When You DON’T Need To Pattern Match

pins in red stripes

We’ve all been there. Exceedingly proud of our careful, painstaking pattern matching. And well done, us! It’s a great skill to have. The day you have the foresight to think about your fabric print before cutting out is a great day indeed. I’ve not always had that skill. Did you ever read about my kamikaze butterflies, early in my blogging career? YUP.

kamikaze butterflies

What is wrong with this photo? I’m not talking about the gorilla.

But sometimes we can over think things. Sometimes it’s fine not to scratch our heads over pattern matching. So when are the occasions you can throw caution to the wind?

modern print brocade

When your print is crazy. This geometric print was so entirely beyond logic that I didn’t really bother trying to apply any.


When your make is so OTT that no one shall notice. This kaftan took five metres of silk. Was anyone going to peer at my seams – assuming they could find them? I think not.

vintage vogue dress

When the make is too gorgeous to care. Right down the front of my skirt is a seam line. Breaking up a giant daisy. Could I care less? Not really. The dress is too incredibly awesome! (God, I love this dress.)

lemon fabric

When you use a non directional print. See how these lemons face every which way? The print is so random, travelling up down and side the body that pattern matching becomes a moot point. This is when I could kiss a clever fabric designer.

close up agnes top

If it’s a layering item and no one shall ever see. There’s something to be said for pragmatism. Is your top going beneath a dress or blouse? Then arguably, you can give zero hoots about pattern matching.

So there we have it. Five reasons not to care about print matching. Because sometimes life is too short.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to When You DON’T Need To Pattern Match

  1. lauriesannie says:

    But your red and white stripes match perfectly…

  2. Kelly says:

    You mean the upside down butterflies standing next to the gorilla? šŸ˜‰

  3. Nicola says:

    Starting looking at rtw surprising how often there is no pattern match so maybe it looks more hand made when I do ? Or maybe not

  4. peggy says:

    WHAT GORILLA! (ha!)
    We all probably noticed the great stripe matching on the red and white.
    AND it DID matter.

  5. Eliz~ says:

    To go against the grain ;o) I have to say as an artist I simply cannot pattern match. It’s impossible for me to even attempt it! I’d go mad trying! So I throw caution to the wind and I love it!
    All of your makes are so beautiful!

  6. Kathy says:

    When I make flannel pajama pants, I just don’t worry about pattern matching. Just.don’t.care.

  7. Y’know, I’ve been sewing for about forty years, and apart from an article in a couture sewing book thirty years ago, had never heard of, or considered, pattern matching until FIVE years ago. Life really is too short other than for very, very special garments or amazingly luxurious fabrics. The rest of the time, why worry? I don’t trace either of course…

  8. Mags says:

    Having just made my first striped garment, where I cried over the pattern matching, your post is a wee ray of sunshine!

  9. Hi Karen, I do remember the butterfly dress and the gorilla. Am I boring or loyal?.. I think you were getting a pic with a different person every day? You are still doing a great job.

  10. Gemma says:

    This post made me chuckle because I can see all my excuses!

  11. Beth Duffus says:

    Love the dive-bombing butterflies! I had to stare at the photo for a while to spot them though. People are unobservant. Sewers can get away with a lot.

  12. I am with you on the “life is too short….” part. People don’t really notice pattern matching but when you start to do it when you sew buying RTW is a nightmare. Even the high-end stuff can have no regard for pattern matching and it is like nails down a blackboard. šŸ™‚ Xx

  13. Emily Kitsch says:

    I love this post! šŸ™‚

  14. Lyndle says:

    Love this post!
    Iā€™d add when you are sewing from stash and you are ekeing out every last cm of fabric.
    Sewing from stash is a Worthy Thing and to be encouraged at every turn.

  15. Bracken says:

    Really happy you wrote this. I have been agonising for a couple fo weeks over whether or not to blog my tartan dress which is not pattern matched due to not having enough fabric. And as pointed out by my fellow commentor Lyndle its a reality when using stashed fabric that sometimes you need to eke out what you can and make it work. I am so happy when people talk about things like this because I realise I am not the only sewist who does not always do what you are meant to do and I have ended up with a really nice dress despite this. But my dress is actually very wearable and I have even worn it to work. Thank you for your article which I have linked to from my own blog. Very inspiring.

  16. Jo says:

    I pick my fights with pattern matching but you are right – it is not a worry to have on every garment. Jo x

  17. Thank you for making sense of what we try so hard to do! I don’t want to over think, just sew beautiful clothes!

  18. Fraggle says:

    I would also add that it doesn’t matter when the recipient wants the item quickly and just doesn’t care. šŸ™‚ My son wants train pyjamas… I could match the print, but it would take more time (and fabric) and the important thing to him is to be able to wear them, not whether they are perfectly tailored and pattern matched šŸ˜

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.