‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match,’ the girls sang in Fiddler On The Roof . They wanted husbands. But they could just as well have been singing about matching up both sides of a seam when goes through the middle of a design. Both kinds of matches can be tricky to pull off. And even worse, they’re obvious to everybody when not done correctly.
For the husband, talk to Yente. But for fabric matchmaking, we asked home décor sewing expert, Donna Babylon. She has a simple method she uses, which has given her great results. This is just one of the great techniques from her book, Decorating Sewlutions: Learn to Sew as You Decorate Your Home .
Matching up two sides of a design
When you need to sew a seam that goes through the middle of a design, you first need to remember to allow extra fabric for sewing the seam (at least ½” extra on each side). You should determine this when you calculate where the seam will go.
The tricky part in sewing two halves of a design together is the fact that if one of your pieces of fabric shifts up or down even a tiny amount while you sew, it will show.
I like to use a technique called ‘fuse basting,’ which allows me to perfectly match the fabric designs and then stick them together so they can’t move when I sew. I use a paper-backed fusible tape, which you can find in the notions area of the fabric store. Steam-A-Seam is one example. Check the information printed on the packaging to make sure the tape can be stitched through. Some adhesives can gum up the needle.
Follow these instructions to fuse-baste a seam
- Lay the full width of your fabric on a large work surface right side up. Cut off the selvages. Cut the panels you will be seaming together.
- Fold back the cut edge of one piece of fabric ½” toward the wrong side and press. Place a strip of paper-backed fusible tape, adhesive side down, on this pressed edge, close to the fold. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for iron temperature and steam setting. Iron along the paper side of the tape. Allow it to cool and then remove the paper.
- Arrange the fabric pieces so they are both right side up. Working from the top to the bottom, lap the pressed seam allowance (the folded and fused edge) over the unpressed one. Match the motifs exactly.
- Use your iron to fuse the pieces together.
- Fold the pieces so they are right sides together. Stitch directly along the pressed fold line and the motifs will be perfectly matched! Press the seam to one side.
Now you know how to make a perfect match. If you could just use the same method to find a date for your cousin. She’s got such a sweet personality.
Excerpted from Decorating Sewlutions by Donna Babylon, which you can order online.