A plaid is a design composed of a planned series of vertical and horizontal stripes or bars that intersect at right angles. Plaids require careful planning and fabric handling. Plaids can be printed, woven or knitted. Various types of plaids that are available in the market can be even or uneven.
An even (balanced) plaid has the same lines, spaces, and colors on the left and right below a center or dominant line. They will match in both the lengthwise and crosswise directions. An uneven (unbalanced) plaid can be one of four types:
Different from left to right of a dominant line.
Different above and below a dominant line.
Different from left to right and above and below a dominant line.
Different from crosswise to lengthwise whereby the plaid is even right to left and/or up and down.
Rules to remember while working with plaids/checks:
Identify the dominant vertical bar/line of the plaid. Place this as the center front, center back, and center sleeve area. This will help balance the design on the body.
Avoid placing a dominant horizontal bar in any area that is not to be emphasized, as the eye will be attracted to this area.
Uneven plaids are best worked on a single layer while even plaids can be folded during layout. Use only ‘with nap’ layout for uneven plaids.
It is better to work on a single layer for laying out the pattern pieces, but if a folded layout is required, then pin both the layers at 4” intervals so that they do not move while cutting.
Match the plaids at seamline, not at the cutting line. Marking notches help in matching the pieces.
Small areas of the garment such as collars, cuffs, pockets, yokes or the “lips” of bound buttonholes can be cut on the bias for creating interest in the design.
For perfect matching at all seams, Slip-basting can be done with the right sides of both fabric pieces facing the seamstress.
Extra yardage of about ¼ metre to ½ metre is required for matching the checks or plaids.