How to Make Wide Fabric Panels
When you want to make a duvet cover or curtain panels that need to be wider than your fabric, here is a technique for matching the fabric image, so it looks continuous.
It’s (not surprisingly) pretty detailed, so make sure you have plenty of time.
1. Measure carefully and check your math to figure out how much fabric to buy. In most instances 2 widths of fabric will give you enough width, so you’ll need 2 x the length of the project. Keep in mind your fabric choice – some fabrics are 44″ wide and some are 55″. I used 55″ wide fabric for this demo.
*Tip: The further apart the repeat, the more extra fabric you should buy.
2. Once you cut your yardage into 2 pieces, lay them out side by side with the selvedges touching. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure your fabric image is going the same direction.
3. Sometimes I need to step back to find the matching images. If there is a bunch of different stuff going on it can make your eyes go crazy, but try to zero in on one image. My fabric was easy since it was so repetitive.
4. You might need to shift one piece of the fabric up or down to match up across from the same image – that’s why you buy extra! You can even up the top and bottom later.
5. You also might not find a matching image at the very edge of the fabric. Sometimes you’ll have to jump further into the width – totally fine – just make sure it will still be wide enough for your project.
6. Once you have lined up your images, find the middle of that image and fold your fabric right there and crease it with an iron. Keep folding and ironing from the middle of that image to the middle of the next matching image.
On my demo piece I picked a little tiny diamond to focus on. At the ironing board I folded down the fabric making sure I was pressing that diamond in half every time. You should always end up with a consistent amount of fabric folded down!
*Tip: I use a spray bottle to wet the crease as I’m ironing so it’s really in there. I will need to see it later, so press, press, press!
7. Take your ironed piece back to the other one and place it on top so that the images line up. Pin right at the crease with the pin points going to your left. If you have lots of image lines to match, feel free to pin like crazy – it will turn out better.
8. Take the ironed side of your fabric and flip it over on top of the other, like this.
9. Now, here’s the tricky part . . .
In your left hand grab both layers of seam allowance between your thumb and index finger. Grab right under the pin after you’ve felt exactly where it is. Hold tight and don’t let go!
With your right hand, slide in between the layers of fabric and find the head of the pin you’re next to. Grab it and slide it out. (Note: you don’t see my left hand in the pic below because I had to use it to take the pic – it should still be in place!)
Without letting go with your left hand use that same pin to pin together the spot where your left thumb is. Pin toward the crease with point landing right at crease.
The better you get at this step, the more perfect your alignment will be. Practice it!
10. Finish moving all of your pins, go to your machine and sew down the crease.
*Tip: I don’t ever remove my pins while sewing – especially in situations like these! I just make sure they are back far enough that I only sew over the very tips, if anything.
11. Open up fabric to see how you did. It’s not hard to go back over parts, if you’re not happy with them. Press open seams.
Now you have a giant piece of fabric!
Posted: November 29th, 2010 under Tutorials.