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Tutorial // How to pattern match with ruching and gathers

A question i get a lot is how to pattern match designs with ruching and gathers (specifically for my Ruched Maternity skirt and Ruched Maternity tshirt). I know everyone wants their stripes to be matched perfectly all the time, but when it comes to these designs the ruching is not symmetric, so perfection in pattern matching just isn’t possible. Sorry.

You can get close though :)

The same is true for any seam that includes gathers, you can pattern match seams that are equal distances, but once you hit those gathers, everything is going to be off kilter.

So if you want to sew a ruched maternity skirt in stripes like i did when i was pregnant and have them nicely matched up at the side seams, you can only do so up to a point.

Here’s what you do: start from the hemline and go up! When you hit the ruching notches stop trying to pattern match and instead go with the flow. Once the ruching is completed, the ruched sections will be all gathered and the pattern mismatch won’t matter, but everything below it will be nice and straight! It’s that easy :)

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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