When matching plaid.. it's the thought that counts

I was a bit scared of plaid because everyone always told me I should be. So it was unexpected that I've determined I actually enjoy matching those little lines and boxes together!

Matching plaid is all about the pattern cutting. Yes, as you sew you have to be aware of the print but you can't force plaid to match when you didn't cut it that way to begin with. I've come to accept that plaid can't always be perfectly matched, in those cases creativity steps in and you move into plaid "blending".

Yes you've hear it here first? Plaid Blending. Ok i'm sure i'm not the first to coin this phrase but I'll take credit until someone corrects me.

If plaid still seems a bit complicated then I highly suggest stripes to start with. I found the best way to match plaid, stripes, or any fabric print is to cut the fabric in a single layer. Flip the first cut pattern piece over and match it to the print on the fabric then cut a duplicate. Smaller pieces like yokes and pocket facing require using the adjacent pattern piece to determine placement. I could get all detailed with this but I hardly consider myself an expert and after all Google just taught me so I bet she (he?) would teach you too.

Speaking of pants, David Coffin's new trouser book is awesome. This is the first sewing book I've had in a long time that I read cover to cover. Everything I criticised his shirt making book for was absolutely corrected with this newest work. Lots of encouragement to be experimental and figure out what works best for you. This is the kind of thinking I can appreciate.

Some tidbits I found worth the cover price are:
  • The discussion of cut on pattern pieces and reducing bulk. When you sew there are choices to be made at each step of the process. Sometimes I'm unsure which choices are better and I more or less flip a coin. Having the goal of reducing bulk whenever possible allows easier choosing between this way or that way as I sew.
  • Front pocket bag shaping. I have pants that every time I sit down all the change from my pocket ends up on the seat, especially in cars. Well I now know this is due to the shape of the pocket bag. It's a painless procedure to shape the bag so that change rolls froward all but eliminating this problem.
  • Button fly pants don't have to be jeans. To be honest i'm not against zippers, I just find them expensive and boring compared to buttons. I had no idea you could use regular buttons for the fly closure in slacks until I read this book.
I noticed that over at YouTube I've already had a request to do a plaid matching demo.... ok, I'll do it! on the next pair of pants.....

Here's the youtube video for this week!


7 comments :: When matching plaid.. it's the thought that counts

  1. Brian,
    I just came across your wealth of knowledge and information on all things sewing! I am a novice and have much to learn, but am encouraged by how easy you make things "seam!" I will definitely take time to check out all your posts and glean :) I'm going to make a couple of shirts this week!

    Thanks again!

  2. Another great video! Thanks, Brian.

  3. Go for the vests - and make them interesting! :-)

  4. I'm a big fan of pattern-matching and just made my son a shirt that needed exact matching for the front placket (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellyhogaboom/tags/readysetrobot/).

    I recently made a pair of wool slacks with a button-fly. They turned out beautifully - and yes I used regular buttons.

    Thanks for another great update at your site!

  5. Great post!
    Thanks for the book recommendation.

  6. Wow, great site! Just found you today :)

    Love the new Making Trousers book, but have yet to put it to use. I have to say that the book Shirtmaking changed the way I sew. I'm not sure why you thought it was pretentious or inaccessible. It is certainly exhausting in the matter of details -- which is appropriate, since shirts are all about the details! I had to replace it in hardcover because I wore out the paperback. The video he made to go with the book is very helpful.

    I don't think DPC hates serging necessarily. Most RTW clothes, except for shirts, use it, even if just to finish the raw edges. Tailored and couture garments almost never have serged finishes, and maybe it's just about reducing bulk -- after all, a hand-overcast edge is less bulky than an serged edge, though certainly not by much. I'm close to getting a serger myself, and will probably only use it on pants.

    I learned to sew coats by buying a few good ones cheap in a thrift store. That's the best way to learn, I think, by examining other people's good work.

  7. Thank you Brian for your videos ! I've order the book And Dvd of Coffin about trousers you've mention !
    Good idea
    Keep on !

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