Thursday, June 23, 2011

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to Julia, Lisa Laree, Mamafitz, Carla, Debbie, Becky, Patsijean and Summerset for talking back to my confession last week. I asked about plaids - specifically, how much extra fabric do you buy if you want to match the plaids.

While we had one person who avoids plaids like the plague for this very reason (the difficulties inherent in matching them), the other commenters converged on a small set of points and a couple of rules of thumb.

Point #1: There's no single, perfect rule for determining how much extra fabric to buy.

Point #2: The extra amount of fabric you'll need to buy will depend on several factors, including:

1) the size of the plaid repeat,

2) the width of the fabric,

3) the number of pattern pieces, and

4) the width of the pattern pieces.

For people who want to be as precise as possible in their estimations, Lisa Laree recommends adding enough extra fabric to give yourself one full repeat of the plaid pattern for each pattern piece that you'll be laying down lengthwise and want to be able to shift to achieve a match.

So, for example, if you the plaid repeats itself every 6 inches and you want to match up the front, back and sleeves of the shirt, you would want to add 18 inches, or 3 repeats of the plaid pattern. This would allow you to lay each of those 3 major pattern pieces anywhere along that plaid repeat pattern. (Maybe you could get away with 2 repeats or 12 inches.)

For a simpler rule of thumb, people generally agreed on this system:

1) The really brave ones add 1/2 yard to the amount of fabric recommended on the pattern envelope.

2) The "better safe than sorry" folks add 1 yard to the amount of fabric recommended on the pattern envelope.

3) And the middle-of-the-roaders add 1/2 yard when the plaid repeat is a small pattern and 1 yard when the plaid repeat is a larger pattern.

I thought that all of the advice made a lot of sense and will be easy to remember. Thanks again to everyone!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures from the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History series entitled "American Ingenuity: Sportswear, 1930s - 1970s."

To learn more about any particular garment, click on the embedded links. To see more outfits from this series, go here:


Eugenia said...

Thanks for this very useful information for plaid buying. I haven't yet attempted a plaid garment - but I would love to and when I do this post will be very helpful.

Tommy said...

You have done a excellent job of giving directions for working with plaids. They are a handful to deal with. With enough fabric one can use common sense to figure it out, matching it up, but that is not 'sensible': wasting fabric! lol

Appreciate the information.

Lisa Laree said...

I probably could've been a little clearer in my 'lengths of fabric'; if the fabric is wide enough so that two of the pieces (like the front and back) can lay side-by-side, that's only one length for the two of them. But if it's narrow enough that you have to lay them end-to-end, it'll be two lengths.
Did I say it right this time? :-)

Karin said...

I've never tried sewing a plaid. You've found some very pretty examples that are certainly tempting though! Thanks for all the good information about how much to buy.