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Tips for Sewing with Plaid

Plaid is one of our favorite evergreen fashion favorites. It has unmatched versatility and variation galore. While people love the pattern, not everyone loves sewing plaid. It can be tricky, but with a few strategies, you can enjoy your next plaid project.

Helpful Tips for Sewing Plaid Fabric

Here are some steps you can take to keep your stress level down as you sew plaid.

Choosing the Right Plaid

Before you get started sewing with your sewing machine, make sure that you’ve chosen the best plaid patterns and colors for the person who will be wearing the garment. Choose a pattern that has minimal seams, and avoid circular yokes, slanted darts, and princess seams when working with plaid.

Match the scale of the plaid pattern with the body size of the wearer. Stick with large plaid patterns for larger bodies and little patterns for small bodies.

Make sure to always buy more fabric than you think you will need. Multiply the number of large pattern pieces by the length needed for the horizontal bars to make one complete design (the length of the plaid repeat).

An Ideal Cutting Layout

When you need to cut plaid fabric, place it down in a single layer. Use a “with nap” layout to arrange the pattern pieces.

Matching Plaids

To match plaid pieces, just fold back the seam allowances on pieces of patterns that adjoin. Align the bars on the design at the seam lines.

It’s essential that you are able to match plaid pieces at particular points to avoid your final piece looking “off.” These points include:

  • The shoulder point

  • The hems

  • The high neck point

  • The base of the sleeve cap

  • The base of the arms

In addition, you must make sure to match the pieces at the center back of collars with bodice center backs.

Plaid Placement

Place the most visually obvious vertical bar of the plaid at the center back, center front, and the lengthwise center of the sleeve.

Place the most dominant horizontal bar in a location that will flatter the wearer, such as at the waist or hem. Avoid drawing attention to the bust and hips.

Plaid Repeats

When sewing plaid, remember that ideally, the plaid patterns that repeat should run without interruption (or at least with minimal interruption) from shoulder to hem around the body.

Sewing with GoldStar Tool

For more tips, tricks, and suggestions related to all things sewing, check out our other regular blogs. If you need help with anything on the GoldStar Tool website, contact us!