Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Butterick 3201: Matching a Seam

This skirt requires some attention to detail, at least because it's so simple. As a result, I decided to pay a lot of attention to matching the center back seam. I talked about this several projects back.

Of course, this starts with marking and cutting. What I do first is to mark the seam line to be matched on the tissue.on the tissue. Patterns seldom include stitching lines anymore, and this will become important later. Then I cut the first piece from the fabric, using that stitching line as a rough placement guide. Once cut, I press a fold into cut out piece along the center back seamline. I use that piece to match the remaining side by laying it out on the yardage and marking the seamline of the second piece along the fold of the first piece. I also mark the top and bottom of the first piece with pins. I use flat head pins for this step. Next I lay out the tissue, aligning it with the pins that mark the the center back line, top, and bottom. Remember to flip the pattern orientation, so that there are two different sides.

I didn't think to photograph the matching process this time, but you can see the general process I followed if you go to the link in the first paragraph.

OK, after fiddling around with the fabric and matching, there are two backs. Now what?

I also use that folded center back seam (remember the first fabric piece I cut?) to match the seam for sewing. In the photo below, I've prepared the pieces (seam finish, etc.) up to that point.


As you can see, I laid out the 2 pieces on the ironing board. Then I used flat head pins to attach the pieces together, matching the print as I pinned.


A pretty good match, but a normal seam can't be sewn like that. What I did next is to baste the 2 pieces together along the fold line. I believe the technical term is "slip basting", because the stitch used is more of a whip stitch vs. the more common running stitch. Kind of hard to see in the photo below (yay, I did a good job!), but it shows the basted seam.


And here's the finished seam, ready for the next step. It virtually disappears:


Is this process a bit fussy? Yes, absolutely! Are there easier ways to do this? I'm sure of it--there are basting tapes that you could use to stick the pieces together before seaming. Is the fuss worth it? I think so, the extra effort makes the skirt look less "loving hands at home" and more high-end.

12 comments:

Susan said...

It may seem fussy, but it works great! Thanks for sharing.

I have an extra step to inserting zippers, but find it works best for me and reduces the stress. lol

sharon said...

I do pretty much as you do except;. I cut the first piece. Fold over and press seam allowance. Match the print, slip stitch along the seam line. Fold cut piece out and cut the second piece out using the first piece as a pattern. You are ready to sew the seam

gwensews said...

You betcha' the effort is worth it! That is something I always notice in RTW--if the prints match, which they usually don't. Nice work.

Linda said...

Great job on matching up the seams. Fussy or not, it was worth the time and effort for a perfect seam.

Marji said...

Beautifully done! You know, I'm of a mind to post a link to this blog post on the SWAP thread at SG. Would you mind?

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Marji, link away!

Thanks to everyone from your kind remarks.

Kathryn, aka fzxdoc said...

Very nicely done, Nancy--I really enjoyed seeing the detail photos. Every sewist should read this post, IMO!

Kathryn

Duchesse said...

Wow, beautiful technique and you have a lovely print there.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Very impressive print matching!

indigotiger said...

That skirt looks wonderful, and thank you for such a clear technique presentation. I'd been looking for some guidance on how to match prints and this is exactly what I needed.

Lydia said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Skirt looks like a million bucks. Wear it in good health.

Nancy said...

Hi Nancy. You have a great blog with wonderful tutorials. I wonder if you would consider adding the gadget that allows someone to subscribe via email subscription? It makes it so much easier to follow a great blog when new posts come right to your inbox. Thanks.