Saturday, April 7, 2012

A to Z 2012 - G

Join me as I blog my way through April - A to Z!
This month, you'll learn about those funny little
sewing defined by Seams Inspired.

I'm #1153 in the Challenge.
To meet the others, click the badge above or follow this link:  A to Z 2012


This is just my personal opinion, but I think understanding the Grain of your fabric is the single-most important factor when beginning a new sewing project. Far too often (myself included), we fall in love with a piece of fabric and start daydreaming about how we can create something glorious with it. We find the 'perfect' pattern to show off that fabric, and then go willy-nilly with the layout of pattern pieces. Before you know it, our beautiful fabric is turned into a wadder and our dream of a new garment is reduced to tears...and probably a bit of swearing.

Grain refers to the lines in fabric weave. The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvage (the finished edges of the fabric...usually has the manufacturer's name on it as well as other information) and is known by its weaving term, 'warp.' When you are laying out pattern pieces, you'll find a directional arrow printed on them. The arrow almost always follows the lengthwise grain of the fabric.

The crosswise grain, known as the weft, runs from selvage to selvage and is at a right angle to the lengthwise grain. When you pull on the fabric, the crosswise grain will usually have a bit of 'give' to it; however, the lengthwise grain has almost none. This is important to remember when laying out pattern pieces.

Before laying out your pattern pieces, you need to make sure you start with fabric that has a straight  grain line. Most stores cut fabric yardage rather than tear it across the crossgrain. This produces a piece of fabric that is off grain, so let's straighten it. Your garment will not hang correctly or fit well if you skip this step!
  1. Make a small cut into the selvage of the fabric.
  2. Grab one crossgrain (weft) thread that runs across the width of fabric.
  3. Give it a gentle pull. The fabric will begin to gather.
  4. Cut along the pulled thread line.
  5. Repeat until you have reached the opposite selvage.

If you are unsure the fabric grain is straightened, lay the fabric on a flat surface. Fold the selvages together. The fabric should lie flat, and the warp and weft should be at a right angle of one another. If not, straighten the grain again following the steps above.

Now go check the grain of your fabric!

Have you checked the grain of your fabric
before beginning a new project?

Happy Saturday!


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