Sewing Checks – A Magic Pat-Trick!

While I’m still on the topic of sewing checks or plaids, let me show you this little trick for sewing seams together so that they match perfectly!

I was shown this by one of the sample machinists (Pat) at my first job in the clothing industry, where I was a “design room assistant”, that is in reality – the design room dogsbody!  I stayed there four years so it couldn’t have been too bad – and I learnt a lot of things I still value today from those who had already spent a lifetime in the industry.  And I do a good cup of tea 😉

Here goes:
Place your pieces right sides together as you normally do when sewing a seam.  Then on the top layer turn back the seam allowance, less 1mm:

My seam allowance is 1cm, so I fold it back 9mm

Start sewing at 1cm, just inside the fold line – you will be sewing through three layers.  By sewing the seam this way you can manipulate the fabric to match the stripes or checks as you sew, and easily see and adjust for any difference in feed between the layers along the way.

This is how it looks when sewn:

I hope you can make the stitching out – this was late-night-photography…..
But look at how those blue stripes line up!

It’s so easy – sort of like the old technique of slip-basting, but permanent – and by machine!  It only works if you have cut your checks out accurately of course….

And there is the disadvantage that it isn’t suitable for heavy weight fabrics because there is slightly increased bulk, but for me this is far more often outweighed by the advantages of speed, accuracy, the lack of unpicking required, and the happy memories of Pat and our workroom, when using this Magic Pat-Trick.

How to sew checks by machine

Anyway, I hope you find it handy one day too – happy sewing!

PS – another Pat Trick here if you are interested 🙂

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

10 thoughts on “Sewing Checks – A Magic Pat-Trick!

  1. That's a great idea! I've seen a tip to do something similar but with a narrow zig zag, then sew the seam normally. This is so much faster!


  2. On Saturday I bought some plaid fabric for pants so I'll be using your ideas when I start working on these pants next month. Thank you for your sharing your sewing know-how.


  3. For heavy fabrics i.e. curtains or brocades. First press the matching line on what will be the right hand curtain. Lay left curtain down with right side up. Pin matching points about 4 inches apart with pin head to right. When all curtain pinned go back and ease each pin back so upper layer at pin point becomes free and can be opened back exposing pressing line. Stitch on the pressing line.


  4. That is such a great tip for plaid (or stripes!) it took me a minute to make out what I was looking at but when I did – that aha moment – it was delicious 🙂


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