Sewing with Prints: Boost Your Sewing Skills with a Plaid Skirt | Robyn Burgess | Skillshare

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Sewing with Prints: Boost Your Sewing Skills with a Plaid Skirt

teacher avatar Robyn Burgess, Sewist & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting Started

    • 3. Exploring Patterns and Prints

    • 4. Creating Optical Illusions

    • 5. Planning Pattern Placement

    • 6. Seam and Pocket Placement

    • 7. Sewing Lines that Match

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Have your clothes looking runway ready by using patterns and prints to highlight your sewing skills and your beautiful figure.

At 6’2’’, Robyn Burgess struggled to find clothes that fit both her inseam and her bold style. Tired of never feeling comfortable in the clothes she owned and constantly contributing to the fast fashion industry, Robyn decided to start making her own clothes. What began as a side project has turned into an entire custom-made wardrobe and a sewing blog beloved by a community of other curious, fashion-forward creatives.

Now, with years of stylish pieces under her belt, she’s ready to teach you how to fill your closet with your own handmade clothes. If you’re comfortable sewing garments, but ready to take your style to the next level, look no further than sewing with patterned fabric.

In this class, you’ll learn how to choose the right prints and place them in ways that will not only make your garments look incredible, but also elevate your designs and unlock new sewing skills.

Working with Robyn you’ll:

  • Learn how to place prints on your garment to get the best effect on your body
  • Discover the benefits of using certain patterned fabrics over others
  • Create optical illusions, symmetry, and balance within your garment 
  • Add length, width, or emphasis to your figure through pattern and print
  • Achieve eye-catching designs by playing with the direction of your patterns

Plus, Robyn will share a few extra paper sewing patterns that she handpicked for this lesson on pattern placement.   

Whether you’re looking to unlock new sewing skills or understand the ins and outs of sewing with patterned fabric, your perfectly planned patterned garment awaits.

In this class, Robyn uses a paper pattern, a plaid or patterned fabric, a pencil, ruler, fabric scissors, fabric chalk, pins, and a sewing machine. To continue your sewing journey, explore Robyn's Learning Path Sew Custom Clothing from Scratch.

Meet Your Teacher

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Robyn Burgess

Sewist & Designer


My name is Robyn Andrea Burgess. I’m 6’2″ and I’ve been this gloriously tall since I was 13. I’ve always loved making every hallway and sidewalk my runway, but finding fashions that fit all of my proportions is a struggle. I started my fashion design and sewing journey in 2015 to build a wardrobe of quality garments that fit my inseam and my bold style. I hope Styles InSeams will inspire you to create outfits that show the world how fabulous you are!


Follow me on Instagram for daily sewing inspiration.

