the seams when they are joined. Therefore a cut length has to be a multiple of the pattern repeat.
For curtains, where large patterns are used it is better to have a full pattern at the hemline and a part pattern in the heading where it is less noticeable.
You will need:
- Patterned fabric, browse our fabrics
- A large flat surface
- Pins and safety pins
- Tape measure
- Dressmaking chalk pencil, or similar
- Sewing machine
Step 1: Cutting Out
It is advisable to check the fabric for faults before it is cut because suppliers will not exchange cut lengths.
- Lay the fabric, right side up, on a large flat surface with the top of the pattern at the top.
- Measure the first length along the selvedge (the woven outside edge of the fabric), positioning the pattern where it is required and mark with a pin. Do not cut until all the required lengths have been measured to ensure that there is sufficient fabric.
- Measure the required number of pattern repeats from the pin and mark.
- Repeat this until the required number of lengths have been marked.
- At each mark cut the fabric at right angles to the selvedge. As each length is cut place a safety pin on the right side at the top to ensure that all the lengths will be joined the correct way up. This is more important when using double-sided patterned fabrics or ones with two-way designs.
- If a half width of fabric is required, fold one length in half, matching the selvedges. Press along the fold.
- Unfold the fabric and cut along the fold. Mark the right side at the top of each half width.
Step 2: Stitching Widths Together
- Place one cut length, right side up, on a flat surface.
- Place a second cut length, wrong side up, on top, matching the top raw edges and the selvedges.
- Turn back the seam allowance down the length of the top piece of fabric and press the fold with your finger.
- Adjust the position of the top piece of fabric until the pattern matches at the fold.
- Working down the length of the fabric, release the folded edge and pin both pieces of fabric together, along the fold when the pattern is matched. This fold will be the stitching line.
- Check that the pattern is matched correctly from the right side.
- Machine stitch along the fold.
- Repeat this procedure until the required widths of fabric have been joined together. Add half widths at the outside edge of curtains but always join them at the selvedge.
- Make sure that the bottom edge is straight across all the widths and trim if necessary.
- Measure the length required from the bottom raw edge and cut off the excess fabric where necessary.