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How to get printed material to match whe

Girlgab | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am working with printed material. I have cut the pattern and made sure the pattern would match once the seam is sewn. My problem is …When I pin the seam on the “wrong side” ….then look at it from the “correct” side… the pattern is slighty off. There must be a trick to this.
So how do I get the printed material to match up perfectly when I pin the seams together?
Thank you for any suggestions.
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  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    Were the pattern pieces matched exactly at the seamline? The cutting line can get in the way visually and mess with our heads on commercial patterns that include the seam allowance. Perhaps a dart or a tuck or some ease was not accounted for? Is the fabric design printed and truly lined up with the grain or is it skewed slightly in one way or another? Or maybe the action of pinning is nudging the fabric into an offset position?

  2. SewNancy | | #2

    Fold one seam in and slip baste from the right side.  If the fabric is slippery, sometimes you need to do this in both directions.  It is time consuming but less agravation in long run.  Also, depending on style, not every seam can match all the way.  Also, if you cut it out with sas, you may be off to begin with.  The best way to match is to cut off sas on pattern and trace plaid or pattern lines on piece than take that piece and use it to line up the matching pattern.  You have to do this with a single lay, not doulbled.

    N ancy

    1. Girlgab | | #3

      Hi Nancy and Elisabeth,

      Thank you for your suggestions.

      Earlier tonight I spoke with a worker at a fabric store and asked her how to perfectly match up printed fabric. She suggested, what Nancy suggested. Which was to slip stitch the leaf pattern into place and then sew it on my machine.

      She went on to say that many fabrics have a slight "give" to the cloth which can cause a tiny mismatch while pining the seam.

      I told the worker I was working with large amounts of fabric and was there a short cut?....(like using Iron-on tape instead of slip stitching). The worker told me the needle on my machine would get all gummed up.

      If anyone is wondering what I am making....It is a shower curtain and matching window curtains. I am using a medium weight Cloth. (not plastic or anything slippery like polyester). The width of the fabric is 4ft.9in. I am using my present shower curtain as a templet and it measures 6 ft. So...I am adding 7.5 inches to each side to equal the 6ft. needed. I don't want to just add a 1ft.3in. addition to one side....because I think having two balanced, nearly invisible seams will look better. But, this also means that I will be spending a great deal of time slip stitching 12 feet of fabric!

      If slip stitching is the only way to get the leaf pattern seam to match perfectly.....then that's what I'll do.

      I think the effort and hours (days) it will take to slip stitch the seam will be worth it in the long run. The material is drop dead gorgeous....and I plan to live with this shower curtain and matching window drapes for at least a decade.

      Thank you again for your help.

      1. SewNancy | | #4

        You can use Steam a Seam fusible tape, it is paper backed and you steam it on and then pull off the paper and position the top layer and steam it.  It does not gum up the machine.  I used it to perfectly match the edges and hold it in place while I hand sewed a zipper in a plaid skirt.  But, I have sewn through it.  I used it just Tuesday to hold in place a hem to top stitch.  It keeps it from shifting and getting that lump at the end of a long seam.


        1. Girlgab | | #6

          Thank you Nancy and kjp!

          I went to a different fabric store tonight. The worker told me about Steam-A-Seam that won't gum up my needle.

          (Nancy, are you following me ? :-) grin)

          I am so happy I found this stuff! I figure it will take me a few hours (instead of days) to perfectly match and stitch the seam. Nancy, thank you so much for your help. If I hadn't tried another fabric store....it's nice to know that you would have solved my problem!

          I would be hesitant to use a fabric glue stick on such a large amount of fabric.

          It being med weight cloth....( and 6 feet of it )....when it hangs over the table, I'm not sure the fabric wouldn't shift before the glue dried.

          But, I will definitely try it on other projects. Thank you for your help kjp.

          1. kayl | | #7

            Another choice would be one of the washable-outable double stick tapes

            like WonderTape. Works well for all sorts of strange jobs on washable

            fabrics, like "basting" zippers to fleece, matching prints, etc.

          2. Girlgab | | #8

            Hi Kay,

            Thank you so much for your suggestion.

            I have a question....

            What do you mean when you say...."outable"....and where can I find Wonder

            Tape? I'd like to read the directions.

            How is it different from Steam-A-Seam?

            By the way...my name is Linda.

          3. SewTruTerry | | #9

            I agree with the Magic Tape it is truly magic.  It is different in that it is truly temporary which is not the case with Steam a Seam.  Steam a Seam will leave adhesive behind as it is a thin amount of heat activated glue much like a glue gun, it is temporary in that with it you must also sew as after awhile especially in a humid bathroom it will let go.  As with Magic Tape it is water soluble and will even dry clean out of the garment or project. So therefore it is never meant to be anything more than a basteing method. Hope this helps.

          4. kayl | | #10

            Wonder tape totally disappears in the wash. It is just a double stick tape-- stick one side down to one fabric, then remove the paper liner, then stick the other fabric down. No irons needed.

            Here's a pretty good picture of it: http://www.stonemountainfabric.com/pages/totw061602.html

            The steam-a-seam products all require the use of an iron, which is not the best for fleece (my primary use of Wonder tape), and not something I care to tackle on big projects. I have an 8 ft worktable, but I don't have an 8 ft ironing board.


          5. carolfresia | | #11

            The first time I tried Wonder Tape, I was living in southern California. I thought I'd gotten a dud roll of the tape, because it didn't really stick much at all. Well, the other day (a hot, humid New England August afternoon), I rediscovered my roll of Wonder Tape as I was trying to find a shortcut to inserting a zipper in an astronaut costume. Lo and behold, it works great in this climate, even 3-4 years after I purchased it! I guess the humidity in the air brought back the stickiness of the tape. Now I know why people are always raving about how helpful it is, and it's going to be my new friend.


          6. kayl | | #12

            Interesting about the humidity... I bet rehydrating the roll for a few hours in a baggie with a piece of wet cotton (not touching the roll)

            would work. I keep my Wondertape and my washaway thread in a

            sealed glass jar here in the Pacific Northwet!


          7. carolfresia | | #13

            I've never even tried the washaway thread, assuming I'd just end up with a melted blob on a spool. But I'm delighted that my Wonder Tape works at last, and wish I'd thought about rehydrating it back when I lived in the dry heat of LA.


          8. kayl | | #14

            Washaway thread seems to hang in here ok in the Portland, OR area-- I'm just so used to putting water-sensitive chemicals in desiccator jars (from many years of lab work), I just carried the habit over to sewing. <g> I did have a sample piece of Solvy stabilizer "melt" in high humidity when we moved over a nice wet winter. No signs it had been

            wetted by anything but our nearly 100% relative humidity.


          9. Girlgab | | #15

            Wow! Thank you Kay , Carolfrsia and Terry!

            This week I am going to test.... Magic Tape and Steam-A-Seam.

            (in a bit of a contest.)

            I'll let you guys know what the results were with my fabric.

            Thank you all so much for your hep!!!!!!

      2. kjp | | #5

        You can also use a fabric glue stick - it won't gum up your needle.  Some posts in the past have suggested a generic brand glue stick also.  I haven't tried this, but plan to test it before my next big project.  I used a fabric glue stick for 8 huge roman shades to baste the ring tape - most of a roll of it.  No gumming on my needle!  Good luck!

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