How To: Match Stripes

Posted by Freya Gilbert
on December 04, 2022

Stripe Matching takes your handmade garments up a notch, in terms of finished quality!

It can set handmade garments apart from their ready to wear counter parts and is fairly easy to master, with a few tips and tricks.  Let me talk you through how to match stripes when sewing your clothes.  These tips will work on woven and knitted fabrics.

I'm making the 3 by 3 Tees' in this example.  Because the simplest version is a three piece pattern, it's a great projects to have a go with stripe matching on.  Any type of pattern matching will use up more fabric than not matching patterns, so you might need to buy a bit extra fabric to make the stripes work.


Start by folding carefully

Fold your fabric carefully, taking the time to make sure the stripes match up together on the fold.  Each stripe should be level with itself on the top and bottom layer of fabric. 

If the stripes misalign and match up with a different stripe on the selvedge, the fabric will be twisted and the stripes will not lay horizontal when the garment is sewn up.


Find a reference point

Use a notch or another line on your pattern to line up with the stripe on your fabric.  I've drawn this line all the way across my pattern piece so I can check that I'm following the same line across the width of my body.

Use the same point on the back pattern piece to match up the same point on the stripe as you cut out the other side of your pattern.  These points of reference will then ensure you're stripes will join at the side seam at the same place.

You can use a pin to hold the notch line in place to make sure it remains lined up with the stripe.

*Don't forget to snip your notches!*


Pin it real good!

Use your pins to match up every line of the stripe and hold the layers together at the same point.  In my stripes, I have put the pin through the narrow stripe on both layers.  If you're sewing with wide stripes you can put the pin through the line where the stripes meet for accuracy.

If you're working with jersey fabric, you can gently stretch the fabric between the stripes to match them up if the cutting out stage has left you with slightly off stripes.


Sew together

Even if you are planning on overlocking your garment, you should baste the fabrics together with your sewing machine first.  This will let you check your stripes has lined up before you commit to the overlocker!

Once you have checked the stipes have lined up successfully, go ahead and sew together with a stretch stitch or overlocker.


And that's it, stipe matching requires extra patience and attention to the details, but it's worth spending a bit of extra time to make seams you can show off!