How to Match Stripes on Princess Seams
One of the Jasper product samples is made with a fun striped sweatshirt fleece. I had envisioned this one and was eager to bring it to life, but at the same time I didn’t look forward to matching the stripes on the princess seam bodice. In the end it only took me a bit of extra prep work. If you want a stripy Jasper too, no need to fear! In this post I’ll show you how to match the stripes in the most important places.
General tips before you start:
- This tutorial assumes you’re working with horizontal stripes.
- With curved seams, it’s impossible to match the stripes everywhere, especially if one seam is more curved than the other. Choose the important places to match, the ones that will catch peoples eye.
- We’re going to match the most important pattern pieces, so not the hem bands, cuffs or welt strip. I would suggest making it easy on yourself by using a contrast fabric for those. It would be easier on the eyes, too.
- If your stripes are off grain, try to pull the fabric a bit to straighten them out. If this doesn’t work, I’d work with the stripes and not the grainline. A fleece backed knit won’t distort that easily if the grainline is a bit off. Best would be to check before you buy, ofcourse!
What you need:
- Pattern pieces for the Front, Back, Side, Sleeve, Collar or Hood and Pocket (1, 2, 3, 4; 5 or 6 and 14 or 15), depending on the view you’re making.
- A geo ruler, those triangular ones.
- Fabric with stripes
- A clear head. You need to think about what you’re doing with every piece you cut out!
Step 1: Prepare the pattern pieces
Start with marking the stitching line on all the pieces around the notches. Measure 5/8″ (1,5 cm) from the edge of the piece in a few places, and connect the line. Take the geo triangle and lie it on a notch. Find the place on the stitching line perpendicular to the edge, in line with the notch. That point is where the stripes should match, not at the actual notch on the edge.
Now draw a line from that point, horizontally (so perpendicular to the grain line) across the pattern. When lining up the piece on the stripes, you’ll use that line to match across the pieces.
You need to do this with notches connecting:
- front sleeve and armhole
- front neckline and collar/hood
- side and front
- side and back
Step 2: Front piece
Start with the front piece. You’ll cut out the pieces flat to be sure your stripes are horizontal. Lay the front piece on the fabric, it doesn’t matter where your stripes are at this point. Cut out one half, then fold it over and match the stripes. Cut out the other half. Clip your notches.
Step 3: Side panels
Now with the side panels, it does matter where your stripes are. The notches that connect the front and side piece have to match on exactly the same stripe. Check how the stripes are positioned on your front piece at the notch line, and position the notch line of your side panel on at the same position of the fabric. Ignore the back notch and its line for now. Cut it out and repeat. It’s easiest to flip over the first one, match the stripes and cut around it. Clip the notches, front and back.
Step 4: Back
Position the back piece on the fabric. Match the position of the side seam notch line with the one on the side panels. Cut it out as you did with the front panel: cut one half, flip it over and cut the other half. Clip the notches.
Step 5: Sleeves & Collar
The sleeves are the same principle as the collar, so I’m showing only the latter. Find the right position on the fabric by checking where the stripes on the neckline of the front piece are. Use the lines your drew, not the actual notches. With the collar, also pay attention to matching the short ends that will be sewn together.
Cut the sleeves with the same principle: position the pieces on the fabric so that the lines you drew on the front and sleeve are lined on the same stripe. Cut the second sleeve by flipping over the first one and matching the stripes of the two fabric layers.
The pocket piece can also be matched to the front and side panel, by using those notches to match them up. It will only be seen a little behind the welt, but a matched stripe there can be a nice detail.
Now to sew, just follow the instructions for the Jasper. Take extra care to match the notches and the stripes, but it won’t be possible on all the curves. With this method you’ll have at least the long straight lines matched, and also some on the curves. Use a lot of pins or hand baste before you sew to ensure your stripes match. Lowering the pressure on your foot can help prevent the fabric shifting, or use a walking foot.
If you have any questions, leave a comment!
This is so clever!
Thanks for the tutorial, I’m excited to try this out on my Jasper!