Matching Stitch Patterns Across Seams When Sewing Sweater Knits


I have a favorite technique for matching texture and color patterns when sewing seams, but it isn’t magic. Seams won’t miraculously match using this method unless they're carefully planned when the pattern is being cut. But if you are careful and think ahead, you can get beautiful matching across your seams.

Remember, when working with strong textures and color patterns, always purchase more fabric than you would for a solid or a fabric with a small pattern just like when you are matching stripes or plaids in a woven. Also the placement of your pattern pieces needs to be as precise as possible and careful cutting is mandatory! Once you plan your pattern matching and cut the pieces accordingly, you can use my method to make sure your hard work was worth your effort.

The One-Pin Method of Matching Stitch Patterns Across Seams



Step 1. Place fabric pieces right sides together.

Step 2. Making sure the first pattern is matched, place one pin perpendicular to the seam holding the fabric in place.

Step 3. Place fabric under the presser foot. Lower the presser foot. Lower the needle. Remove the pin.

Step 4. Separate the fabric a little to view the next pattern motif you need to match. It should be no greater than 3 or 4 inches away. Match the patterns and hold with your fingers as you sew.

Step 5. Once your fingers get close to the presser foot, stop and repeat steps 4 and 5 until you complete the seam.

In order for this technique to work, your machine must already be set up properly for sewing sweater knits. This means adjusting the presser foot pressure (if available) and using a walking foot (if necessary). See How to Sew Smooth Sweater Knit Seams.

You can also use this method on a serger with one big caveat: Don't use a pin to begin. In fact, never use pins when working with a serger! Instead, hold the fabric together with a craft clip (also sold under the brand name Wonder Clips). Binder clips work nicely too if you have them on hand. Since there's generally not a large bed on home sergers, the fabric adjustments and holds (step 4) will have to be done more frequently.

There's generally not a large bed on home sergers so the fabric adjustments and holds (step 4) will come more frequently. Be sure all settings are correct for your sweater knit, and you'll be able to match patterns across the seam with a serger, too.

Interested in exploring the details of sweater sewing a little more? My online workshop How to Cut and Sew a Sweater will be opening again for registration soon. Sign up to learn more about the course.

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