Each yarn (woven thread) in every fabric will have a specific direction. In woven fabric, the grainline will run parallel to one another both lengthwise and crosswise, interlocking to create the fabric. The instructions on which direction to cut the pattern piece will typically be found on patterns. Please continue reading if you want to learn more about grainline.
What Is A Grainline?
When a pattern is laid out on a piece of fabric, the grainline is how it is cut out. The lengthwise yarns in a piece of fabric are frequently cut along the grainline. Weft threads are the name for yarns that run along a length.
The weft threads are the ones that wrap around the roll to create the meters of fabric when you picture a roll of fabric. The warp threads run parallel to the fabric’s cross grain. The shorter length of the warp threads makes them stronger within the fabric.
The selvages are the edges of the cross-grain threads when you look at a roll of fabric. Selvages, in my opinion, are the uncut edges of fabric that typically have a border. Sometimes, instead of the white border shown below, the selvage has tiny holes along the edges.
Consider a roll of fabric as you try to recall what the selvage is. The role has two ends. The selvage of the fabric is found at each end.
Why Is A Grainline So Important In Pattern Making?
A fabric’s lengthwise yarns are, for starters, more durable than its crosswise yarns. When they drop down the body, they fall and drape better. Compared to crosswise yarns, lengthwise yarns stretch less.
The true bias grain has the most stretch, with the bias grain stretching more than either of these grains. This aids in a better fit for the body’s shape. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the fabric’s grain before cutting it.
Sometimes it may be more cost-effective to cut the garment crosswise rather than lengthwise, but you should proceed with caution because it may slightly stretch, sag at the armpits and hems, and feel uncomfortable all around. A distorted garment can occasionally result. The horror of it.
Although it requires more fabric than the other two grain directions, a bias grain has a better fit and drape. As a result, you will need to budget more money for the project if you want to make a bias-cut garment. If your mind is on your purse, you already know which way to turn, or rather, which way to cut.
The Function Of A Grainline
The grainline’s purpose is to indicate the direction in which a sewing pattern should be cut in order to achieve the desired finish and fit the designer’s intentions. The way a garment hangs on your body is impacted by it. Moreover, how well it maintains its shape.
Cross-grain has a little bit of a mechanical stretch because of the way the fabric is weaved. That is why most patterns are cut parallel to the grainline.
If you stop and think about it, we would prefer our clothing to be looser horizontally than vertically.
Think of yourself wearing a pencil skirt. the grainline of which is cut. The skirt’s length shouldn’t stretch or change as you move. But if you sit you will need a little bit of that ease/stretch of the cross-grain to be comfortable.
Now I want you to visualize a dress that is draped. Dresses with draping are cut on the bias. Bias-cut fabric can stretch and grow, as I mentioned above. That is why on a dress you will see a fluid drape, gathers, or pleats.
If the same dress were cut on a grainline, as opposed to twisted, awkward lines, you would obtain.
How Can I Find The Grainline?
If you’re using a woven fabric, like cotton poplin, I like to cut a tiny slit into the edge and rip the fabric apart. As the warp threads are straight up and down and rip to the proper grain, this will assist you in identifying the true grain. It will rip across the weft threads.
Simply cut a slit into the end and attempt to fray the ends if the fabric is too delicate to rip in this manner. By pulling on the threads, you ought to be able to see the grain.
What Is The Right Way To Align Fabric To The Grainline?
Easy peasy. The best way to align the pattern to the grainline of the fabric is to guide yourself with the selvages. Match the pattern’s grainline to the selvages by arranging it parallel to them. Measure the distance from the location to the direction line on the pattern using a ruler.
Over two layers of fabric, we typically cut patterns. So, align both selvages and lay the fabric flat so you won’t get twisted or crooked grainlines. Following that, carry out the aforementioned action using those edges.
If you need to align the pattern cross-grain then mark a line that goes perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. And if you want to align it to the bias mark a horizontal line, perpendicular to the selvage and then a 45º diagonal line. Then cover that line with your pattern.
This alignment should be very simple to complete if you have a cutting mat because many of these instructions are marked on them when they are purchased.
How To Find The Grainline Of A Fabrics When It Doesn’t Have A Selvage?
There are sometimes when you won’t easily find the grainline of the fabric because it doesn’t have a selvage. It might be because some fabrics lack a pronounced selvage. Or perhaps you already cut it off. Don’t worry you can totally still find the grainline with a simple easy trick.
First, try to identify which is the direction of the length of the fabric. Then what you are going to do is to find the nearest edge vertically to that direction and pull a couple of threads out. Slowly remove them from the fabric until you have done so.
The resulting blank line will serve as your grainline.