I have to say something came in through my inbox this week that disturbed me. It was this picture for a new Morris jacket pattern from Grainline Studios:
You know I have had excellent experience with Grainline. I have made and worn both the Archer shirt and Adler dress and I like them both.
But this sample garment disturbed me because the stripes don't match along the very obvious centre back seam, and judging from the difference of the stripes at the front points, the stripes don't match along centre front either. The side seams I can't comment on because the sleeves cover them.
Listen you all know I am not the world's most fussy sewer.
I worry a lot more about the outside looking good than I do about the inside looking as good as the outside. (Sorry mom and both sewing grandmothers).
I am after all the person whose nerves were so frayed by a largely hand-stitched Chanel jacket that I almost took it out onto the driveway and drove the SUV back and forth over it. I would have done that in fact but the garbage men came first.
But I am just disappointed to see such an obvious lack of care here. That these stripes are out of whack in a promotional photo for a new pattern described in glowing terms bothers me.
It is like when you go all out to a very nice restaurant and then you notice that there is someone else's bright red lipstick on your glass - sort of makes you wonder if they are wearing their hairnets in the kitchen.
Bit of a let down.
The thing is matching stripes is real easy.
The trick is to cut out single layer.
You will never get it right if you are working blind with one layer hidden underneath. Fabric, particularly striped fabric, likes to move around under there.
If your pattern piece is in two parts like this back with a centre back seam, all you have to do is cut out one, flip it over so you're getting same sides together, and fiddle around with it so the stripes on the bottom piece are in the exact same place as you see the stripes on the top piece. Then you just cut around the pinned pattern piece as it lays on the bottom layer of fabric, and you are done.
Two identical striped matched patterns pieces that with a bit of care can be stitched up so the stripes stay matched.
And of course if you are cutting a piece that needs to be cut on the fold, just pin your pattern to the single layer, cut it out carefully stopping the cut exactly at the fold line, then flip that piece over, folding it along the fold line. Then, sandwiching the pinned paper pattern between the two layers of fabric, adjust so the stripes all match, and cut it out.
That's how to do it in words, the illustrations are clear here in my mind's eye. If I had an Apple phone I am sure I could press it to my forehead and you could see it too.
I mean no disrespect to the pattern designer here. I do understand that some samples are made under pressure and when you are tired, but really if it is the picture you are using to sell your pattern you really need to just call me and I will come right over and do this part for you.
A good pattern should look like it is.
- I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon