How to Join Patterned Fabric Panels
Mini Tutorials

  Cindy Taylor

Cindy is the owner of Dolman & Taylor specialist curtain and blind makers. She has over 15 years of experience, curtain making, blind making, working with fabrics and making soft furnishings. In the videos she clearly explains and demonstrates the methods and techniques used in her workroom .
Example A: Joining a pattern (pattern on seam)


Lay your fabric panel on the work surface right side up. Then lay your second panel wrong side up.

As you have cut all your panels at the same point in the pattern repeat, the bottoms should line up nicely.

Level up your selvedges and bottom of the panel.

Now, working along the side of the curtain, down the selvedge edge, fold back the top fabric layer until you have a pattern match.

Continue to do this all along the selvedge edge finger pressing the fabric back as you go. Once you are happy with the match it is time to pin the fabric together.

I tend to start in the middle and work outwards.

Where you have a definite pattern match such as in the photo above where the red lines (antennae and wing of the butterfly) join together – these are the important places to get an exact match. So lift the top fabric up at right angle to the bottom fabric – you may have to slide it back a mm to get the exact match.

Once you are happy, fold the fabric forward so the selvedge edges are together again being really careful not to move the perfect match that you have made. Stick a pin horizontally through the part of the pattern that needs to match up i.e the red line. Continue to do this all down the side using as many pins as necessary.

Use plenty of pins not just at the important pattern points but set further back from the crease line as well.

You are almost ready to sew the fabric together along the crease line, but just to help you along, use your vanishing marker to draw a dashed line along the crease, particularly where the pins are as the crease line can get a bit flattened once you put the pins in.

Now, machine stitch along the dashed line.

Take your pins out and have a look at the face fabric to check your pattern match. Do not worry if there are a couple of places that are not quite right – you can always unpick that area and resew,

Now you have successfully joined your patterned fabric panels.

Extra Help & Comments

Sew Helpful
Post your questions and comments here, we will reply so everyone can see the answer.
Sew Helpful
Are you pinning across the join to prevent slippage as in the video.
Do you trim the seam when joinining horizontal pattern widths as they are quite wide? In my case 5.5cm. Thanks Julie
Sew Helpful
You can trim if you feel it is too wide we probably wouldn't in this case.

I was wondering how you cut out your pattern pieces once you have done this? So that the fabric matches up on the garment.
Sew Helpful
Hi Rebekah

We only make soft furnishings and our tutorials show you how to take into account pattern repeat when cutting your lengths to be joined for a curtain or blind etc. Unfortunately we do not have any experience with cutting the pieces to make a garment. 
Hi there, could you tell me what Janome model sewing machine you are using? looks a very sturdy machine.
Sew Helpful
It's a Janome 1600P QC. We think it is brilliant and find it has the strength of an industrial machine but the controllability of a domestic. We found it so good we actually got rid of our industrial sewing machine as we stopped using it.

Janome 1600P QC Sewing Machine
Thank you thats really helpful...
Judy Cole
Love the red floral fabric. Can you share where you purchased? Thank you
Love the tutorial. So very helpful.
Sew Helpful
I'm afraid that particular fabric was supplied by a customer so we don't know it's name or where to buy it from.
I'm not sure how to pattern match when cutting out a skirt pattern and sewing it together. Can you help please?
Thanks x
Sew Helpful
I'm afraid our expertise is with curtains blinds cushions and soft furnishings. If there are any skirt makers out there that want to post a reply that would be great and help anyone visiting the site in the future.
When you join the patterns along the selvage, do we have to cut off the selvage after joining? I also read that clipping the selvage prevents it from puckering when joining fabrics. Could you please explain how it is done? Should the seams be pressed open or folded to one side and pressed and why?
Sew Helpful
A few questions here so here goes;

1) No we do not cut off the selvedge after joining.
2) Snipping to prevent puckering when it is tight, we would snip into the edge not pattern about 1cm to ease and pulling and tightness so the fabric can open out to it's correct shape.
3)We always pree the seams open. Folding to one side makes a thicker seam. 
Ann Webb
The dimensions of my blind are width - 170cms and drop - 130cms. My lining cut drop is 198cms. I need 2 drops of lining, should I do a centre join or 2 side joins like I am planning to do for the fabric, I am using black out lining.
Sew Helpful
We make up our lined blinds with a centre panel and side join each side. With  blackout lining you will end up with pin pricks of light in the blackout along the joins and along the rod pockets. It can also be tricky threading the rods through traditional pockets with joins in the lining as they can catch on the seam flaps inside the pocket.

We actually make our blackout blinds a different way, but that tutorial will be coming later. 
Sandra Sergeant
my fabric does not have a horizontal pattern that I can match at the seam, neither does it have an obvious vertical pattern. The pattern is staggered,overlapping and 8cm from the selvege. How should I make my curtains without losing too much width when joining?
Sew Helpful
First check you haven't got a half drop pattern repeat, There is a mini tutorial explaining what that is on the website. We suspect you haven't.

Otherwise you have to join it where it matches. The pattern usually matches close to the selvedge or within a few cm. We have had the odd fabric where it has been a bit further in.
Mafalda Barreto
Find these pages very useful, do you have a printable version?
Sew Helpful
No sorry.
Hi, need to join lengths and would like advice on whether to match at a vertical line which is very thin or a different part of the pattern.don't want to end up with 2 lines or none
Sew Helpful
When you join at the selvedge there should be one place to join in the pattern. If you have problems joining at this point in the pattern you will need to move the join over a whole horizontal pattern repeat. With a small horizontal pattern repeat the fabric loss may be acceptable, with a large horizontal pattern repeat you will probably find the amount of fabric you lose by shifting the point where you join is too much. 

As for the vertical line it is difficult to comment without seeing the fabric, the video and images in the tutorial should give you an idea of how accurate you can get the join. At the end of the day if it doesn't work you can always unpick it and join elsewhere.
Brona Donnelly
Hi I'm joining a Laura Ashley floral fabric at the selvages and I'm finding that to match the pattern I have to pull one selvage over an inch (i.e.. the edges are not together.) Does this happen sometimes? Any fabrics I've used before have always met at the selveges or thereabouts.
Sew Helpful
Yes it does happen with some fabrics. You just have to match it where it matches.
I'm trying to pattern match curtains but the match is 2.5cm in from the selvage on one side. Can you advise me the best way to attempt it as it is a smallish pattern.
Sew Helpful
We cant really tell you much more than in our video joining patterned fabric in the tutorial above. You will see in that video the join is a few cm in from the selvedge.
Hi what would you advise. I am making a Roman blind finished width is 135 and fabric is 138 would you join one strip on or two larger ones either side? Thank you
Sew Helpful
We never join on one side. In the workshop we would add a strip of fabric to each side. We would  also give the customer the option of not using the full width of the fabric and having a complimentary plain 10cm fabric border down each side.
How large would you make each panel to make it look good? Thanks for you help
Sew Helpful
As we said above we would generally go for a side strip on the face of the blind of 10cm width.
Hi, when cutting the drops of fabric (I need 6 widths for 2 sets of curtains) do I only need to add extra length for one repeat of the pattern (16cm in my fabric? Or do I have to add 16cm to each width? Thanks!
Sew Helpful
You'll find information about calculating the fabric needed in our curtain making tutorials STEP 3 then cutting the fabric drops in STEP 6.

You basically need one extra pattern repeat  for the whole pair of curtains if you are placing the pattern. The cut drops will almost certainly be longer than if you are using plain fabric because you need round up each drop ito a whole number (adjusted cut drop) so you are cutting the fabric in the same place on the pattern for each drop. That means they all line up when you join them and don't stagger along the bottom.
My curtains require 5 drops (ie 2.5 widths per panel). Where do I add the 1/2 width? To the outside edge of 2 joined full widths or in between the 2 full widths?
Sew Helpful
On the outside edges. It is covered in STEP 6 of the curtain making tutorials.
My curtains require 5 drops (ie 2.5 widths per panel). Where do I add the 1/2 width? To the outside edge of 2 joined full widths or in between the 2 full widths?
Helpful tip

You could use an iron to create a crease on the fabric. You wouldn't need to use the fabric pen because of the bold crease as you sew.

