Pattern Matching Tutorial

We interrupt the faux mink jacket to bring you – by popular request – a pattern matching tutorial! Many of you are participating in the 2011 Men’s Shirt Sew-Along over at Male Pattern Boldness and a couple of my readers asked me to write about matching patterns across the front opening. It’s easy, easy, easy!

I am using a small-scale pattern to better illustrate the process. Note that I have marked the center front (and the foldline but we don’t care about that at this point) on the front of the pattern,


and the back (very important!).


Step I: With fabric single-layer, cut your right shirt front. Make small clips at the top and bottom of the center front line (the most important step!). I have marked the center fronts with chalk for visibility.


Step II: Remove pattern and lay the newly cut front section (right side up) onto your yardage, matching the pattern exactly (can you even see it?). Put a pin at the CF clips you made earlier.


Step III: Turning your pattern piece over, align the center front line with the pins (be precise!) and cut out your 2nd piece.


Voila, that’s all there is to it! And, as you can see here, the pattern will match whether the garment will be buttoned right over left (for women),


or left over right (for men or unisex garments).



Filed under Tutorials

27 responses to “Pattern Matching Tutorial

  1. Thanks for sharing – you made that “ordeal” very easy!

  2. Excellent tutorial Gigi, thank you!!!

  3. Helen K

    Thanks for that tutorial, Gigi. You make it seem so easy.

  4. THANKS Gigi, I needed that.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Theresa in Tucson

    Yep, that’s exactly the way I do it, Gigi. The fun part comes when you have double front pockets to match. Sometimes I’ve discovered I haven’t bought enough extra and have to settle for one pocket rather than two. Also, once you master matching it becomes hard not to, unless of course the inevitable “not enough fabric” occurs. Great pictures, they say more than words can.

  7. Very nice tutorial, Gigi! I’d love to try this with stripes. I own Pattern Master Boutique and I can print a patter 1/2 and 1/4 size.

  8. Wow. That does look easy. Thanks!

  9. Deedee

    You are one generous seamstress. It is important that you share your knowledge since there are so few sewers out there these days. Thanks

  10. sewer

    Thanks for this tutorial. In the past, I’ve asked or looked this up and gotten vague instructions about making sure that the notches are in the same plane, etc..

  11. nicely done! thanks for sharing!

  12. sewer

    The only thing I might do differently, especially if I’m using expensive fabric, is to trace the pattern pieces onto oaktag without the seam allowances and then chalk the outline on the fabric. That way I’ll know if I have enough fabric before actually cutting.

    If you ever want to do a tutorial on how to calculate print repeats and how much fabric you need to buy to match prints, I’d be happy to read it. (I have a feeling it’s complex.)

  13. Nicely done! Thanks for sharing. I love how you reduced size to show technique, you are clever!

  14. Marie Roche

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I have wanted to learn this and felt it would be too difficult. Thank you for such wonderful detailed explanations.

    Thank you
    Marie Roche

  15. Thanks for your clear and helpful tutorial. Now, I’m waiting to see the gorgeous faux mink jacket that you have in process!

  16. Linda

    Thanks Gigi…once again, so easy now that I see your tutorial.

  17. Stephanie

    This is so simple! Thanks so much for sharing, why isn’t this technique in EVERY book of sewing that discusses matching patterns? Actually why isn’t it every sewing book?

    I would love to see how you deal with matching up sleeve with bodices on shirts- is it difficult? Maybe you could make a tutorial for that when you have time, unless you have covered it earlier somewhere in your blog already?

  18. Easy peasy for sure – I’ll remember that next time I sew a shirt that needs matching.

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  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to post this! I’ll be attempting this technique on my next shirt, I’m so excited!

  21. Thank you for this!

  22. Rosie

    Your timing is perfect. I have a project in mind that requires “matching” a floral pattern. As always, thank you!

  23. Wow. Seems so simple when you put it that way. I have been agonizing about this for ages. Thank you!

  24. Your tips make it easy. Thanks for this one. How about one for matching patterns at sleeves.

  25. Would you consider a tutorial on pattern matching sleeves? I’ve been looking at a lot of shirtmaking blogs by those fancy bespoke tailors but they seem to this trick a secret. Can you pattern match a sleeve to the yoke AND the bodice of a shirt?!

  26. …they seem to KEEP this trick a secret.

    Wish you could edit comments…

  27. Great tutorial Gigi 🙂