Stripes can either be printed or woven, balanced (Even) or unbalanced (Uneven), horizontal or vertical. There could even be diagonal stripes as well. A balanced stripe has a regular repeat of color bars and spaces. It repeats the pattern, as the most dominant stripe, from left to right and above and below a center bar. A unbalanced stripe has a irregular repeat of color bars and spaces. It varies in spacing or color from left to right and/or above and below a center bar. Horizontal stripes go around the body while vertical stripes moves up and down the body.
It is easier to work with balanced stripes. Unbalanced stripes require greater care while matching the pattern pieces and seams. Variety in striped dresses can be brought about by ‘chevron effect’. A chevron effect can be achieved by cutting the striped fabric on bias. Striped fabrics change the silhouette and create an illusion. Horizontal stripes tend to shorten, where as vertical ones add height.
Extra yardage is often needed for matching stripes. A general rule is to allow ¼ metre to ½ metre extra fabric for matching stripes.
Rules to remember while working with stripes:
Locate the prominent stripe and place it on the centre front or centre back of the bodice, centre of sleeves, centre front or centre back of skirt or collar.
Match the stripes at - centre front, side seams, the front of sleeves to the bodice, shoulder seam. Match seams from hem to the waist and bottom of the bodice to the top.
Match collars at the shirt back or at the back of a jacket.
Match the skirt of the bodice to that of the skirt.
Lay the stripes at equal angles to a bias line so that these stripes form a regular ‘V’ or chevron.
Balanced striped fabrics can be folded lengthwise taking care to match the stripes.
Unbalanced stripes have to be laid out like that of “with nap layout’.
A simple pattern works out better for striped fabrics rather than a complicated one.