October 24, 2017

Print Matching

While my wardrobe has become decidedly more casual - JB's has become a bit more dressy - if you will.  See - he helps in the kitchen in the morning, preparing the first course, helping plate & serve the main course and doing the dishes.  So, he's started wearing his bowling shirts with jeans.  Now he had quite a few that we've purchased over the years in Hawaii, Key West and at Disney and I've made him a few.  But he wanted more.  

The more I've made, the more I've wanted to get better at pattern matching over the button placket.  I still haven't figure out how to match the pattern at the side seams as well - but I figure the side seams aren't as noticeable as the button placket.  

So, I have no idea if this is right - but it's what I do and it works for me.  I thought maybe it would help some one else.  So - here goes nothing.  

I use McCalls 4399 mens shirt pattern which is long out of print.  My envelope has a date of 2004 on it.  Also I use view A, short sleeves with the side seams left open for a bit at the bottom.  

I trace 90% of my patterns onto exam table paper and keep the original pattern intact.  No real reason, it's just what I do. And in this case, I'm glad I've done that - I've made other changes to the pattern to add contrast fabrics.  

Anyway - once the fabric has been washed and ironed - I cut the shirt out single layer.  Cutting the left front shirt piece first.  I have to remind myself often that girls are always right and boys are left out.  So, the left front has the buttonholes and goes on top of the right front.  Once the front has been cut out - I then go over to the ironing board and fold the facing back on the center front line.  I know that this is not where the facing will ultimately be folded, but I figure if I can match the pattern at the center front - then it should match coming out of the placket - so far this has worked for me in actual practice.  
folded back on center front
Then, I take the left front back to the yardage and line the print up as close to an exact match as I can get.  Smoothing the left front over the yardage and making sure everything stays matched.   
Lining up the pattern at the center front
Next, I grab my pattern piece with the facing folded back and butt it right up against the left front - making sure I have my pattern piece the right way up.  I carefully lift up the folded facing and start pinning the tissue to the fabric, being careful not to shift anything.  Once the exposed part of the pattern is pinned in place, I remove the left front, fold the facing flat, finish pining and then cut the right front out.  

Tissue being placed next to left front - red line added to show pattern piece on top of yardage
For the pocket - before removing the tissue from the left front, I slip the pocket piece under the left front piece, matching the top of the pocket with the markings on the pattern piece.  Actually - I've found for JB, that the pocket is almost under his armpit when I put it where the pattern has it, so I move it a bit toward the center front.  

Once I have everything lined up the way I want it, I remove the shirt tissue and trace some large identifying designs onto the pocket pattern.  As I was cutting a bunch of shirts - I cut a bunch of pocket blanks.  I then match my really horrible drawings to the fabric, pin & cut.  

Once you've done all this, stack all the pieces together neatly.   Fold and put in a stack on the corner of your sewing table until you feel like assembling a bunch of shirts.  

I hope this helps someone else who's struggling with pattern matching.  As I said, it might not be proper way - but it works for me.  


  1. A great technique! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I made all of my husbands wool outdoor shirts. I just could not spend 50-60 dollars on a really nice wool shirt for him to go paint trees. He still has several of them. I find mens shirts easier than women's.

  3. I like your pattern matching idea; I'm awful at matching patterns. I'll bet your guests get a little chuckle out of his patterned shirts; they're bright and cheerful. I'm so happy that you guys are enjoying your new enterprise so well.

  4. Love your method for matching pockets. Will definitely use that idea next time.

  5. I really appreciate your tutorial. I've purchased several fabrics for shirts for my husband but was intimidated by the matching process. Maybe I'll crank one out for Christmas now.


I appreciate you coming to see me. It may take me a bit to publish your comment - but I will get to them by the end of every day. If you leave a way for me to get back to you, I will. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your opinions. g

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs