Tutorial: Matching a fabric pattern for pockets.

I am making a shirt for David, out of a big, busy floral pattern, and as this involves matching the pattern over the pockets, I thought I would write up how I do this in case it helps someone else.

Matching patterns on a busy fabric is not just a showoffy thing to do, it also stops the garment from being cluttered and busy in a bad way. It would work just as well of course on any garment with pockets.

1. Separate the two shirt fronts and pin the pattern tissue back onto one of them, with the fabric right side facing the tissue. In the photos, the pattern is upside down-whereas for the other side it would be right side up.


2. Now pin the pocket pattern piece over the pattern, matching the markings. In this case, I’ve matched the inner edge only because of a folded adjustment, but if you can, match all the placement lines.

3. Now using a chalk pencil (because it rubs out), carefully trace over a few key reference points in the fabric pattern. Not all of them, just a few. I’m using a purple chalk and you may be able to make out that I’ve traced a leaf and a flower just above where my hand is in this photo.

4. Now unpin everything. Place your pocket piece onto the remaining fabric and carefully line up your chalk marks with the pattern. It takes a teency bit of patience but not too much 🙂 It’s hard to see in the photo, but this stage is simpler because you only have one layer of tissue to see through. Pin then cut your pocket out.

5. Rub the chalk marks off the pattern piece (I brushed them off with a dry microfibre cloth) and repeat the whole process for the other side of the garment.

This is my piped pocket all lined up on the shirt front ready to sew. This method works just as well on unpiped pockets, of course.You don’t even have to match the placement lines – use the pattern matching to place them, it ought to be just right.

If your pattern is too faint to see through the two layers of tissue, you can place a piece of clear plastic over the shirt front piece and trace the pattern onto that in a much darker pen. Then place the pocket piece over THAT and pick up from step two. Only, you will have the darker markings to trace instead!

The Shirt will start making an appearance behind the counter in a week or so. 🙂

Happy Sewing!


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