See all of my me-made looks on the blog and shop my sewing pattern designs to make your own.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] I always want to elevate my wardrobe to make it look professional but also stand the test of time, anyone who looks at my clothes can see the love and effort that goes into them, that's because I pay attention to the details. [MUSIC] Hi, my name is Robyn Andrea Burgess, I'm a soloist and founder of styles and seams a bit obsessed sewing blog and indeed pattern business. I started sewing six years ago after decades of struggling to find clothes that fit my six-foot to body, my budget, and my bowl, cheerful style, I taught myself how to design, and so a handmade wardrobe. Now, I am proud to say that I have not bought clothes since 2018, everything, where I create for my imagination and my sewing machine, I want my garments reflect the effort I put into them. The big part of looking expensive is elevating your design choices to reflect the level of attention to detail that isn't seen in low-budget garments. In this class, we're taking on a tricky subject for designers, sewing with prints and patterns. I'm going to show you how to choose the right print and place them in ways that will make the garment and the where looked incredible. You'll learn how a little scale and just a bit more mindfulness can dramatically improve the quality of your sewing creationists. You should take this class if you're comfortable sewing garments but ready to take your style to the next level, let's demystify pattern placement together and unlock new levels your sewing skills, I'm so excited to give you all my secrets, let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Getting Started: [MUSIC] Welcome to my prints and patterns class. I'm so excited you're here. Have you ever seen one of those listicles with clothing fails? You know the kind with big flowers right at the ***** like headlights or stripes that are distractingly misaligned? Those quality assurance flops should have never left the factory floor. But if you were the factory of your own handmade wardrobe, how do you prevent wasteful costly mistakes in your sewing and design process? Lazy or poorly placed patterns are par for the course with fast fashion. In a factory process, patterns are laid on stacks of fabric and cut to save as much material as possible. Designer fashion, on the other hand, can be incredibly intentional about the direction of stripes or alignment of checks. Elevating simple prints to new heights. In this class, I'm going to help you unlock the design potential of prints and patterns. The garments you sew look as considered as all the effort you put into creating them. Let's talk about what we'll need for this class. First, you'll need a paper pattern. I've chosen a simple skirt with patch pockets. It's a relatively easy piece to make but will give us a few opportunities to practice aligning our prints when we add the pockets and so the front and back. Then you're going to need some fabric. Choose a plaid or pattern fabric, whatever grabs your attention. Perhaps the design you love that you'd normally be intimidated by. Then you'll need to bring back some standard materials, like a pencil, ruler, fabric scissors, fabric chalk, pins, and of course, your trusty machine. As always, you can find a list of these materials in the project resources where I'll also link to some alternative patterns in case you don't want to make a skirt. The skills we're going to learn in this class are universal, so you can choose any pattern you want. Now, you have all the tools you need to get started. Meet me in the next lesson, where we'll explore all of your design possibilities with prints and patterns. [MUSIC] 3. Exploring Patterns and Prints: [MUSIC] Welcome back. In this lesson, we are exploring all the different types of prints and patterns you can find on fabric. I want to expose you to the myriad of different options that are out there so you can get excited about sewing with prints and patterns and maybe get rid of a little of intimidation when it comes to choosing the right print to match up to your sewing project. Let's dive in. First, let's talk about one of the most common prints when it comes to fashion; stripes. Stripes come in a lot of varieties, a lot of different sizes and colors. I'm wearing E-coat stripe. It's an Indian fabric and it's in two colors, but stripes come in a ton of different varieties. For example, this wall is a nice, beautiful rainbow circus print stripe. Instead of it just being a back-and-forth of two stripes, you have so much excitement in this print. But stripes don't just have to be printed in two colors. Sometimes you have fabrics like this corduroy, the nice wide wale where you can see visible stripes just by the nap of the fabric or the direction in which the fabric has been woven. There's also stripes that are formed out of other print. Look for patterns like this where you can definitely see some direction in the pattern. You can see it going vertical, but it's more abstract, it's not just straight lines. It gives a lot more excitement to the print. Stripes can even be created with texture. This really beautiful textured print comes out from the fabric. You can definitely see lines here in the way that it's been designed because there's a little bit of gap in-between each row, but it's not your traditional strike. But definitely, treat something like this just as you would a stripe and making sure that you're planning out the direction of the print. Let's move on to a little variation of stripes and those are plugs. Plugs and checks, there's so many different options out there. You're probably familiar with Gangnam, which is a really basic check where everything is in square, but you can take different types of plugs. Some will have squares and rectangles, different color treatments, different scale on the horizontal and the vertical axes, and then different colors woven into them as well. You get a lot of variety with a size of the different lines and stripes that are in this print. Another print you're probably familiar with are florals. Florals come in so many beautiful patterns. Here's a skirt that I made with a dead stuck floral that is pretty abstract and large and scale. I have this floral on a viscous that is really small in scale but picks up many of the same colors here. You also often see florals in different types of lace and embroidery design. Here's a beautiful gupio lace that has a nice floral into the netting with a border print as well that you can see. Definitely, explore floral options. They evoke a lot of femininity, they evoke a lot of grace and elegance, but you can also get really funky with your floral if you have a different color scheme. Next, let's talk about some more abstract prints or some more types of novelty prints. Cheetah print and jaguar and leopard animal prints. For the last several years, these have really been regarded as neutrals where people will mix and match them as if they're just wearing like a plane fabric and that's really exciting to see. It adds a lot of color and contrast to an outfit. You also have more novelty prints like the suns. It's just a nice two-color print in a pretty big scale, but it's really beautiful and gives a nice design. You find a lot of novelty prints in children's garments and just