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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: avajo
Date: 09-01-2004, 01:24 AM (1 of 4)
Hello- I have been sewing a little while and some things have turned out good , some not , but I think I may have cut some things out wrong. I have read and reread the other threads about selvage edge , crossgrain , etc but I am still not sure. I know that the selvage edge is not the edge that is cut when you buy the fabric. When you lay out your pattern is the selvage supposed to be to the side of your pattern or at the bottom? I hope I'm making sense and not sounding too stupid. I think what got me confused is when I started reading about the strech in a fabric. Like in cottons , for example ,the little bit of stretch that it has , is it suposed to go (for example on a pair of pants) up and down or across , like across the behind. I have one pair of store bought pants that fit fine everywhere except when I sit they are too tight across the stomach area. I pulled on them to see how they stretched and found they stretch up and down , not across. Is this right or were they made wrong? Is that why they are so uncomfortable? Shouldnt the stretch be across so they will have a little ease or would this lead to something like saggy behinds ( I already have that anyway , so don't need to add to it!) I'm sorry this is so long , and even though I thought I knew the lengthwise ,selvage , etc , I have really confused myself worrying about this strech thing. Please help me if you can understand this rambling , and if you've managed to stick through all this , thank you!
User: avajo
Member since: 09-01-2004
Total posts: 10
From: DorothyL
Date: 09-01-2004, 08:05 AM (2 of 4)
Your pattern piece will tell you how it should be cut on the grain.
You will notice a line with arrow heads at each end. That line should be on the grain. Using a tape measure, make sure each end of the arrow is exactly the same distance from the selvage. If the pattern piece is long or the fabric slippery you might want to measure in the middle too. I always put pins at the ends of the grain line first (unless, of course, you can't put pins in the fabric).
If you are cutting folded fabric, you need to make sure it is folded on the straight grain. It likely won't be cut that way. What you want to do is cut along one of the cross wise threads. The easiest way to do that is to pull a thread and cut in the line it leaves behind. This is for woven fabrics -- not knits.
You can sometimes use the print -- especially stripes -- to judge the grain lines but measure too.
Eventually you will learn -- just by experience -- when and how to change the hang or print on a fabric by cutting it off grain. But, to start, use this method to keep your garment on grain and it will make a world of difference in how it looks.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: avajo
Date: 09-01-2004, 08:18 AM (3 of 4)
Thank you so much , that answered a lot of questions. I think you explained it better than what I have read. Just one more question-do pants normaly have the biggest stretch going across or up and down. I understand about the crossgrain and laying a pattern out now , but am still trying to fiqure out if these store bought pants are made wrong (just when I sit ) and they arn't too tight. I have plenty of room , but when I sit they pull.Don't know if Im explaining right......
User: avajo
Member since: 09-01-2004
Total posts: 10
From: paroper
Date: 09-01-2004, 10:55 AM (4 of 4)
There are two type of stretch. Some things stretch both directions (often called 2-way stretch) like panty hose. Other things stretch across the width of the fabric from side to side. It is rare that something will stretch up and down only. Yes, you can alter the way something stretches by cutting it the wrong direction and sometimes it is tempting to do that so that a pattern will fit on the material. It does sound like your pants were cut incorrectly. When you are laying out your pattern (according to guide sheet instructions), pin one end of your arrow in place on the pattern piece, then measure down to the selvage edge. Then, at the other end of the arrow, measure up to the arrow from the selvage. The arrow is usually long so that you get a truer straight measurment, you will have less error in your grain if you use the ends of the arrow. Get it just as close as you can to the same measurment and pin that arrow down. When you pin, pin across the arrow so that you don't pucker your fabric. Also, make sure that your edges are perfectly even. When you are cutting fabric (especially cotton) don't use the very edge of the fabric (selvage) in your garment..if often shrinks or puckers when washed. Those holes that you see are from the hooks that the company used in the weaving process making your fabric; they will not wash out. If you must use the selvage edge in your garment, clip the selvages up and down the length of your garment to make sure that it has room to pucker without drawing up your garment. A garment that is cut on the straight of grain just looks better and hangs better.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
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