Why is the Minoru Jacket Pattern Not Suitable for Plaid Fabric?

On the envelope back of the Minoru Jacket pattern, it says ‘Not suitable for Plaids and Stripes.’ And of course, most of us who sew like to bend the rules. People have already asked me ‘but why? I love plaid! Why can’t I make it in plaid?’

A lot of the time patterns will say that they are not suitable for plaids and stripes because the design of the pattern isn’t going to look very good. If you notice, often one of the illustrations on vintage patterns will show a stripe. This lets you know the direction of the grain, and also how it will look in stripes if you follow the pattern! It’s safe to say if there’s a stripe on the cover art, you can use a striped fabric. They’re giving you a subtle clue that stripes are OK!

(Here’s a great example of how the same pattern will look sewn up in both solids and stripes. The cover illustration shows exactly where the stripes will fall on the garment!)

On the Minoru Jacket, the plaid lines are really hard to match with the raglan seams. With the gathering into the collar, the plaid lines will slant and look strange. Plus, there’s the elastic casing. Imagine if the stitch lines aren’t aligned with the plaid lines? I think it would look sloppy and you wouldn’t be happy with the final product.

(imagine if the neckline of this plaid garment was gathered – it would look very busy and scattered around the neckline and collar area!)

But once the pattern is in your hands, you have total creative control!

So if you love the idea of a plaid garment, and really want to use a pattern that says Not Recommended for Plaids, here are some ways to test it out. Try laying the pattern pieces on the fabric before cutting. See what it looks like. Is it going to look weird? Or impossible to match? Are there too many seams that will cut up the lines of your stripes or plaid?

Or, draw the plaid lines onto the pattern tissue, and hold it up to yourself. Where are the plaid lines going to go? Are they straight?

Still want to work some plaid into your Minoru Jacket? How about a plaid lining, like Molly’s jacket? That way you get a peek of plaid without worrying about matching on the outside.

Have your heart set on plaid fabric? Here’s a post on how to match plaids.

I hope that answers the question on why plaids aren’t recommended, and gives you some ideas on how to break the rules and work plaid into your Minoru Jacket. Let me know if you have any questions!

Next up: a post on fabrics that are recommended for the Minoru Jacket pattern!

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15 Responses to Why is the Minoru Jacket Pattern Not Suitable for Plaid Fabric?

  1. Funnygrrl December 5, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    Great idea to do a plaid lining. Nice way to get the look of plaid without the disappointment of mismatched seams.

  2. scuffsan December 5, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    This was a great post. I’m usually not adventurous enough to make anything striped or plaid when the pattern specifically says it’s not suitable, but it is great to know why it’s not suitable.
    And by the way, I’m totally drooling over that simplicity pattern!

  3. Jessica December 5, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Hi. Great post! I haven’t broken myself of my fear of sewing plaid yet.
    So I have a question for you regarding the vintage pattern you showed. It’s off the subject. Sorry! :) I’m looking for a dress pattern with a bodice just like this with a waste dark and bust dart but it seems that all the big companies are doing princess seams right now. Do you know off hand of any modern patterns that are similar to the one you pictured? I love everything about it including the fullness of the skirt.
    Thanks for the great blog!

  4. Kjersti December 5, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Hah, this is funny. I had originally intended to do the Minoru in a plaid, and being stubborn I thought I would be able to make it work regardless of the pattern instruction. Then, yesterday, I tested my plan with scraps to see how the plaid would meet in the raglan seam. Not good. So I decided to go for a plaid lining instead. :) Hopefully I can find some nice shell fabric that matches the plaid lining I have in stash.

  5. Monica Smith December 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Stripes and plaid will make you look enormous in a hurry. I am not one of those people bothered by them not being perfect just don’t wear it to a ASG meeting!

  6. karen December 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I made a raglan sleeve jacket last year with a very geomtric print on the fabric that had to be matched. I was cursing myself the whole time I cut it out because I didn’t even think of the matching when I bought it. I think it took me longer to cut it out than to sew it, but it did turn out great and I love it. So ya those fabrics and patterns can work together but it is not recommended if you want to keep your sanity!

  7. Annie December 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    It might look nice with the hood made out of plaid, and the rest of the jacket solid. Just a thought…

  8. aleah December 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Hmmm, I have a buffalo check fabric I was thinking about using, I wonder if it would fare better than a traditional plaid or worse… It’s a kind of raincoat fabric, so it’s exterior or bust, can’t relegate it to the lining. The squares are pretty big, 2 or 3 inches I’d say, so I’m not sure if the not matching seams will seem like a mistake or a design element! If I go ahead I’ll be sure to report how it worked out.

    • aleah May 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      I finally finished my plaid version, and I think it worked out well! I found that the raglan seams are pretty concealed by the collar, and the neckline gathers, and pretty much anywhere you put your arms, and also the mis-match is so angled that it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to line up at all, so it doesn’t read as a mistake to me. I managed to to match across the front plackets and that’s enough for me! Here’s my finished jacket: http://notimetosew.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/at-long-last-its-a-minoru/

  9. Montana December 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I have been way to chicken to try something in plaid thus far. (Well at least a big project. I actually just made a shirt in what I guess you could call plaid. You can see it on my blog.) I am loving the idea of a plaid lining though! What fun! Thanks for the idea :)


  10. Catholic Bibliophagist December 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Yay! Looking forward to that post about fabrics that *are* recommended.


  11. nikole December 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Any of you brave enough to try it with plaid can check out this link

  12. Nothy January 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Plaid lining is a great idea. I learned to sew as a little girl from a neighbour who made really classic patterns in good, solid materials that were conservative to say the least (black, charcoal, grey and tan were colours). Anyway, what i loved about her work was that she also lined her patterns in the loudest, most outrageous material! It was like a little secret only she and the few people who saw the insides of her clothes knew about. Your idea of plaid lining reminds of that.