fun whimsical designs. Definitely play around with the type of energy you're trying to bring to your garment. Next we have some more abstracts. These are beautiful works of art. This silk has four colors in it, but it's giving so much movement and so much interest from the busyness of this print. Then I have this abstract that reflects painterly brushstrokes. This print has a huge format. When you think about prints this big also think about border prints, for example, or panel prints. But this is absolutely the favorite print that I own. It's so beautiful and I don't know what to do with it because the stakes are so high for cutting it, it has to be incredible. I almost want to wait until my sewing skills are good enough that there's no way I'm going to mess it up. Lastly, here's a floral, but I wanted to show this one to you because it is a jacquard fabric, meaning that not only is it printed on one side of the fabric, you also have the print carried through to the backside as well. When I sewed up a blazer, one that's back there with this, I could use both sides of this sprint to create a really beautiful effect. Now let's talk about how we can shop smart, and find the right print for our project. The first thing I want you to consider is the direction of the print. Something like this, has one clear direction. The faces are going up. When you buy something like this, you'll have to remember that if you have a garment like I'm wearing where there's a tie or something that's going to be angled, you're going to see that angle in your print. It might be okay for you to do that. That's a design choice, but it's more than likely you're going to want to choose a project for this fabric, but keeps the direction of that print going the right way. If you don't pay attention to the direction of this print, you might end up with suns that have upside down faces. These aren't just circles, even though they give the effect of circles, they definitely have a clear face that's going in one direction. This is why I've had this fabric pretty much the longest. [LAUGHTER] If you have an abstract like this, it doesn't really matter the direction of it because it's so dizzying that you can't tell the right way up. Think about that as you're choosing a print to get the right direction onto your project. Next, let's talk about the scale of your print. For example, these are two different florals, and they have a very different scale to them. There's this big floral here and this small one here. When you think about the scale, oftentimes, that is going to help to determine what your use is for the garment. I made a short skirt with this print, but what I really was paying attention to is not having a ton of seam lines that would break up this print. If I were making, for example, Boost Yea, or something where I'm cutting tiny little pieces, you wouldn't have these clear blocks of the florals anymore. They'd be broken up by a ton of different seam lines. That might be a look that you're going for that could look cute with this. But instead of having these floral designs here, it would turn into more of an abstract where it's just bits and pieces of the floral. A smaller scale print like this can do well broken into smaller pieces. You can't really tell the direction of this print and you can't tell one way to the other. But remember that scale also should be associated to the scale of what you're making with it. Rules can always be broken, but generally speaking, when you have something big, you want to make something big out of it. When you have something small, you can't make something big out of it, or you can't make something small out of it. What's so good about small prints is that they don't generally require a lot of effort when you're lining them up. A print like this, I wouldn't really bother to try to match up on my side seams or matchup in the front because again, once you're just looking at it from afar, you're not going to notice those tiny little details are going to get lost in this a bit. Another thing to remember is that big prints make areas look bigger and small prints can make areas look smaller. If you put a giant print over your butt and you really want your butt to look smaller, you might be doing the opposite effect. It's totally up to you. You could want your butt to look bigger. I'm for that also. Just make sure you're intentional about that choice and you realize what you're doing as you make that choice. It's really easy to understand the scale of a print when you're seeing it in a fabric store, but if you are buying prints online, oftentimes, there's a ruler on those pictures on the website to help you see the scale. Let's move on to another concept with print called repeat. The repeat in a print is basically when the pattern repeats itself; so when it starts over. Generally speaking, more expensive fabrics tend to have a larger repeat, meaning that you're not seeing that same artwork stamped on to the pattern so frequently. The reason why that happens is because there's just a lot more effort that goes into creating a huge repeat, for example, in 18-inch repeat might take a lot more artwork by that graphic designer than like a 6-inch repeat. The other thing to remember though, is if you have a repeat and you're working with like a novelty print or even a strength like this, the larger your repeat is, that is often the more fabric you need to buy in order to match your prints. Because if I'm trying to have these stripes aligned and this distance is even wider than I might have to shift my pattern over even more in order to get those to line up. I'll show you more about that when we get to a later lesson in this class. But remember that when you're purchasing a printed fabric, you're often going to need to purchase a little extra fabric to make sure that you get your alignment right. A really good example of why you need to buy extra fabric is this stress. Because of the stress has this big bold stripe, I definitely want it to be very intentional about its placement. I had to make sure that I was following the green line as I placed it, but I also wanted to try to create some symmetry between the shoulders. Instead of having it be centered with the same color and then it radiating outward, I actually had the opposites here. The white meets with this shoulder where the blue meets with this shoulder. Again, that's a design choice you can make, but in my case, it was just because I didn't have enough fabric to create the exact symmetry I was looking for. One more thing to remember with prints is that they sometimes signify different errors. They are the fastest thing to go out of style. Remember as you're purchasing your prints, if you're not going to use it right away, it might end up getting a little bit dated before you end up sewing it. It just gets stuck in your fabric stash. I encourage you to explore all the prints and patterns that are out there. One thing I like to do is go online and explore the different categories on the fabric websites. Click into the Novelties, click into the Stripes, click into the Florals, see all the different ways that a given idea about a fabric can be rendered with different scale, different sizes of the pattern repeats, different colors and really get a feel for what appeals to your taste. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about creating optical illusions with prints. How to place them on your body to get the best effect. I'll see you there. [MUSIC] 4. Creating Optical Illusions: [MUSIC] Welcome back. In this lesson, we're going to talk about optical illusions and practical ways to place the prints of your fabric to make your clothes look even better. When something is slightly amiss with your clothes, people tend to fixate on that issue. I know a perfectionist like me does. You want to make sure that you're drawing people's eyes to the features of your body that you love, and obscuring the things that maybe you're a little bit insecure about. You can do that with smart print placement and getting your pattern onto your body in a way that's going to best highlight exactly how you want to show yourself. Let's talk about line placement. Lines will draw the eyes of another person. If you have a vertical line, that can draw your eyes up and down, while a horizontal line can draw your eyes across. You've of course heard it said that horizontal stripes make a person look wider. That certainly can be the case because the horizontal lines can draw your eye across and make people focus on the width. I sometimes like that. As I was placing the plaid on this skirt, I wanted people's eyes to be drawn to the width at the fullest part of my hips. That's because it would help to create contrast with my waist and give me more of the hourglass shape that I like. But also, it's because if I were to place a line at just off the hip, then it would create a dizzying effect and make me look more straight up and down. I always choose to place a line if I have a plaid like this, right at the fullest part. A lot of fashion editors say that if you're very tall, you shouldn't be wearing vertical lines because they will lengthen you even more. But I don't listen to them. I like to make items like this jumpsuit that have just super long lines going the length of the body. This is applied, and you can see here that there are horizontal lines, but the lines that are on the vertical axis are a lot more prominent. I'm using that effect to my benefit to create more length through this jumpsuit and make it look like it goes on forever. Another example of this is a line that isn't quite a straight line, but you can make it into one. With this Ankara print that I have, it's definitely like a crocodile in the way that it's designed but you can still see lines going from the top to bottom. What I've done at the waist seam, I've made a really intentional decision to try to join this up and keep the line going from the pants into the top of this jumpsuit. You can follow the lines that are going up and down. Something like this will make a shorter person look taller or make a wider person look thinner because your eyes are following up and down and they're not going to be looking across. You can get intentional about the way that you want your body to look just by making sure that you place it in the right way. This is also a really good example of symmetry and balance. Symmetry creates balance for the garment by having the right and left sides mirror each other. In this jumpsuit, what I've done is I've placed the center in this white panel so that this more narrow bit of the pattern is hitting me at the same place on both sides. In this way I create a symmetrical look. Then that balances also down into the legs as well. Visual elements can carry weight and draw the eye from one side to the other. If this were a skew and, for example, this line of this thinner line were placed here, it would shift my whole print off a little bit. If it weren't dead on-center, your eye would be like, what's wrong? You wouldn't exactly know what's wrong just from the first glance, but our eyes can recognize when things are a little bit a skew. One other thing that you'll have to think about when adding a bodice to a bottom on a jumpsuit or dress is how you're going to connect the lines together and where those darts are going to go. My bodice here doesn't have any darts up at the top, but it does in the bottom. I've also had to be intentional in how I place these here. You'll see that it's not exactly lined up. I did the best that I could because these being two halves, it's a little bit wider here because of the shape of my body than the width here. But what I did is I had the darts, which you can almost barely see coming into the bodice using these more narrow lines. The dart pull out that stripe, that is the more narrow stripe. But you can still have some continuity going down the length here. One of the most frustrating moments in sewing is when you've spent all this time creating a pattern that fits you and cutting it out and sewing it up and then hanging it up and realizing the print on your garment is a little bit of skew and off-center. That just ruins the look a little bit in my opinion and makes it look just ever so slightly cheaper because that care wasn't put into the placement. Just think about that as you're creating your center lines, as you're creating your seam lines, as you're placing your darts in your hips and just try to plan and plot that out before you cut and go to the end. These details are the difference between a rookie sewist and someone with a little experience under their belt. Someone who's been sewing for a while recognizes the impact that those little shifts at the beginning are going to have on the end result. I want you to fast forward to being an experienced sewist so I'm teaching you the tricks now to get you there a little faster. Think about that as you're creating skirts, there's so many different illusions you can play with in order to add more interest to what could just be a really basic skirt. We've just talked about optical illusions and the effects they can create on your body. I want you to take a look at the prints and patterns that you have in your fabric stash. What are you going to use for your project? Think about how it's going to add length to your body or width to your body, or draw your eye in one direction or another. Think about how you want to highlight your best assets. Meet me in the next lesson where we talk about how to maintain that design that you have in your head or on your mood board onto your finished garment by placing your paper pattern onto your printed fabric just the right way. [MUSIC] 5. Planning Pattern Placement: [MUSIC] We're going to use the skills that we learned in the last lessons to figure out how we want to plan out the placement of these stripes along the vertical and horizontal axes of our skirt and along our body. Let's open up our fabric first and explore what we have here. I'm going to open it all the way up so I see the whole fabric from salvage-to-salvage. I got a little cut-out because it's a dead stop from a designer. But here's a salvage edge of our fabric, which means that the grain line is going this way. Like we said before, the least stretch is going to be in this direction, and that's the way we're going to want to place our skirt. I want to lay out my pattern. But before I do that, let's talk about cutting flat versus cutting on the fold. Oftentimes with the skirt, you'll have a pattern piece like this where there's a fold line and you only have 1/2 of the pattern. There's no seam allowance along this fold line because you're meant to cut it along the fold so that you can have two equal halves. If you're working with a truly symmetrical print and it's lightweight enough that you can get a nice crisp fold, it is okay to cut it on the fold. But if you have a type of print, like this, for example, where it's not exactly symmetrical because there's some details that don't line up on both sides, I recommend that you get some tracing paper and fold it in half and then trace out your pattern so that you have a full skirt front like this. This is going to help you to be able to see the full pattern of your fabric through your paper. When you line it out, you can really see what your skirt is going to look like in the finished version. It's also really helpful to draw in that fold line or otherwise mark the center front line so you can find the visual center of your pattern and also be able to look at that onto your fabric. As you're doing this, make sure that you have it on the right side of your fabric, of course. With the print, oftentimes there's going to be a definite right side and wrong side, but a nice woven fabric like this looks about the same on both. Make sure that you choose a side and try to stay consistent with that. As I lay out the front of my pattern, I'm thinking about alignment in a few different ways. First, I'm thinking about that symmetrical alignment that's going to create a vertical center and try to create some symmetry from right to left for balance. But I'm also thinking about those horizontal lines that I'm placing. What I've also done in my pattern is drawn in a hipline. It's only on this side. I'm actually going to extend that over, which will make it a lot easier for me to have the hip go all the way across. Let me do that now. You just want to take your ruler and just extend that hipline over. If you don't already have the hipline marked on your pattern, you can add that now. Let's go back to our fabric and get it all lined up. [NOISE] As I'm looking at my fabric, I'm seeing again that it's not totally symmetrical, so I have to think about what do I want to be at my center front. Part of that is really determined about where are my hips going to land on this? Is the hip want to create a seam really awkwardly along one of these lines on the sides, or is there a better way that I can lay it out? Because this has a salvage that's a bit of a darker border, I'm just going to shift my pattern over a little bit and try to find something without that there because it won't be the same on both sides. Next, I'm just looking at what makes sense in terms of a center front. Because again, this isn't symmetrical, I don't think that I want to line it up with one of these thick black lines in the center. What I want to do instead is actually line it up between these two thin lines. That's going to put the center front of my skirt right along this white bit in the front. I think that's going to look pretty good. Next, I need to choose how I place it from top to bottom. Where does my hipline go on this? I mentioned before that I like to accentuate my wider hips, and so I'm going to place a thick line along one of the more prominent horizontal lines on this pattern. For this pattern, it's one of these darker gray and black lines. But before I completely lock in that placement, I also need to think about my hand. My pattern is drafted with a one inch hem allowance here. That means that one inch from the bottom of this pattern is where I'm going to hem the skirt and it's going to form a line at the bottom of the skirt. I don't like the lines at my bottom of the skirt to be on any of those dark or prominent lines. I try to keep that bit as quiet as possible, mostly because if you have a line that's just a band at the bottom, it's going to cut off your eye, and so it's going to make you look a little bit shorter if you have that as a dark line at the bottom. It's going to throw off your proportions. I want to make sure that I have this placed in such a way that when this is folded up one inch at the bottom, it's still is keeping it on this lighter part of the fabric and it's not going to be on this dark line all the way across the bottom. I just have to think about the balance between the placement of the hipline and the placement of the hemline here. Also, of course, you want to think about the placement of the top as well. I need to find a compromise between getting the top to not be on dark line, getting the bottom one inch from the bottom, which I can also mark with my pencil, to not fall on one of the dark lines, and getting the hipline to fall on the dark line. It might be a little bit tricky depending upon the scale of your fabric, but it doesn't need to be exactly perfect. For this hipline, I can choose to have it at the top of this line, at the bottom of this darker line. There's a little bit of wiggle room there. Let me figure this out. At the top, I know that I have 5/8-7 inch seam allowance. I'm going to mark that at the top of my pattern and at the bottom I've just marked one inch. At both of those, I want them to be on the whitespaces, and then I want the hipline to be on a dark line. What it looks like is best is to place this hipline on the bottom of one of these thick dark lines. Because I know that this print actually is along the grain lines straight, I can just place it straight across and use that to help me guide where I'm going to place my fabric. I think that I like this from a vertical perspective. I have the hipline where I want it. I have the hemline where I want it because once it's folded up an inch, it will still be on this white bit. Once this is folded down 5/8-7 an inch, it will still be on this white bit up here. But I just want to double-check what is this going to look like on the side seams. If I come in and I draw in the 5/8-7 inch seam allowance that I have here and just doing it at my hip, which is the widest point on both sides, I can see that I'm going to be hitting it right on these black lines. What's going to happen is the skirt on the sides, once you take the 5/8-7 of an inch, it's going to start on these black lines and it's going to end on these black lines as well, which might look a little boxy. Now I just have to decide, do I really like that center front placement or should I shift it a little bit? If I shifted it to being along this black line instead of along these double lines, would that look better? Well, no, because now it's not really centered. Now I have one side off and not lined up on this black line but the other is. You have to make some concessions depending upon the size of your print. You really have to choose what's most important to you and prioritize. For me, I think it makes more sense for me to keep the center and just deal with the fact that I'm going to have some black lines at my sides, because overall I think that's going to be a bit more balanced for the look that I'm going for and, again, for my size. I'm just going to make sure everything is straight, I got it lined where I want it to line, and I'm going to use my pattern weights and then cut this out. I'm using pattern weights right now, but actually because I definitely don't want this to shift, this is such a straight pattern and it's already shifting a little bit, I'm going to come and shear this up with a few pins to make sure that it doesn't shift on me and I don't get misaligned. [NOISE] I'm ready to cut. [MUSIC] We have the front of our skirt. The next thing we need to worry about is getting the side seams to line up as we attach the back to the front of the skirt. [MUSIC] 6. Seam and Pocket Placement: [MUSIC] I want you to get your skirt back piece. The first thing that we're going to do is think about how this lines up. I've already drawn in my seam allowance on my skirt back. Remember that the seam allowance will not be visible on the final piece. When I say that it's going to line up, I mean that this position that is five-eighths of an inch away from the edge is going to be exactly a budding. This part of the back piece that's five-eighths of an inch away from the edge. I need to think about how this line comes into the pattern and what's effectively the opposite of the line. There's two good ways to line up the skirt front to the back, the first is to draw the print of the fabric onto your pattern piece so that you can effectively see what's going on. The other thing, however, I need to remember is that there is a center back seam to the back because I'm going to put a zipper in my skirt eventually. I also need to be mindful in the way that I was mindful of the front center seam before this back bit. I'm going to have to be doing that on a seam line, which means that fabric is going to get folded back and two halves are going to join together. I just want to be conscious of that as well. Remember my choice for the center front was to have it between these white lines. I might also consider doing that with the back as well. Let's move over to the fabric and start planning out the placement of our back pattern piece. I'm just going to make this line a little bit darker in my patterns so I can see this line on the backside as well as the front side when I flip over my pattern. This line again is the line of the black line on the fabric that is around my hip and that's a good marker of where I want to keep it lined up when I place the pattern down on my fabric. As I place this down on my fabric, this is about where it would be if I was doing a mirror image of the fabric of the front. But I also again have to be cognizant of that seam allowance. I need to effectively make it so that I'm giving myself an extra five, eight, seven inches so that when it lines up, it will create continuity with the other side because I'm going to be losing that fabric that's in-between that seam allowance. I'm just going to use the five-eighths of an-inch line that I have here and shift that over a bit. Because I need a center back zipper, I need to have seam allowance along my center back. That means that I'm going to have something joining at the center back, and I'm effectively creating the line here where I have this fold. I have to ask myself, what's more important, maintaining this side seam or trying to have a more pleasing look at the center back? Because as I look at this, I'm not going to have the same width here, just because in most patterns the width of your hips might be a little bit different at your back than at your front. I'm going to make some decisions. Do I want to keep the same proportions of the center back that I had or do I want it to match up the side seams? Because I'm only really joining another hip here and everything else is on a curve, I actually think that it's more important for me to match it up at center back. What I'm going to do is shift this over because my pattern repeat is pretty quick, I can either choose this line or this line. I just want to make sure that I'm saving as much fabric as possible, so I choose the first available line that I have to get that center back exactly in the right spot. I folded up the seam allowance here so I have the real center back. Now, as I unfold it, the actual cutting line is going to be five, eight, seven inches away from that edge. I think I've decided that even though I've done this work to figure out where the side seams are going to be, I made a decision that I was going to prioritize this center back. Each time you're working with fabric and you're placing the patterns, you're going to have to pick your priorities because it's very infrequent that your pattern has the exact same scale as your proportions to have everything lined up where you want it to be. I'm just going to get this situated properly. Again, I have my hip line, same as with the front, the hip line is going to match up at the lower bit of this black line. I also, again, have the top and the bottom so that they're going to hit nicely on those white bits and not be on the black lines. I have my center back seam right in-between those two thin lines so it'll be the same as with the front. I'm ready to cut this out, this first one, and then we're going to go on to the second one. [MUSIC] Now that we have this first side of the back, it's going to be so much easier to get the other side. What I'm actually going to do, is instead of using the paper pattern and drawing all these lines, I'm just going to use this piece of fabric and flip it over to create the other side. One thing I will say though is, you don't want to flip it over so that it's immediately next to where it was. Because again, we're going to be losing five-eighths of an inch on here and on there, and it's going to end up in the wrong place. Instead, I want to take advantage of my pattern repeat and line it up so that this is a continuous width where I had it for the other side. Remember, our center back seam, it's falling between these lines. I also want this edge to be five-eighths of an inch away from these lines down below. Let's get it almost to the spot where I want it to be and then do what I can to get these lines all matched up. Now, hopefully, you can even see where that fabric is because I have it so well lined up [LAUGHTER]. Let's cut this out. If you want to be secure, just add a couple of pins in key places like the hips and at the top where you have these seams line. I'll just do one at the bottom for good measure, one at the upper corner because we're going to pivot there. I don't want to give you bad habits with me not pinning things. There we go [MUSIC]. I have all the pieces for my skirt and I've barely used up half of this one yard of fabric. While you still have the patterns on your fabric, I want you to go ahead and mark all of your notches and all of your dots and do all of the good things. It's also good to mark at the hip line so that you can make sure you have that as a place for joining up. I'm just going to take this pattern off and figure out pocket placement. We're looking at the front of our skirt, and I just want you to imagine that it's sewn up, we're going to get to that, but just think about the finished garment. I drafted a little square pocket, and this doesn't have any seam allowance on it yet. I didn't do any curves, or fancy elements, or heam lines but I wanted to give you an idea of some different options on green lines. I've just put in a bias grain here and I've put it in a straight grain, and I'm going to pretend that I want a pocket to go about here on the fabric. What we just talked about in drawing in the lines of the plot is going to be super helpful as you plan out a pocket. If my pocket piece, I want it to go right here, I can make a couple of different choices. I could have a pocket that you barely can see, which means that I can cut out a pocket that exactly mirrors this bit of the fabric along the parts that you see, and I could paste it on there, and it would be like an invisible pocket. Because the stitching lines would just disappear and you'd just see the continuation of this plaid. If I wanted a pocket that stood out a little bit more, I can cut it on the bias. