Sewing Patterns, Pattern Review, Sewing Classes, Sewing Machines and Sewing Machine Reviews!
Platinum Sponsor: Stylish Fabric
Over 20,000 of high quality reorderable fabric

[SIGNUP - FREE Membership & 1 FREE Sewing Lesson ]
[Sewing Classes|Shopping Bag Your Shopping Bag|Login|Help]
Sewing Review and Pattern Reviews Sewing Knowledge Base Sewing Patterns Sewing Classes & Sewing Lessons Sewing Machine & Embroidery Machinery Sewing Message Boards Sewing merchants Blog Help/FAQ About Pattern Review

Advanced Search
New to PR?
Find a member
MY Stuff
Friends of PR Benefits
My Pattern Reviews
My Account
Edit Profile
My Page
Photo Album
Wish List
Pattern Catalog
Deal Corner
Sewing Machines
Sewing Machine Central
Compare Sewing Machines
Sewing Machine & Serger Reviews
Embroidery Machines
Sewing Reviews
Sewing Patterns
Review Gallery
Sewing Books
Sewing Supplies
Sewing Websites
Sewing Stores
Sewing Class Reviews
Sewing Expo Reviews
Sewing Tips & Techniques
Sewing Podcasts
Fabric Glossary
Sewing Review Requests
Read All Review Requests
Add a Review Request
Live Chats
Chat Room
Chat Schedule
Chat Transcripts
Sewing Classifieds
See all Classifieds
Add a Classified
Sewing Contests
all contests
contest gallery
Favorite Links
reviews with comments
merchant gallery
article archive
newsletter archive
Craft Resources
contact info
shipping rates
returns & refunds
Platinum Sponsor - Stylish Fabric
Stylish Fabric
Off grain fabric (Tip/Technique)
Viewed 5537 times
Review rated Helpful by 5 people   Very Helpful by 14 people   
Posted by: Debbie Lancaster
Friend of PR
About Debbie Lancaster star
Member since: 9/18/02
Reviews written: 67
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 12 people
tips added: 25
Bio: more...
Report a problem with this review
Posted on: 11/7/10 2:23 PM
This has come up in the message boards a lot lately, so I thought I'd put in my two cents here.

Woven fabric such as broadcloth and muslin that is off grain can sometimes be returned to the correct grain by tearing off both cut ends, and pulling the fabric along the diagonal until the ends and selvages line up. Sometimes you need to dampen the fabric, straighten it, and then iron it into submission. Sometimes it takes a bit more work, such as steaming it, straightening it, and pinning it into the straight grain, then ironing it.

Sometimes, however, the fabric is forever set in its off-grain-ness, and nothing--but nothing--will get it to be on-grain in both the warp (lengthwise grain) and weft (crosswise grain). It seems to be something to do with how the fabric was treated at the factory, and no power on earth will return the fabric to the way it should be.

In that case you can do a couple of things:

1. Throw it out. This is the only answer for fabric that has a plaid or a crosswise stripe, or a regularly-patterned fabric like a toile, where everyone would notice that the print is not symmetrical.

2. Fold it with selvages matching on the lengthwise grain so that there are no wrinkles along the fold and use it. This can apply to vertical stripes or plain colored fabric. Some twills, I have found will simply refuse to lie on the perfect crosswise grain (this is possibly due to the weave), and I've never had any luck tearing them across the crosswise grain anyway, so for this kind of fabric, it may be more or less "normal."

One more important point: If you have gone to the trouble to work your fabric to its correct grain, before you cut it out it's worth the extra step to lay it flat on a table and vigorously steam it, then allow it to cool and dry without any manipulation overnight. You may find that your meticulously reworked fabric has returned to its horrible off-grain self. In that case, go back to points 1 and 2 above and decide what to do with it.
Merchants on PR
Gwyn Hug
Fabric Shopping Help!
Lanetzliving Vintage Sewing Patterns
Vintage Sewing Patterns
Style Arc sewing dress patterns
Patterns That Fit
Web site

<< Previous Next >>

Add Tip/Technique    Read All Tip/Techniques

8 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
RLL said...
I had a plaid cotton that was so off grain and could not be 'beat' into submission (oh so irritating) so I just changed what I used it for. Instead of the shirt I was going to make, I used it to make a purse and tote bag. I interfaced with stiff iron on and cut with the plaid straight. As I was never going to wash these worked great. I was determined to used it somehow since I really liked the plaid/colors....even if it became crooked plaid boxer undies for my son :).
11/8/10 11:31 AM
Jane Jane said...
Thanks for the information!!! I needed it!
11/8/10 4:40 PM
Brine said...
Thanks for pointing out that the "straightening" may not be permanent! It would be a shame to find out that the fabric returns to its previous off-grain state when you wash your garment
11/8/10 5:00 PM
MaryLynn in Long Beach said...
You are so right in that some fabrics won't return to or hold a straight grain. I have also had the problem be the worst with a twill.
11/9/10 2:36 PM
MaryLynn in Long Beach said...
You are so right in that some fabrics won't return to or hold a straight grain. I have also had the problem be the worst with a twill.
11/9/10 2:37 PM
petro said...
Definitely worth checking the fabric for correct grain alignment if you buy from a store. Thanks for pointing out how some fabric insists on returning to its wonky state.
11/10/10 2:25 AM
Annie- oh said...
Thanks for this information - and for listing this first: "Throw it out."
11/11/10 12:55 PM
clumsyFingers said...
I usually fold the fabric match matching selvedges and ends. Then grab it along the wrinkly fold line, pick it up so it's off the table and manipulate the fold along one end so the fold wrinkles are gone. Then I shake it out, lay it back down, and use it like that. The selvedges don't match, the ends don't match, but the resulting garment acts like it's on grain. It's very frustrating because I sometimes lose a lot of inches of fabric and I am never quite sure the resulting garment will hang well, but I've gotten the best results this way. It seems to be worse with cheap fabrics.
3/1/14 4:23 PM

Copyright © 2014® , OSATech, Inc. All rights reserved.
Conditions of Use | Posting Guidelines | Privacy Policy | Contact Us