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Grainline: Cutting Fabric


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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So by now you must be rolling in grainline knowledge! It’s time to put it to use by cutting out patterns. These examples will help you put into practice what you’ve learned about grain and fabric.

Cutting on the fold with visible grain:

Sometimes pieces cut on the fold can take up a lot of fabric. Suppose you wanted to save a little fabric by folding a smaller piece in half to cut your piece on the fold. If your fabric has a visible grain, it’s pretty easy!

This silk dupioni above has a visible and nubby crosswise grain. This makes it easy to know where the grain is and fold appropriately. Just match up the crosswise grain.

This silk crepe de chine has a woven stripe along the lengthwise grain. Woven stripes and plaids make it easy to find the grain. You can easily see the pattern grainline matches up to the fabric grain.

Cutting a pattern piece on a fabric without a visible grainline:

Although this fabric doesn’t have a visible grain, or at least not one you can see without a magnifying glass, you can easily find the grain in order to make sure your pattern piece is straight on the fabric.

Match up the selvages and crossgrain ends as usual before cutting. Place the pattern piece on the fabric. Measure the distance from the pattern grainline (that’s the long line with arrowheads at each end) to the selvage. Make sure it’s the same distance along the length of the printed pattern grainline. As long as your selvages are accurately aligned, this will ensure a correct cut.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts on grain and have learned something new!

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 5


Love this blog! Trying to decide what pattern to buy first. Bought some amazing material today without the slightest clue what to make but hope I’ll manage something. x


So… I want to make a grey and white striped skirt with horizontal stripes, but I can only find fabrics that seem to have a vertical stripe. What would I happen if I cut so I have a horizontal stripe?


Is anyone going to answer this poor girl’s question?

Rebecca– I think this issue is addressed in the post about how to find the grain line. She mentions that if you “cut on the crosswise grain, the garment will have a different drape than if cut lengthwise.” I gather it’s up to you if that would be an acceptable drape!


I like your contribution concerning sewing and I’m looking forword to reading from you.

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