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to show you what it looks like with both versions of just this pocket. Again, I'm not going to add any seam allowance, I just want you to see what it would look like all stitched up. Let's get some fabric. What I want to do first is just figure out exactly the placement for it. Again, it's going to have seam allowance, same my pocket to go right about here. What I'm going to do is just pin this onto the fabric so that it stays put. What I can do is just draw these lines on. Let me grab my ruler and I'm just going to draw this thick black line over here, and this thick black line over here, and I'm going to just give myself a line going the other direction just for these thin lines. Let me examine my fabric and find a spot that has the print I'm looking for. I'm going to line up those thick black lines and I got to try to find a spot where I can get those thick black lines and still get the lower one there. You just want to match it up, I'm going to pin it on again. This is going to be an invisible pocket because I'm making it line up exactly. I'm not adding seam allowance, this is just for demonstration because it'd be too much to try to show you actually cutting the seam allowance and all of that. I just want to show you how it will be invisible. If I wanted it to be basically invisible, I've just cut it out so it fades away. Can you even see that? Imagine you did have seam allowance on here and you folded it back all perfectly, and pristinely and you fold it back the fold line at the top. You could get a pocket on here that you really would only see as you put your hands in or you can see the top stitching lines that you put around it. I'm going to just take this same pattern piece, and what I've done is I've put a bias line on here or a 45-degree angle line. Rather than worrying about making this perfectly lined up, I'm just going to find another spot where I can set this at a 45-degree angle. Always make sure that as you've said it on that 45-degree angle, you're looking at your fabric the same way it is on your skirt. Lines, that tan line above it. This is the pocket so if I wanted to go 45 degrees, rotate it that way, I would just rotate it and find a spot where I can fit it on there. I'm just going to use this line on my pattern to create that 45-degree, this thick line here. I'm going to pin it on. Remember that if I'm cutting it at 45 degrees, it's going to be on the bias. Now, this pocket is going to have some stretch in it, which I may or may not want but you can always interface it or underline it to keep it from stretching out of a shape. Let me just cut this out. Of course, I could have chosen it so that this would be exactly an x forming in the center of the pocket. You can make your choices, I like how these lines go like this and like this. The nerd in me likes the path. [LAUGHTER] But now you can see that you can create a pocket on a 45-degree angle and it gives you such a different impression than this pocket that's right here and is basically invisible. We've covered a lot in this lesson, we've talked about defining where you want to put your style lines on your garment, and how to achieve that as you cut out your prints and stripes. I hope you're excited to start cutting your fabric and explore all the different design options available to you when working with prints and patterns. Meet me in the next lesson where we'll bring this all together and sew up your final garment. [MUSIC] 7. Sewing Lines that Match: In the last class we cut out our fabric. Once you cut out your fabric, one thing I want you to do, especially if you have a fabric like mine that looks pretty much the same on both sides, find a piece of chalk or a piece of tape and make a mark on here so you know what the wrong side of the fabric is. I've just made little x's in this blue chalk, so I can remember what the wrong side is. That's going to help prevent me from getting turned around and stitching my skirt inside out. If you're following a pattern, what you're probably going to want to do as the first step is actually stitch your darts. Remember we've learned how to stitch darts in one of my previous classes, so you can go back and revisit that if you need another how-to. I haven't put my darts in yet, but I still want to show you the next steps here. So let's start with the back where I can show you this center back seam because that's going to be one of the most simple ones to line up and show you that I have the center back here. But what I'm going to do first is line up the center back seam and pin it at all of the key spots. So if you have a striped fabric or if you have any type of print on your fabric, you want to get it lined up so that it matches well, and then what's best is to put pins in all of those places on the lines or most of them so that as you're are sewing, you can tell if you get a little bit off or if you're keeping the line. We would have a zipper on our center back seam here. Normally if you're stitching this up, you would just stitch up to a certain point and then put your zipper in. So let me show you that from the bottom bit that we would stitch it up into. I like to put my pins right on the lines because that way I can see where it's matching up perfectly. Because you want to make sure this doesn't shift it all and you want to keep it balanced, you might want to use more pins than you normally would. So I'm just going to take this over to my machine. What I'm going to do first is just base this line along the seam allowance and double-check it. So first of all, I want to make sure that I switch my stitch to a basting stitch, so that's the longest ditch available on my machine. I'm going to base it here at the exact seam allowance. You should remove your pins as you go, but sometimes it's okay to leave them in there. [NOISE] We're just basing, so no back stitching, and now we can check that seam, and I'm glad this is a bad example. What I want to see is this line looking as if there's no two seams here. So you can see here, I can see three of these lines, so I haven't really gone over far enough in my stitch to hide that. So what I would do next is again, basing stitches are really easy to remove. So I would grab a seam ripper, take that out and just try again to get it nice and perfect. I would probably add an invisible zipper to this and I'm not going to walk you through all the steps of adding an invisible zipper. But for me, I like to base my invisible zipper seem as well before I go. Now imagine your zipper is in, your darts are in and everything is done with your back. Now we're matching it up to the front piece. So I'm just going to grab my front piece and I'm going to look for the mark that I made telling me what the wrong side of the fabric is. I just wanted to point out that on my pattern, my backside is a little bit bigger than my front. That's because I need a little extra room for my hips. So as I match this up, it's not that it's going to line up on both sides at the same time. So I'm going to