The actual curtains are 100% wool. Using fire-retardant linings, would it be OK to sew them in or make them separately and hook them onto the header-tape?
Sew Helpful
I'm sorry we aren't experts on the requirements for fire regulations
Linda Watts
:-( Cut out my blackout lining before I watched the video - didn't mark which end is the top / bottom -will this matter when joining together or is there a way to distinguish this?
Sew Helpful
Shouldn't matter if you cant see from the grain whch way up the drops go.
Linda wheeler
I have two widths of a patterned fabric in each curtain. Can I just join them with one seam or do I need to halve one width and sew each half to the full width one ?
Sew Helpful
If you have 2 widths in each curtain, there are no half widths, you just join the 2 widths in each curtain with one seam. 
Linda wheeler
So will the pattern match still be ok as the curtains meet when drawn ?
Trying to join flannel fabric with a repeating pattern of campers and tent all going the same way can,t line up selvage any ideas thanks
Sew Helpful
It could be a half drop pattern repeat, some fabrics join in a bit from the selvedge and very occasionally we have come across fabrics that join a long way in from the selvedge (especially if they are wider than normal)
What is pattern and brand of beautiful reddish fabric used to show pattern matching.
Sew Helpful
Marson Imports: Formosa Crimson Fabric
Hello, I am a making a Roman blind 185cm wide and am joining the two outer pieces of fabric and one has joined nice and flat, the seam on the other has puckered. Please could you let me know why this could be. I am planning on cutting a second length and rejoining this puckered side. Thank you so much
Sew Helpful
It could be lots of things,

The tension in your thread, you need to snip the selvedge, bad technique feeding it through the machine etc.

A walking foot  really helps to pass both layers through the machine so they don't pucker.
Eve Nicolls
When I turn the side seam for the leading edge should I allow for an overlap so that the pattern matches when overlapped and if so how much?
Sew Helpful
We don't do that.
My curtain fabric is a woven pattern (rather than printed) and it matches exactly on the edge of the selvedge edge. There is no small overlap to see exactly where that pattern matches, which will mean the stitch line will be almost on the selvedge part. Should I still join the material this way? The only other way would be joining where I can see the pattern clearly, but then the two pieces wouldn't be placed selvedge to selvedge. Thanks for your help.
Sew Helpful
Join it on the selvedge, this happens with some fabrics, make sure you cant see the selvedge on the join.
Thank you for your help … I'll do my best! Also, all your tips and videos are so useful, thanks.
My curtain fabric is a woven pattern (rather than printed) and it matches exactly on the edge of the selvedge edge. There is no small overlap to see exactly where that pattern matches, which will mean the stitch line will be almost on the selvedge part. Should I still join the material this way? The only other way would be joining where I can see the pattern clearly, but then the two pieces wouldn't be placed selvedge to selvedge. Thanks for your help.
On the video you state "cut along the lines to make it straight" after you have used the sewing machine to join your side lining. When you cut through the seam ends Will this make the cotten loose
Sew Helpful
Yes they may fray depending on the fabric but this edge will be folded up and enclosed in a hem so you will not see it.
If I want to make a pair of patterned curtains with a width and a half in each curtain can I just seam 3 widths together, matching the pattern, then cut down centre width and swap around to put half widths to outside.
Sew Helpful
You could if it’s not a half drop pattern repeat. But you would be moving a lot of fabric around in one go for no reason. How we do it is in the tutorials.
Very helpful instructions, thank you.

Once finished and the fabric has been joined, I can see the folded selvedge edges through the right/facing side of the fabric. (I have made a padded box pelmet).
How do you disguise the folded selvedges? Even when I trialled using lining fabric under the facing fabric the selvedge edges still showed through.
Thank you
Sew Helpful
A padded box pelmet would usually be rigid with board on the back so no light should shine through. If the fabric is so thin you can see the seams with no light shining through from the back it probably isn't really suitable for the use you are putting it to.

If you are talking about a free hanging pelmet and it is the backlight showing the seams then the only way to stop it is line it with blackout lining.
Hi, I’ve bought a voile fabric with a vertical striped pattern. The fabric is on a background of cream with narrow curved stripes (1.5cm wide) in Ivory, buff, orange and brown spaced evenly with pattern repeat 44cm. I’m making them into a pair of curtains. When the curtains are closed should the stripes continue inland the same colour order or should I make the curtains mirror image. e.g. both curtains finishing with same colour at the centre point where they meet?
Sew Helpful
Good question, we would look  to continue the pattern across when drawn.
I have some pattern material but it's difficult to see which way the pattern is running. Is there a way I can see the pattern is running the right way
Sew Helpful
If you look at the selvedge somtimes there is an arrow that shows top and bottom.
Just looked on the selvedge no arrows just numbers
Sew Helpful
You need to ask the fabric vendor or maker then to find out.
Which printed instructions, and/or videos would be the most appropriate to purchase for help in making lined Wave curtains?
Thank you.
Sew Helpful
We wouldn't recommend any of them, altough when we make them, the basic lined panel make up is the same, we weight them differently with a string of lead at the bottom and the calcuation to make the flat panel is different as you have to make it to a specific width.

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