Matching tartans

I’ve had to wait for the weekend to cut out my tartan dress because I wanted to do it in daylight rather than artificial light. I haven’t ever sewn anything tartan before so I need all the help I can get.

I was quite pleased to realise that the front of the bodice pattern I’m using (Vogue 8413) is cut on the bias and the back on the straight grain, so there isn’t any possibility of matching stripes at the side seams. All I had to do was make it match across the centre back seam, and on the side seams of the skirt.

This proved easier said than done. I mostly used the Selfish Seamstress’s clever technique for matching, and got everything lined up beautifully (which only took an hour). But the end result was a little off after I cut it out. Look at the red stripe closest to centre back:

I figure I can just fix this up when I sew it together by changing the seam allowances a little. And if I can’t, I have enough fabric left to cut those pieces out again. The only reason I haven’t done that already is that I’m pretty sure the problem is that I’m not cutting accurately enough, and I’m not sure a second run is going to come out any better except by chance. Something about taking scissors to fabric always makes my hands wobble uncontrollably.

Matching the stripes on the skirt was even trickier. The pieces are huge. My fabric was only just wide enough for me to cut the skirt front on a fold which limited how I could arrange things. I’d also made the mistake of cutting one of the skirt backs out before the skirt front which restricted my options even more. I think I’ve got the stripes to match. I’ll find out for sure when I sew them!

One thought on “Matching tartans

  1. I think that you may be able to salvage your dilemma, from what I can see in your photos you only seem to be little out with your cutting.
    I have a few of suggestions that maybe of some help:-
    1. I agree with taking a bigger seam allowance 0.5cm – 1cm and start from the waistline and work up, and maybe smaller darts.
    2. Then tack the required seam close the edge, just to see if solves your problem, if it does keep the tacking in place until you put your zip in, then work on the darts.
    3. I always find when working with tartan/plaids, it is best to pin and tack at every stage, as you sew it together this can help save time.

    Your train of thought in going in the right direction, looking forward to seeing the results. You can do it !

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