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Use Stripes to Create a Chevron Design

Matched stripes create a design element with this precise mitering technique.
Threads magazine – 161 – June/July 2012

Stripes don’t have to be straight lines. Even if the stripes you’re using aren’t perfectly linear, you still need to make sure that all the stripes end up matched precisely the way you want them. Otherwise, the effect will be ruined. This vintage dress is an excellent example. Its “stripes,” which are rows of printed ruffles, are perfectly mitered to create a flattering and eye-catching chevron design.

A ruffle-patterned stripe was cut on the bias with care to match the ruffles so they miter at the seams.

bias stripes

Here’s how you can achieve equally good results.

1. Start with a pattern that is designed for a bias construction, and cut one panel.

2. Press under the center-front seam allowance.

3. With right sides up, position the cut piece over the uncut fabric to find a good match for the front seam. Stretch the underlayer, if needed, to get a match. Baste a seamline on the uncut fabric.

4. Align the fold to the basting. Use a fell or whipstitch to baste the pressed fold to the uncut fabric.

5. Place the pattern over the fabric, and cut the piece on the three unbasted sides. Repeat for each adjoining panel. The fell stitching or whipstitching acts like a hinge; you can open it to machine-stitch the seam inside the fold before removing the basting.

whipstitch sample

Excerpted from “Engineered Stripes” by Judith Neukam, Threads #161, June/July 2012.

Photos: Sloan Howard


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  1. stsimon | | #1

    I'm crazy about that print of ruffles but frustrated in trying to search for it. Can you help with the designer or manufacturer, or even where it is sold?

  2. User avater
    beckyo | | #2

    According to the article this is a vintage dress, so the fabric would not be available.

  3. Donna_R | | #3

    The tip for matching strips is great. I kind of went DAH. Should have thought of that myself. Makes it sew easy.

  4. SharonCarter | | #4

    Judith, I am so glad u suggested basting the seam lines. It may take a bit of extra time, but it works!! If the basted edges are curved (princess seams) the seam allowances may differ, but the SEAM lines are the same length. Then it is easy to baste them together--a basted seam is a 1/2 sewn, and most of the time the trusty seam ripper isn't necessary. I find basting all of my sewing is better since I started doing it. Fine sewing takes time, but the results are wonderful. Just an extra step. Thank you Judith for a wonderful article..& thanks to Anne Hyde, Susan Khalje & Clara Dittli.
    Sharon Carter, Denver.

  5. Gentledanes | | #5

    This was so helpful. Thank you!

  6. Onyx147 | | #6

    Although I'm a day late in giving my comment, and I do apologize for that, but, here goes. Ms. Neukam, you are a gem. The knowledge that you give the readers is nothing to be taken lightly. I'm glad I subscribe to the magazine. I just wish that I had you beside me in the middle of the night when I do my creative work to guide me along the humps and bumps that we all have from time to time. Thank you for making just one more thing that seems so hard and you make it so very easy. Keep guiding us along.

  7. gretamarcia | | #7

    Wow, wish I had this information 7 months ago when I was working on my blazer. The excellent news is; I can fix the blazer now. Thank you!

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