Monday, January 14, 2013

Tutorial: Matching a pattern for a pocket

Dear ones, The Shirt is coming along nicely. I matched the rather wild pattern on the patch pockets and thought it might be useful to others to know how I do it. My method, which I first used 33 years ago to make a leopard print shirt for a friend, is super easy and quick and it works!
Matching patterns on a busy fabric is not just a showoffy thing to do, it also stops the garment from being cluttered and busy in a bad way.

1. Separate the two shirt fronts and pin the pattern tissue back onto one of them, with the fabric right side facing the tissue. In the photos, the pattern is upside down-whereas for the other side it would be right side up.
2. Now pin the pocket pattern piece over the pattern, matching the markings. In this case, I've matched the inner edge only because of the folded adjustment, but if you can, match all the placement lines.
3. Now using a chalk pencil (because it rubs out), carefully trace over a few key reference points in the fabric pattern. Not all of them, just a few. I'm using a purple chalk and you may be able to make out that I've traced a leaf and a flower just above where my hand is in this photo.
4. Now unpin everything. Place your pocket piece onto the remaining fabric and carefully line up your chalk marks with the pattern. It takes a teency bit of patience but not too much :) It's hard to see in the photo, but this stage is simpler because you only have one layer of tissue to see through. Cut your pocket out.
5. Rub the chalk marks off the pattern piece (I brushed them off with a dry microfibre cloth) and repeat the whole process for the other side of the garment.
This is my piped pocket all lined up on the shirt front ready to sew. You don't even have to match the placement lines - use the pattern matching to place them, it ought to be just right. This works just as well without piping, of course.
I thought about it but in the end decided I wasn't going to match the patterns on the pocket tabs - instead I cut them on the bias. But I wouldn't have not matched the pockets themselves as with the pockets and tabs unmatched, it would have churned up the front too much.
So, I hope that was useful for anyone who has ever wondered how to do the matching thang.
If your pattern is too faint to see through the two layers of tissue, you can trace your pattern onto the front pattern piece in something a little easier to see, then put the pocket piece over it and trace THOSE lines instead. But hey, I'd only do that if I really had to :)
This pattern is a one size 42, and the hubster is really a 40 at most, maybe even a 38. Thus, I have folded out a little width in the collar, collar stay, fronts, yokes and backs to reduce the width. It's an easy enough adjustment to make, but unlikely to work for dramatic decrease in size. And I've left the folds pinned as the peacocks are yet to come, and I just ordered ANOTHER fabric for him. I just hope I don't run out of this creative productivity phase before I get them all finished! :)
UPDATE: Turns out the excessive ease of modern patterns did not happen in 1980! The shirt fits but only just. So, I'm going to have to rethink the adjustments for the next one!


  1. I can't wait to see the finished shirts! Even MrC is excited from what I could make out when I was in the shop this evening!

    1. He certainly is. And he was very concerned what with all the swearing coming from behind him where I was sewing. The thread keeps breaking and I can't work out why. I think it is the way the bobbin is wound but whatever it is,it's making topstitching this baby a 'mare. And it has a LOT of double top stitching on it.
      Will Be Worth It. xo

  2. Pics on the man please!

  3. This is so brilliant!!!! It would never have been something I would have worked out for myself. Thank you, it's simple!! Still swooning over that fabric it!