Sunday, October 19, 2014

Adventures with Matching

Recently, I have seen young women wearing black and white check shirts.  Even though the fabric reminds me of a tablecloth, I nevertheless liked the casual relaxed look so I decided to make one for myself out of a cotton black and white flannel purchased at Mood Fabrics in NYC.  The fabric is so nice and soft and I knew it would make a comfy warm shirt for the cool days we are now having here in the northeast.

I used the Archer Shirt pattern by Grainline Studio, a PDF pattern which is very popular on  I did not enjoy printing out, aligning and taping 39 pages to put together this pattern.  It was tedious and time-consuming but at least I ended up with a shirt pattern I like.  

After working with this fabric, I realized that it was slightly off grain which made matching difficult.  Placing and cutting a garment on the grain is a golden rule I always follow.  However, I decided that matching the stripes trumped the grain in this case.  

Another problem I was confronted with regarding matching is that I had to make a full bust adjustment which required adding a bust dart.  This dart throws off both the horizontal and vertical lines but it is also something I had to accept.  I decided that the best way to minimize or camoflouge the darts was to put the pockets over the darts and have the pockets match as best as I possibly could.  I am happy with how the pockets came out.  They are difficult to make out in the photo above!  You can see a hint of the pocket on the right side of the photo…look for the dart.  Here is how I did it:

1.  I traced the pocket pattern onto see-through tracing paper (1st photo).  Notice that I indicated the seam lines - this is very important since it is the seam lines that must be matched, not the cut edge.

2.  I then placed the pattern piece on the completed front of the shirt (2nd photo).  You can see on the left side of the pattern piece how the dart is throwing off the stripes.  I proceeded to pencil in the stripes on all sides of the pocket pattern.  

3.  You can see the result in the 3rd photo.  I will not be referring to the lines that were over the dart.  You can see them veer upward on the upper left side of the pattern.  

4.  I took the marked pattern piece and placed it on top of the fabric aligning the marked lines on the pattern piece with the lines on the fabric and proceeded to gently pin and carefully cut on a single layer of fabric.

The photos demonstrate the pocket pattern piece for the right side (hence the "R").  I repeated Steps 1 through 4 for the left side.  Each side was slightly different, not by much, but enough that I thought it best to do it for each side.

The bust dart also threw off the top of the side seams but those sections are close to the underarm and not easily visible unless I raise my arms.  I made sure to match as much of the side seam I could from the hem up to the dart.

I decided to put the yoke, cuffs, center front placket and sleeve plackets on the bias for fun (and less matching!)  

Speaking of the yoke, I cut the inside yoke out of white cotton fabric so as to avoid any shadows of the black stripes from showing through on the right side:

I am pleased with the shirt and will wear it often.  It's very comfortable.

Well, that's it for shirts for now!  I have a party to attend the beginning of December.  Given that I do not have much time to sew, I probably should start working now on making something for that event.  More to follow.

Happy Sewing!