Oh, those popular plaids. They are fun to work with when creating unique and attractive items on personal sewing machines like the Juki Exceed HZL F300. They are also available in many different colors and styles, giving you many options for obtaining the exact look you want. Some projects sewn using Juki sewing machines call for a specific type of plaid by name or even by stripe pattern. Do you know how to tell your plaids apart? It is easier than you might think.
What Exactly Is Plaid?
Plaid is a fabric weaving pattern that incorporates stripes and bands in different colors to produce a repeating, striped pattern. Plaids typically have stripes going in both directions which intersect to create visible stripes and boxes in the fabric. There are many plaid patterns that include specific colors, stripe widths, and stripe repetitions, each known by a different name. Today, plaid patterns are either woven into the fabric or printed on them.
Tartan is the most well-known plaid pattern and is commonly used for a variety of projects made on sewing machines. The name tartan is frequently used interchangeably with the word plaid even though it is only one type of plaid. Other plaid types include Gingham, Tattersall, Madras, Windowpane and more, with many varieties having sub-categories according to the colors and stripes.
Balanced and Unbalanced Plaids
Each plaid pattern can be classified as being either a balanced or unbalanced weave. The basic definition of a balanced plaid is one that creates an overall square repeating pattern with the way the stripes and colors going in both directions intersect. An unbalanced plaid is one that creates a rectangular repeating pattern.
This is significant when making projects using your Juki Exceed HZL F300 since unbalanced plaids are not symmetrical and should only be cut with the pattern going in one direction. Balanced, symmetrical plaids can be cut and used in either direction and look appropriate.
The easy way to tell one from the other is by folding your fabric in half with the right side facing together, then folding the top back at an angle. If the stripes meet evenly and continue the pattern perfectly, it is a balanced repeat. If not, it is an unbalanced plaid.
Working With Plaids
In addition to identifying whether a plaid is balanced or unbalanced before laying out your pattern pieces and cutting, you must understand that proper alignment also requires the pattern to be on grain. If it is off by more than ¼-inch, your cut pieces will look off once sewn together on a Juki machine.
When working with unbalanced plaids, you usually need to buy extra fabric to ensure each individual piece is correctly positioned and cut so the pattern runs correctly. If you use plaids, the most challenging part is making sure the pattern is aligned the way the pattern piece will be used and that the pieces are stitched so the plaid pattern is straight.
Plaids can be an exciting and fun addition to any project you make using sewing machines like the Juki Exceed HZL F300. They are available in countless colors and stripe patterns, giving you many choice options. Just be sure you take time to learn about balance and how to ensure stripes and boxes are properly aligned to get the best results on the projects you make using quality Juki sewing machines!