ZJ Humbach

Tips to Sewing with Directional Patterns

ZJ Humbach
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Duration:   27  mins

Sewing with directional patterns on fabric can be tricky, especially when it comes to garments. ZJ Humbach shares several tips for how to work with directional prints and shows how to lay out a shirt pattern on a fun fabric print.


The first step to successfully sewing a garment from a commercial pattern is understanding how to read the pattern and pattern envelope. ZJ goes over what important information is included on a pattern envelope including how many pattern view options are included with the pattern, how to tell how much fabric you will need based on your size, what fabrics types work with the selected pattern and what other notions you will need to complete the project. She also explains some of the instructions provided inside the pattern envelope including the pattern assembly instructions and the cutting layout. Much of this information can be used not only when sewing with directional patterns but when working with different kinds of fabrics as well. She also gives a great tip on how to preserve the life of your patterns if you plan to use them more than once.

Pattern Layout

Before you begin sewing with directional patterns you must first lay the pattern pieces out correctly. ZJ explains how to straighten the cut edge of a length of fabric so that the directional print is properly aligned. Once the fabric is aligned you can begin to place your pattern pieces. ZJ shows the suggested pattern layout included with the pattern and explains why this layout may or may not work when sewing with directional patterns on fabric. She then shows how to lay out a shirt pattern, explaining where the pieces should be placed according to the fold and the grainline and how to utilize the pattern repeat in a print.

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