Sunday, 1 May 2016

Matching fabric ~ getting patterns to line up across seams and joins

When sewing I have always found matching patterns vexatious.  It's so hard to get it exactly right. 

However, when joining up pieces of this material into suitable lengths for curtains I hit on a solution that works for me: 
I sewed the pieces from the top - effectively topstitching them together: I turned one seam allowance over - by about a centimetre; laid it over the other piece where I wanted them to join; lined up the pattern and carefully pinned it; then even more carefully stitched it.  The join is visible, but the pattern joins up very well indeed.  
This photograph was taken after the curtain had been washed and was still on the clothesline, so the seam, at this time fresh from the wash and unpressed, is more visible that it was after being ironed.

Here is the same curtain, photographed from further back.  You can see the join running from side to side, but the pattern is uninterrupted:

The trained eye always looks for joins and junctions, and when finding these it's a matter or what is most visually acceptable.  For me a seam in which top-stiching is visible and the pattern on the material is properly matched is a great deal easier on the eye than an invisibly stitched seam and an imperfectly matched pattern.  

One would not usually expect horizontal joins in curtains.  However, this material came from two bedspreads bought secondhand because I liked the material.  Not having any use for the bedspreads I unpicked the seams so that I could use the material for curtains, appreciating as I did so the faultless construction and matching of the comlex repeating pattern.  Every piece had been cut and sewn with beautiful precision - very skilful work!  

I remember and appreciate the material and worksmanship that went into those bedspreads every time I look at the curtains.  Quality endures, gives longevity, and makes it possible to modify and re-use materials in other, sometimes unexpected, ways.  Whoever made them could hardly imagine them hanging in my house as curtains! 

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