Finding the straight grain of fabric is important to do before beginning a project. ZJ Humbach shares several tips for finding the straight of grain in different fabrics.
There are several area of fabric that are important to be familiar with. When you purchase fabric off of a bolt there will be a folded edge, two raw edges where it has been cut and a selvage edge. The selvage of a fabric contains information about the fabric, including designer and colors used in a print. All woven fabric will have a grain line. Grain lines occur while the fabric is being made, with fibers being woven together. Parallel to the selvage are long fibers called the warp, while perpendicular to the selvage are shorter fibers called the weft. At an angle of 45 degrees from the selvage is the bias of the fabric. While some pattern pieces need to be aligned along the straight grain of fabric others require using bias fabric grain.
Finding the Straight Grain
ZJ shows how fabric is not necessarily cut along a grain line when it comes off of a bolt of fabric. This may be more apparent on a print fabric than it is on a solid color, so it is important to test on all fabrics. She demonstrates how you can find the straight grain of fabric by making a small cut with fabric scissors and then tearing the fabric. The fabric tears along one fabric fiber, revealing an edge that is the straight of grain. The process can then be repeated on the opposite edge. ZJ also shows how you can find the straight grain of fabric on materials that don’t easily tear by pulling on one fabric fiber to create a run line that can then be cut along. Once you have found the straight grain of fabric, you are ready to use the fabric for your next project. You can even save the strips you tear off and use them later in fun fabric scrap projects.