If you would prefer to make a dress or skirt, consider the shape of the design. Straight skirts, rectangular gathered skirts and classic shift dresses will create a very neat stripe match at the side seams. A waist seam on these designs will be relatively straight and may use darts for fitting.
Any design with flared or circle skirts, or trapeze style dresses will make horizontal stripes appear curved as they travel towards the side seams and where they meet there will be the appearance of a slight chevron. A waist seam on these designs will be very curved and unlikely to use darts to fit.
You can of course play with stripe placement and try cutting a crossgrain striped fabric on the bias or vertically using the lengthwise grain for a skirt or part of a dress but this will make the fabric behave differently. Bias cut fabrics are very stretchy and prone to dropping. And the lengthwise grain often has less give than the crossgrain.
Laying out your fabric
A t-shirt has a front and back bodice cut out on a folded edge. This means layplans will often tell you to arrange your fabric to have two folds. The selvedges will be in the middle or slightly off centre.
The important thing is making sure that the stripes on the top layer are exactly on top of the stripes on the bottom layer. Insert a pin along the edge of one stripe, then lift the fabric and check underneath that the pin is positioned along the same edge of the same stripe. If it’s not, reposition it. Do this on a few stripes, every few inches or so. Leave the pins in place while you lay out your pattern pieces.
Placing your pattern pieces
If you’re taking the time to match stripes, a key area to pay attention to is the side seams of your bodice and sleeves. When you pin the front bodice pattern piece to the fabric, line up the underarm point with the top or bottom of a stripe. Then replicate this position for your back bodice. Finally place the sleeve with both underam points on the same stripe as the bodices.
Our image shows this layout with all pieces placed at the top of a red stripe. If you can’t fit everything on the width of your fabic, you can place the pattern pieces underneath each other but need to find the same stripe position on the repeated stripes. If you have an irregular stripe repeat (eg multicoloured stripes in blue, red, green, or different size stripes) you need to examine the placement closely to ensure you will get a full match down the seams.