Updated at: 01-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Ever wonder why your pants leg twists or why your waistline doesn’t stretch? Now you can. It’s possible that you’ve noticed markings on patterns and thought to yourself, “What do these mean?” You’ll be right where you want to be! Whether you’re sewing wovens or stretch knits, you’ll need to know what a grainline means and how it applies to the structure of your clothing.

What Is Grainline?

Let’s begin by defining grainline first. The threads of the fabric are known as the grainline. How the threads are moving is what matters. Because the way you cut a piece affects how the garment is made, it’s critical that you understand this. That will be the subject of a future blog entry.

Crosswise Grainline

The weft is the thread that runs between the selvages. Crosswise Grainline is a more frequent name for the weft in the sewing industry. Cutting across the grainline is standard practice when purchasing fabric from a retail store. This one has the most give if you’re working with knits.

Lengthwise Grainline

The warp refers to the threads that run perpendicular to the selvage. More generally, the warp is referred to as the Lengthwise Grainline (LG). The material’s breadth is where the threads are attached.

True Bias

A third Grainline is also included as a bonus. The term for this is “True Bias.” Diagonal grainlines are the subject of the term. The weft and warp are at a 45-degree angle. As a result, the woven cloth has some give to it. If a pattern weaved is cut and then sewed in the opposite direction, the bias will also cause a peculiar stretch.

Sometimes the pattern might be purposefully cut on the bias. Clothes made from this fabric have a more voluminous drape thanks to the fabric’s ability to relax after being cut in this way. The Sojourner Bias Dress is a good illustration of this. The added oomph that comes from cutting it on the bias is priceless!

In order to condense it all into a single photograph, On a piece of cloth, three grains can be aligned in this way:

That’s a significant amount of money.

Why It Is Important To Follow The Grainline Of The Fabric In Cutting?

When cutting, be sure to stay on the grainline of your cloth, as it serves as a guide. Using the template, you’ll know exactly what to cut and where to place it based on the design of the piece. For each grainline orientation, there are a variety of applications.

So what is bias grain?

The diagonal direction of an item’s grain is known as its bias. The cloth has a lot of elasticity because of the grain’s direction.

Why is a grainline so important in sewing?

Crosswise yarns are less durable than the yarns that run the length of the fabric. With their weight on the body, they drape and fall more gracefully. Compared to the crosswise ones, they are more flexible.

The bias grain has the most give in it when compared to the other types of grains. The bias grain has the greatest amount of elongation. A better fit for your body’s contours is possible because of this. Before cutting the cloth, it is vital to know the fabric’s texture.

It is sometimes for your budget to cut the dress across the length rather than crosswise however, you must do this being aware that it could stretch and sag around areas like armpits or hems and be uncomfortable overall. Occasionally, you’ll wind up with a piece that doesn’t look well. The depravity.

However, you must be mindful that cutting a dress across the width rather than across the length will cause it to stretch and droop in problematic places like the armpits or hems, making it unwearable as a result. Occasionally, you’ll wind up with a piece that doesn’t look well. It’s horrible.

How Do You Find The Grainline On Fabric?

Straight grainline

  1. Even if cutting the dress lengthwise rather than crosswise may be more cost-effective, you must be aware that this may cause the dress to sag and stretch in vulnerable points such as the armpits and hems and be uncomfortably loose in general. In some cases, the finished product will be unappetizing. What a terror!
  2. Check the corners to see if they form the correct angle.
  3. Consider the angles that separate the crosswise and the lengthwise threads to ensure that they do not cross in a round or tilted manner.
  4. Using a needle and thread, work your way horizontally across the fabric until you find an opening and then cut it out.
  5. Off-grain fabric has the selvages that don’t line up exactly when the cloth is folded in the middle.

Cross grainline

  1. The fabric is cut with a crosswise thread that you’ve found.
  2. Fold the cloth in half, then match the long and short edges on both sides.
  3. Wrinkles around the centerfold are a sign that the material is not in-grain, and should be avoided.

Additional suggestions for locating the grainline

  • The longitudinal yarn will be more durable if there is no selvage, but the transverse one will snap more easily.
  • Fabric can be ripped in length rather than width, which is more convenient.
  • There is more length in the cross-wise yarn than in the length-wise yarn.

So do knit fabric have a grain?

The grain is still there in knit fabric, but it is different. Knitters refer to this as ‘direction.’ Loops of knit cloth can be seen. As in a woven fabric, understanding the grain or direction of the thread is equally important. The orientation of a knitted fabric is determined by where the fabric’s loops are located. Unlike knitted textiles, they are arranged perpendicularly to each other rather than parallel to each other. They are arranged lengthwise (in courses) and across (in wales), with crosswise having the largest stretch. This can be done by performing a basic stretch test on the cloth to see how much stretching is occurring.


Is this article helpful to you? The direction of the threads that make up the weaving is the answer to the question of what is the grainline of sewing. When you cut your fabric for each sewing operation, you’ll need to be able to recognize it in many directions.