Sewing With Striped Fabrics: How To Cut, Sew, and Determine Scale

In Part Two we go a bit deeper as we look at Sewing With Striped Fabrics. In this post we will talk about how-to determine the proper scale of the stripe, how-to cut out the pattern pieces so the stripes are aligned, and how-to sew the seam so the stripes stay lined up perfectly!

First let's take a look at how-to determine the proper scale of the striped fabric. There are two things to consider when choosing the stripe. The scale of the doll as well as the scale of the stripe pattern or repeat.

Follow along in this video to see how I determine the appropriate scale:

To sum things up, I recommend using the dolls fingers to determine the scale. Compare the scale of your own finger (or check out these examples on my Pinterest board) to a stripe and scale that down to the dolls finger and the choice of striped fabric.

Some striped fabrics can work for a variety of doll sizes. Usually that would be a very narrow stripe, less than 1/4-inch for a single stripe. If the stripe pattern has a repeat, then you might just use one section for a smaller doll, like a Barbie, but use a repeating pattern for a larger doll, like American Girl.

The pattern showcased in this first video are listed here in order of appearance:

UK Holiday (3/4 Sleeve Top Variation), First Impressions, V-neck Tee, AGAT & Barbie T-shirts, Ruffle Jacket, Siblies T-shirt, Slouch Cardigan and Tee, More tees, UK Holiday Top (Original), Polo Shirt, Playsuit Skirt (pattern hack), Culotte Jumpsuits (on dolls), Pink Stripe Swim Cover-up (pattern hack), Hoodie Dress, Long Winter Coat, Sandy Lane Maxi Dress, Union Suit, Drawstring Pants (hack of Shorts pattern), Bib Front Regency Dresses, Versatility Dress, Aloha Vintage Swimsuit, Trendy Maxi Skirt (shortened a bit), Swimsuit Variations, Genoa Jumper with Blue Striped Tee, Silver Screen Wrap Top.

You can find all of them in this Pixie Faire Pattern Collection: Sewing With Stripes!

Now that you've got a fabric in mind, lets talk about how to place the pattern pieces and cut them out so things line up perfectly. You have several choices when placing your pattern pieces. 

  • Keep things all lined up and place the pieces with the stripes all going in the same direction.
  • Align the top of the side seam and under arm seam on the same stripe.
  • Cut pieces out one at a time on a single layer of fabric.
  • Transfer "cut on fold" pieces to a full flat pattern so it can be cut flat on a single layer of fabric.
  • Mix things up a bit and rotate some of the pieces so the stripe is running in the opposite direction. An visual example of this can be found in the Playing With Stripes pattern hack.
  • Take it to the next level and use the stripes to create a mitered look. The Mitered Maxi Skirt pattern is designed with this in mind and includes grain lines to cut on the diagonal.

Follow along in the video below as I demonstrate these things:

Pattern Notes: In the video I've use the UK Holiday Top to demonstrate. The pattern is currently available for a variety of doll sizes- American Girl, BFC Ink, Journey Girls, Ellowyne Wilde, WellieWishers, Les Cheries/ H4H, and Barbie. It is also being updated to include the empire waist dress and 3/4 length sleeve top versions shown in the videos and demonstrated in the Sewing With Elastic course. When the update goes out, if you've previously bought it, you'll get a notification to download the new version.

We also have two new sizes coming out as well! The Ruby Red Fashion Friends and Little Darling UK Holiday Top patterns will be available this month too!

General Tips For Sewing Matching Stripes in the Seamline:

  • Cut it out correctly!
  • Use lots and lots of pins. Pin every stripe, or every 1/4" or so if your stripes are very narrow. If your fabric is woven with the stripe showing through on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure the pin is placed one the same stripe on both sides.
  • Optionally, you can use a double-sided basting tape to hold the seam in place. 
  • Sew the seam first with a basting stitch. This will be very easy to pull out if your stripes are not lined up correctly. If they are lined up, that's great! Then you'd change your setting and sew the seam with a standard size stitch (or serger).

Stay Tuned! Next week we go even further with stripes! Donna is joining us with a look at the symmetry of stripes, balanced vs. unbalanced stripe patterns, keeping things on grain, and placing accent pieces like pockets.



June 09, 2021

Thank you Cinnamon, for doing this lesson on stripes that can also be applied to plaids.

Marian Peoples
Marian Peoples

June 09, 2021

Sewing striped garments has always been a favorite skill for me. Thank you for sharing these tips so others can enjoy “fun with stripes”


June 09, 2021

I wouldn’t have thought to use basting tape but that is really a slick little tool. Thanks for a great demo on cutting and sewing stripes. So much easier.


June 08, 2021

I needed this so much! I’ve tried hard to get my stripes right in the past but at the last minute something would go wrong. I have an outgrown striped shirt of my daughter’s that I’m wanting to make into a shirt for her dolls. So glad I waited to cut it out!

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