The grain of a fabric follows the warp and weft threads, where the lengthways grain/thread runs parallel to the selvedge and the crossways grain/thread runs across the width.

* All fabric should be cut following the grain, i.e. on the ‘straight of grain’, unless directed otherwise.

* Fabric is woven with the grains straight, and the yarns and colours selected accordingly. ‘On grain’ describes how the fabric has been conceived and executed to hang, wear and look its best. During the finishing and printing processes, or due to a weaving fault, the fabric may twist so that the grain is not running horizontally across the width.

* The hang and the look of the finished project will be affected if the grain has ‘run out’–for example, a curtain will want to kick out at the hem, so you need to balance what is possible with how to manage an off-grain fabric, especially if the printed pattern is askew.

* To cut ‘on the bias’ or ‘on the cross’ is to place the normal pattern at a 45º angle to the grain–this is the area of maximum stretch, as when the ‘straight’ is the ‘cross’ the fabric will envelope and cling to forms and shapes.

* There are ways to overcome an off grain fabric problem for most furnishings – both for a plain weave and also when the pattern has become uneven– see …basic techniques …


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