Tips & tricks for cutting fabric along the grainline
This post offers advice on how to cut out fabric according to the grain of your fabric. We are using the 'Scooped Hem Top' as an example.
Pattern available here: - https://www.owlandsewingcat.com/products/scooped-hem-top-pattern
What is the fabric grain?
The grain of your fabric runs parallel with the selvedge (finished edge). When using a pattern the 'straight of grain line' may be marked in three different directions.
1. Lengthwise (the straight of grain) which is the grainline
2. Crosswise which goes from selvage to selvage.
3. Bias which goes diagonally across the fabric allowing the fabric to stretch.
To ensure your finished project hangs correctly it is important to ensure all pattern pieces are following the correct grain line as marked on each piece when placed onto your fabric and before cutting.
Start with laying your fabric onto a flat surface. The fabric should be folded with wrong sides together and selvedges touching as you can see in the image below. The selvedge is the finished edges of the fabric, they should run parallel to each other when cutting.
Lay your pattern pieces onto the fabric according to the instructions on each piece. The 'Scooped Hem Top' has two pattern pieces; front and back.
The front is laid on the fold so that when it is cut it opens out as one piece. Ensuring the edge of the paper pattern is placed directly onto the fold of the fabric.
The back is cut as a pair. Now it is important to make sure the grainline printed on the pattern sits parallel to the selvedge of the fabric to ensure the pattern pieces are cut straight. You can use a ruler to ensure the straight line is equal distance all the way along the selvedge. Then cut through the two layers together which will produce a pair that are mirror image of each other.
The fabric used for the 'Scooped Hem Top' is non directional so the pattern pieces can be rotated to fit the fabric. See picture below. As long as the pattern pieces are running parallel to the selvedge the pattern pieces can be flipped.
When using directional fabric, make sure the text on the pattern pieces are sitting on the fabric in the same direction as the print. This will ensure the pattern pieces are cut the the print running in the same correct direction.
Cutting on the bias
When cutting on the bias ensure that the grainline printed on the pattern piece is running parallel to the selvedge, therefore making the pattern piece running diagonally across the fabric. This example shows the neck binding for the 'Easy Fit Top' which, when cut, on the bias as shown, will have some stretch to ease sewing around the curved edge of the neckline.
We hope you find these tips useful and you enjoy making your lovely sewing project!