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An introduction and a question about grain and stretch
Pattern and material help
Amandaig
Amandaig
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New Jersey USA
Member since 2/18/13
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Date: 2/23/13 7:51 AM

Hi everyone- this is my first post but I've been reading your helpful posts for awhile. Even used the machine reviews when my 10 year old Huskystar went kaput on me. Bought the Viking Opal 670, which is decidedly a big upgrade. :-)

I'm not new to sewing; I'm kind of new again. I started when I was a child and quit in my 20s. Came back a few times, but my beloved Huskystar is what kept my confidence low (and the lack of a teacher). I hadnt realized some of the things that were wrong were the machine's fault and not my own!

So I've been sewing clothes for my nieces' American Girl dolls and realize I'm much better at that than clothes for myself. I've really been enjoying it and prefer the 1/4 inch seam at this point. Imagine my surprise when the skirt I was trying to make for myself wanted me to use 1 1/4 inch seams! What was I going to do with all that!

Ok, long post over and onto my question. I bought a piece of black rayon-like stretchy slippery fabric from the remnant pile at Joann's. It's ribbed from selvage to selvage. The pattern is McCalls 6480 and I'm making a shirt.

The pattern piecess do not have any grain line markings/arrows. One piece is marked for a fold. The shirt will look better if I follow the ribbing and place the pattern pieces according to it. But with regard to the stretchiness, I'm a bit clueless as to knowing what the stretchiness means for my finished garment. In truth, while I understand what I read about grain lines, I haven't mastered the concept and have to reacquaint myself with each new project.

With such stretchy material, do I need to worry about placement? How can I learn what to do to master this concept?

Thanks so much for your help.

KathySews
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Date: 2/23/13 8:09 AM

Welcome to PR.

About stretch. As a general rule you want the stretch to go around your body for comfort and ease of movement. If you have the stretch lengthwise, you risk the garment stretching or getting longer as you wear it. If the fabric has obvious ribbing, I would use that as my grainline

Marie367
Marie367
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Ohio USA
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In reply to Amandaig <<


Date: 2/23/13 9:01 AM

Welcome to PR. There was a whole thread under "beginners" about knit with lots of helpful information Knit sewalong
Is this for you or for a doll? I would agree with Kathy and say generally you want the stretchiest way to go around your body. However, if it is a 4 way knit or stretchy both ways it may not matter. I am thinking you would like the ribs going horizontally rather than vertically? That would probably work initially but the top would lengthen upon wearing. If it is for the dolls, it probably doesn't matter.
There are quite of few of us who have returned to sewing for ourselves after a long absence. I have done so because it is so hard to find good fitting clothes. So keep reading and asking questions. There are so many knowledgeable people on here who can help!

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to Amandaig <<


Date: 2/23/13 9:04 AM

First, you need to look at the suggested fabric types for your pattern. Don't stray from them; they are there for a reason. It may also give instructions on the pattern envelope for stretch, such as how to figure 25% stretch, etc.

If you are dealing with a woven, straight grain is parallel to the selvedge. (the arrow will go up and down on the pattern) This means that with a woven, it won't stretch up and down. Also, with a woven, cross grain is perpendicular to the selvedge and can stretch a little. This is important for making pants and shirts, which are placed on the straight grain for the length (non-stretch), and the cross grain for the circumference--where you need the stretch.

If you are working with a knit, sometimes these rules will be different because of the stretchiness of the knit. Many knits will have an all-way stretch, such as lycra for a bathing suit, and some might have stronger cross grain stretch than a woven, and the straight grain might be a little stretchy and not as stiff as a woven.

Ribbing from selvedge to selvedge means that the ribbing is running the straight grain, and the stretch will be cross grain (as it should be) The cross grain stretch, because of the ribbing will stretch more. If you put the ribbing (which is on the straight grain) on the cross grain, making it horizontal, your garment will stretch downward, and you will look like you are wearing a puddle, or a melting "something".

I always go with the suggested pattern placement for my garments. I made the mistake once of purchasing some beautiful Anna Sui silk, which had a horizontal line running through it (the horizontal lines were on the crossgrain). Horizontal lines can make one look shorter and heavier, so I decided I'd change the position and have the lines run vertical. Big mistake. Although the top looks nice, it dips everywhere it can, and fits more tightly than usual. Had I left it alone, things would have been different and I would have been pleased. As it is, the garment is a wadder.

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julie w
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Date: 2/23/13 9:50 AM

As Kathysews mentions you want the greatest amount of stretch to go around your body. Could this fabric be bengaline where the stretch usually runs along he length of the fabric instead of selvedge to selvedge. Either way place the pattern pieces to take advantage of the stretch.

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Julie, Perth, WA

SandiMacD
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Date: 2/24/13 5:54 AM

A pattern designed for stretch will have a ruler on the envelope. Place your fabric on the left edge of the ruler and with your right hand stretch the amount as directed on the envelope. If it stretches far enough to meet the mark on the right side of the printed ruler then your fabric has enough stretch.

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SandiMacD
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Date: 2/24/13 5:55 AM

I am doing just the opposite! My neice got an American doll for Christmas and I just ordered my first patterns for it! Wish me luck.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

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