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matching decorating fabric

suesewing's picture

I have made drapes in the past and am currently working on some now.  I thought I'd ask if anyone know a quick way of matching the pattern when sewing a seam.  With on even seam allowances and the print not going all the way to the edge, does anyone have a suggestion


Happy New Year to all

judyhouston's picture

(post #30418, reply #1 of 6)

First off, I am a big fan of basting.  But back to that. When I made sllipcovers with a printed fabric I folded the long edges of the widest pieces then placed them on top of the flat piece I was joining them to and manuevered until I had a perfect match. At that point I put a wide piece of painters tape on top of the join. Then open out the fabric and pin or baste on the wrong side  along the crease line and verify that it matches. I had excellent results this way. Good luck

Teaf5's picture

(post #30418, reply #2 of 6)

The taping and pasting suggestion is great; here's a shortcut for perfect matching.

Like wallpaper, decorator fabrics have a "repeat," a certain length of the pattern that will line up perfectly every time. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the top and bottom of a repeat, but an easy way is to look at the unprinted selvege to find the color registry.

On most decorator fabrics, a color registry is marked every yard or so; it's a series of small squares with each of the colors in the pattern marked in the selvedge. Take a look at a length of the fabric; you'll probably notice that the registry falls in the same spot on the pattern each time. If you line up the registry, you'll line up the pattern perfectly at the same time.

When you have basted or taped the seams, step back as far as you can to check the match; patterns that look fine up close can show up dramatically mis-matched from a distance.

suesewing's picture

(post #30418, reply #3 of 6)

I did notice that. The trouble is the width of the seam allowances are different so if you match the color squares and the seam allowance you can still be off

starzoe's picture

(post #30418, reply #4 of 6)

It doesn't matter if your seam allowances are off. In fact, in some cases the selvedges should be cut off, especially if you plan to wash the curtain fabric. Even with garment sewing, it is sometimes a good move to remove selvedges and they may cause the sewn fabric to pucker up.

ThreadKoe's picture

(post #30418, reply #5 of 6)

The selvedges do not match in width on purpose.  The left selvedge always connects and matches to the right selvedge.  If you have to cut the fabric down the middle for a half a width, the right  cut edge becomes the right selvedge  and the left becomes the left selvedge, so the patterns can match.  Like two separate lengths with selvedges.  The unequal patterning allows for seam allowances to match. 


When you align your pattern as suggested, You can also just pin at the major matching points, and sew a straight of a seam as possible, using the wider seam allowance as your guide.  Use a piece of tape on your machine bed to mark that width.  Open the SA after sewing to check for major mismatches and resew if needed.  It is not as hard as it sounds, as most prints show through, and you can see if they match as you go.  Just remember, drapes do not need a short stitch length for strength, so you can use a longer one.   Cathy

Gloriasews's picture

(post #30418, reply #6 of 6)

I didn't know that, Teaf!  What great advice!  I'll look at those registry marks differently from now on.  You're the first person to ever mention that.  Thanks!


Gloria