Bindings · Tutorial · Waistbands

Quartering Necklines, Cuffs, Ruffles Etc.

Today we have a new tutorial, which probably means a new pattern coming soon!!!

Sometimes when joining two parts of a pattern you may be required to deal with pieces that are not an exact size match.  Some examples of this would be neckbands, waistbands or cuffs (which are often slightly smaller than the pieces they are being attached to); or gathered skirts or ruffles (which are larger than the pieces they are being attached to).

In the case of the bands/cuffs you will need to stretch them to match their corresponding pieces.  But how can you be sure you’ve stretched them evenly across the garment?  And gathered skirts/ruffles (as the name implies) need to be gathered down to size to match their corresponding pieces.  Again – how can you be sure to gather and distribute them in more even amounts?

One of the simplest methods that we choose to use in these instances is “quartering”.  Basically:

  1. Dividing each piece of the corresponding pattern pieces into quarters
  2. Marking those quarter locations (with pins/fabric markers/notches)
  3.  Aligning/Pinning the 2 pieces at the quarter points
  4. Stretching or Gathering each quarter section until they match in size with their corresponding pattern piece
  5. Pinning well, and sewing together.

Here we have an example of quartering an ankle cuff to match and fit it to a slightly larger leg.  First, the cuff is folded so that the seam is along one of the folded edges. Next, pins are placed at the seam and the opposite side of the cuff tube.

Railway 19

Next, the tube is opened and shifted so the two original pins are aligned in the center.  Two new pins are placed on the left and right sides.  The cuff has now been divided into 4 equal sections/quarters.

Railway 20

The same method is used to mark the quarter points on the corresponding pant leg.

Railway 21

Slide the cuff over the pant leg, right sides together. As the two raw edges are aligned on the cuff and pant leg, the cuff is rotated so as to align it’s quarter points with the quarter points on the pant leg. It’s then pinned in place at these points.

Railway 22

Each individual quarter section of the cuff is stretched slightly to match in length with the corresponding pant section, being sure not to stretch the pant at all.  Then more pins are added to hold it in place.

Railway 23

Finally, the pieces are sewn together. While sewing, it is necessary to stretch the cuff in the same manner as the previous step to ensure no folds or creases occur in the seam.

Railway 33

A waistband or elastic waistband can be quartered and assembled in the same manor:

When quartering a bodice to add a neckband, always start by marking the center front and center back. (Do this by folding the front bodice in half along the neckline and marking the center point, then repeat for the back bodice.)  On a raglan, ignore the sleeve portion at this time, and simply find the center of the actual bodice.


Lay the bodice flat (right side up), and align the front and back center point pins.  Keeping the center pins aligned, match the front and back necklines up until you reach the left and right ends.  Place a pin in each of those spots.  NOTE: on rare occasion these left and right points will line up with the bodice shoulder seam, but more often than not you will find that they are to one side or the other of the seam.


Quarter the neckband (as in previous examples).  Align the quarter points with the bodice quarter points, placing the seam of the neckband at the center of the back bodice.  Pin in place, stretch the neckband quarters to fit the bodice quarters, pin well and sew together.

In the case of a gathered skirt or ruffles, the method for marking the quarters is exactly the same as in previous examples.  Keep in mind that the skirt or ruffle must have the quarter points marked BEFORE any gathering is done.  (Our example shows a ruffle about to be added to the bottom of a skirt.  Both pieces have been marked at their quarter points with pins.)


The raw edges of the ruffle and skirt are then aligned, and pinned together at the quarter points.  Then each quarter section of the ruffle is gathered individually to match the length of the corresponding section of the skirt.  Each section is pinned in place, and the whole ruffle is sewn on.


This method helps to keep the ruffles more evenly distributed around the skirt.


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