How to cut and sew a skirt (or a pair of pants) to match

Cutting a skirt to match is one of the many of the professional drafting and sewing skills that students will learn who take the Abington Art Center’s skirt course, starting this coming Saturday, January 18, 2020, from 9:30 to 12:30. To learn more about the skirt course hit this link.

The course’s ten lessons teach how  make a beautiful skirt that fits. Novices are welcome. The course is open to teens and adults. To register hit this link.

Combining the front and back skirt patterns eliminates the problems of matching the side seams.
Combining the front and back skirt patterns eliminates the problems of matching the side seams.

Conditions for matching:

1. This matching method can be used with any printed, striped or plaid fabric. (If the fabric is printed, the  garment may need to be widened slightly.)

2.  Side seams, the skirt’s center back seam, and the pant’s inseam must be on the straight grain.

3. When sewing pants the style is limited to a fairly wide width through the leg.

4. The curve at the top of the side seam is a dart and is sewn as a dart.

5. The pattern must fit.

6. If the matching involves a plaid or horizontal stripe, the heaviest stripe needs to finish at the hem.

7. Fabric MUST be cut on the open as shown. (ALL fabrics are cut on the open In the industry.)

wide pant legs are required.
Successful application of this technique requires that the pant legs be fairly wide.

Advantages of this method:

1. Eliminating a skirt or pant pattern’s side seams prevents matching problems.

2. Eliminating a skirt or pant pattern’s side seams speeds cutting and sewing.

3. Fabric is saved.

Fabric is saved because the width of the side seam allowances is eliminated. If the side seams have 1/2 inch seam allowances, then 2 inches of fabric width is saved. If the side seams have 3/4 inch seam allowances, 3 inches of fabric width is saved.

4. Skirts can often be cut from one length of fabric.

Pattern Drafting instructions:

1. Lay the front side seam at the hip over the back side seam at the hip. Pivot the front pant pattern from its side seam/hip cross grain until its straight-grain line parallels the back straight-grain line.

2. Check that the back cross-grain lines extend through the front cross-grain lines.

3. When sewing the pant be sure to sew the curved side seam’s dart that extends to the hip cross-grain line. Draft the front and back inseams on the straight grain from the knee to the ankle.

The feed-dog moves the underlying ply faster than the top ply.
The feed-dog moves the underlying ply faster than the top ply.

Sewing instructions:

1.  Sewing-to-match in the industry is done with NO pinning or basting.

Fabric ready to be sewn to match.
Lay the fabric that is to be matched under the machine as shown.

2. Because the feed dog runs the bottom-ply of fabric under the machine a little quicker than the top ply, (the presser foot creates a slight drag on the top-ply), the sewing machine operator holds the bottom-ply of fabric back just a little.

The amount of the bottom-ply that is held back varies with different fabrics, but it is usually no more than 1/16 of an inch. This little bit will make the fabric look as if it is about to be miss-matched as it is about to go under the needle.
Just at the last second the feed dog speeds the bottom-ply in and the resulting seam matches.

Skirt cut to match from window-pane fabric.
Skirt cut to match from window-pane fabric.
Green plaid pants cut to match.
Green-plaid pants, cut and sewn to match. Notice that the plaid’s green stripe lies at the bottom of the pant leg.




Students who take the skirt course will use a book, especially compiled for the skirt course, that is a composite of the skirt’s drafting and sewing instructions in the companion books, The Basics for Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts and The Basics for Sewing Pants and Skirts. They will buy their books in the classroom on the first day of class.

If you are not planning to take the course, but would like this information, the books, shown below, are on sale, 20% off, through January 31. Use coupon code SKIRTS.

Basics-for-Drafting-pants book
Drafting & Fitting Pants and Skirts gives fully-diagrammed instructions for all types of figures, including asymmetrical figures.
Sewing Pants and Skirts gives complete sewing instructions, including how to sew both the right and left-fly zipper; patch, diagonal inset, and back inset pockets.
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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2020.

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