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Using checked fabric for my Lilou Dress

I'm working on the Lilou Dress from the book Love At First Stitch, deciding to use a lovely soft blue linen from Merchant & Mills with checks on. As an extra challenge I wanted to pattern match as much as I could, having managed it fairly well on the back seam of my Clemence Skirt from the same book (pattern matching blog post here).

Merchant & Mills Jacobs Check fabric, dark blue linen with white checks

No worries I thought, I just need to apply the same principles but in the vertical direction between the bodice and skirt, as well as horizontally across the back seam. Aaaand then I started trying to cut the pattern. I hadn't anticipated the additional challenge of horizontal and vertical lines, or the slightly bouncy and shifty loose-weave fabric that meant the two sides of the folded fabric had to be spot on.

I ended up pinning the fabric along the selvedge and across the open edge of the fold, lining up the checks as best I could. It seemed to do the trick as I cut out the front bodice piece and was really pleased with how symmetrical the pattern looked on it.

Bodice piece for Tilly and the Buttons Lilou Dress in Merchant & Mills Jacobs check linen fabric showing symmetry of the checks

Phew I thought. The major work is done and proceeded to cut the remaining pieces, trying to match the vertical stripes between the bodice and the skirt centrally, as the pleats in the skirt will prevent it further round. I happily started to follow the sewing instructions.

Sew the darts. Simples.

Oh hang on, what about those checks, how will they line up after the darts are sewn?

I decided to ensure all the darts were completely horizontal (matching the vertical lines) or vertical (matching the horizontal lines). The one that needed moving the most was the back waist dart. I suspect that it would look more flattering in its original position pointing more towards the centre of the waist and therefore creating a line making the waist look thinner. However, sewing the two darts at an angle symmetrically looked more difficult than trying to follow the horizontal lines and so I stuck with that.

I hand-basted the darts so I could check the lines were well matched. They're not all perfect but they're certainly good enough for me to be happy with (and the worst one is round the back where I can't see it anyway!).

Back pieces of Tilly and the Buttons Lilou Dress pinned together showing the vertical waist darts with horizontal lines matching on the checked fabric

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Hello and welcome!

I'm Kay, and welcome to my blog where I share tales of my sewing journey, complete with mishaps, mistakes and solutions to help make your journey a smoother one.

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