Plaids and stripes are fun fabrics to work with when sewing garments and other projects with sewing machines. Yet they do present a bit of a challenge in both cutting and sewing to have the seams match on the finished project. By using the following helpful tips, anyone sewing on Janome sewing machines like the Janome MC9900 can learn some tips to correctly match stripes and plaids and have properly aligned, good looking garments.

Understanding the Challenge

Sewing garments with many seams means cutting the fabric so the various fabric pieces line up correctly and the stripes or plaids flow well. When working with these type of designs, it is important to pay attention to pattern repeats, stripe size, and pattern direction. It is equally significant to recognize how bias cutting can negatively affect a project if not properly handled.

Getting great results when sewing stripes or plaids on Janome sewing machines requires finding a pattern that will work well with directional designs. (Hint: Most patterns will tell you in the fabric selection area if it is suitable for directional patterns.)

After selecting the right pattern, time should be spent carefully planning fabric layout and cutting to correctly align the design, which has the potential to either make or break the appearance of the garment. Proper seam matching is the basis for achieving the best results when using stripes or plaids.

How to Match Seams

Accurate matching of striped and plaid fabrics for a good, harmonious result means paying close attention to the pattern direction and alignment at the seams. Before cutting pattern pieces to be sewn using sewing machines like the Janome MC9900, consider these tips:

  • Start with Primary Seams - When laying out fabric to cut pattern pieces, always begin with the most important and noticeable seams first. Patterns such as stripes and plaids look differently depending on how they are presented and used on different garments. Consider which fabric pattern angles and directions will look best and use this as the basis for the rest of the project.
  • Matching Sleeves and Back - In most cases, the pattern on the front of a sleeve should match the direction and angle of the garment front, so consider this when cutting sleeve pieces. The back should be aligned based on the existing seam lines and match the front of the garment to achieve one continuous design.
  • Match Side Seams - Side seams are less important than the more visible main seams, so there is a little leeway in matching them. They can be easily matched when using a horizontal pattern, but vertical patterns could look a little disjoined due to the seaming of the side pieces. Before cutting side seam pattern pieces, visually estimate the alignment of the design. When matching side seams on sleeves and pant legs, always match the outer seam first, allowing any misalignment to be sewn into the inner, less visible seams.
  • Cuffs, Collars, and Other Smaller Details - After the angle and direction have been determined for all garment parts, cut smaller pieces and details according to where they will be sewn. Experiment with placement and pattern angle to find the best way to add these details so the stripes align attractively.

Creating bold and colorful garments with stripes and plaids is an exciting way to use Janome MC9900 sewing machines. To achieve the best results when working with stripes or plaids as well as reduce frustration and wasted fabric, it is essential to understand how to match directional designs before cutting the pattern pieces. By visualizing seam and pattern pieces ahead of time before pinning pieces in place to be joined together with a sewing machine, the resulting garment will have seams properly aligned!

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