pin it to one side and then I'm going to bring it over and pin it to the other side. But it's not going to fit down flat because they're not exactly the same. Yours probably won't be the same either. With right sides together, match up your front on your back pieces at the side seams. This is where the notches we previously created will come in handy. We want to match up those notches or in this instance, if we're using the lines of the plan, get those nice and lined up. Remember that we focused on the hips for our alignment. So the first place that I want to put a pin is in the hips because that's the place that I want to prioritize having it match up. So I'm going to start with the pin there and then I'm just going to work my way out. I'm going to try to just push these together and get them perfectly lined up. Again, it may take a couple of extra seconds to get these all in the right place, but your finished garment will thank you. Remember also that the very edge isn't going to be seen. It's at the seam allowance line. So if you need to do another double-check, you can draw in your seam allowance on the fabric. Again, that will be the spot you want to make sure it's working. Lots of pins prevent it from shifting on your machine as you sew. Because we're just being really perfectionists about the placement here, it's worth it to add extra. I think I might have enough pins. I'm just going to put one more for good measure. Right at this curve, because I know I'm going to be pivoting at this curve a little bit, and that's the place it's most likely to need a little extra support to keep it from shifting. Now that our pins are in, we can take this over to our machine and based up the seam and just double-check we have the alignment right. Also go slow if you need to. You didn't just spend a minute putting pins and all of that time getting the alignment right to save 10 seconds on the seam because you went too fast. [NOISE] Now we can just open that up and see what our scene looks like. Again, it's around a curve, so we're going to have to bring it around a bit. It looks like we have the lines going this way. Pretty good. I will say though, remember that we made the choice. We decided that it was more important to line up our center front and to line up our center back with the symmetry. Our side seams on this print aren't going to be perfectly showing continuity of the plaid. That's a concession that we had to make, and that's okay. You're not going to be able to hit everything because your proportions are more important. If your garment isn't fitted and you have a little bit of wiggle for room, for example, if you're sewing a gathered skirt, what you can do is just flub it a little bit by making the gathers just a little bit wider or a little bit more narrow in order to accommodate your plaid. So now that we have this basic together, what I would do is just double-check my seam. Do I like this? Is there anywhere it's not matching up? I can see here that even at my hip point, I'm down by like an 1/8 of an inch, and if I want to be a perfectionist about it, which I usually do, I would take out these based it seams and just try to fix it and line it up again. Remember there's nothing wrong with using your seam ripper. Some people think the seam ripper is the big bad. It really isn't. Basting seams allows you to test it out, to try it, to see how it's going to look in your finished fabric, and then to make changes. So take your time in these early steps and get it right. One more thing that you could do to take your time, I'll show you on the other seam, rather than basting this entire length of the fabric, sometimes what I will do is just base it at that most important spot. What I could do is line this up at the hip and just put a couple of pins right here at the hip. So I'm just going to keep it on basting stitch at my seam allowance, and I'm just going to go one inch above and one inch below. Flip it out and see if I have it lined up well. That's actually pretty close. I may be 16th of an inch off, so rather than having to take out this whole seam, I just have to take off this little bit if I've messed it up. But now I can flip it back, and either bast up the whole seam to check it again or just go ahead and put my stitches in. Basting just a little bit is really helpful in a lot of different places. Not just on lining up patterns, it's also really helpful if you're trying to line up armpits or crutches or anywhere that seam lines meet. You can always put a couple of basing stitches in, flip it out, make sure it's correct, then close it back up again with right sides together and do your full stitches. So go ahead and get out your fabric in your sewing machine, start putting more pins in than you think that you need at exactly the spots where they need to get lined up, put in some basing stitches, check your work, and then stitch up your seam. I'm going to go ahead now and switch up the skirt and that will be my complete project. Remember that patience is a virtue when assembling your garment at this point, so take your time and good luck. [MUSIC] 8. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations, we have made it to the end of this class. First, we learned about fabric and all of the options that are there. Really my favorite part of sewing. We talked about stripes and plaids and florals, small-scale and large-scale, different directions, abstract looks. We have also talked about how to use those prints on our bodies. Finding the right prints for our projects. We have talked about fabric repeats and how to purchase fabric for our projects to make sure that we have enough to get alignment right. Then we covered optical illusions and how you can use the fabric you chose to create certain effects. Elongating your bodies or accentuating certain curves. Then we learn how to place our pattern onto our fabric and make some important decisions about placement from symmetry to side seams. Then we brought that altogether by basing our seams and checking our work before creating our final piece. Here we have the skirt I have been working on. It is by no means a finished piece, but it demonstrates the skills that we have put together. From a symmetrical center seam in the front and in the back to a side seem that keeps the continuity of the line of this flat all the way around. I hope you will finish up your skirt by doing all the things you would normally do. Adding in the darts, putting in a zipper and ham, and maybe even adding some more design elements like pockets, either an invisible pocket or something on the bias to add a focal point to the front. As always, the project resources are there with information on getting a pattern for this skirt or anything that you need to help you through. I cannot wait to see what you create so make sure that you put your finished projects in the project gallery. For my skirt I know that it looks runway ready because I use the Carolina Herrera dead stop. For $25 I have an absolutely beautiful skirt that looks like it belongs in a high-fashion house. Thank you so much for joining me for this class. Fabrics are my favorite part of sewing. I just love collecting all the different prints and patterns. It's just like art that I can have folded up and turn into a beautiful garment at any time. I hope you're excited. Good luck on your sewing journey.