Creating A Sewing To-Do List

Boy's Cozy Pullover by Jil Cappuccio.

Boy's Cozy Pullover by Jil Cappuccio.

Plaid Curves Table Runner by Kevin Kosbab.

 Plaid Curves Table Runner by Kevin Kosbab.

  Men's Fall Zipper Jaket by Jil Cappuccio.

  Men's Fall Zipper Jacket by Jil Cappuccio. 


Mad for Plaid

Even though it's still warm outside, fall clothes and home decor are starting to appear in stores, and my mailbox is full of catalogs featuring the first look at fall offerings. Last night as I was flipping through one of my favorite catalogs, I was immediately smitten with an adorable plaid skirt with lovely leather buttons. It is definitely going on my sewing to-do list for fall. I always associate plaid with fall and winter sewing, even though you can find plaid fabrics all year-round, from cottons and taffeta to flannel and wool.

In preparation for my plaid project, I pulled out this great list of tips and techniques for sewing with plaids published in Stitch Fall 2010, written by Rebecca Kemp Brent. It will definitely ensure my plaid skirt is a success!

Sewing Perfect Plaids

Matching plaid patterns at the seams can be tricky, so use these tips when selecting and sewing with this fabric classic.

– Buy extra yardage for flexibility in matching plaids across seam lines. As a rule of thumb, purchase at least¼ yd (23 cm) more than the pattern requirements. If the plaid's repeat is large or uneven, purchase an extra ½-1 yd (46-91.5 cm).

– Even plaids are easier to use than uneven patterns. A plaid is even, or balanced, if the repeat is exactly the same on both sides of the most prominent color band, both crosswise and lengthwise. A plaid is uneven if the pattern is different on the two sides of the main color band, whether lengthwise, crosswise, or both.

– The larger the plaid, the more difficult it will be to match at the seams. For a first foray into sewing with plaids, choose an even plaid with a repeat no more than 3-4" (7.6-10 cm).

– The best patterns for plaids have few pieces and seams. Match the plaid pattern at the center front and back seams (including button plackets) and at the side seams where the front and back pieces join. Use pattern notches as a guide for matching and concentrate on the bust and hip when positioning the pattern pieces on the fabric.

– To facilitate matching the plaid, use a pencil to trace a portion of the plaid repeat onto the first pattern piece. Sketch both lengthwise and crosswise color bars and mark the colors on the pattern tissue. Match the pattern piece that will be joined to the first with right sides together, trace the pencil marks onto the second pattern tissue, and use the pencil marks as a guide for placing the second pattern piece on the fabric.

– Lay out the garment front first, then match and lay out the back pattern pieces. Position the sleeves next and finish with the collar, cuff, and facing pieces.

– Match the plaid when pinning seams before sewing. Fold back the top fabric's seam allowance to check the match after pinning or turn the pinned piece over and check that the pin enters and leaves the fabric along the same color bar.A walking foot will keep the layers from shifting as seams are sewn, for better matches across the seam line.

I hope these techniques inspire you to pull out some plaid fabric and make something fabulous for fall. And check out our StashBuster Sale for more sewing resources to get your sewing to-do list filled up for National Sewing Month!

Happy sewing,



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