Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cutting Off Grain fabric

Elaray asked how I cut the pattern with it being so off grain. I thought that would be a good topic for a post since we all seem to run into that once in awhile.

Well, first of all there are 2 kinds of off grain, and this fabric was both. Sometimes a fabric is woven off grain (the lengthwise and crosswise threads are not perpendicular). The first thing I did was to cut a slit about 3 inches in on the fabric, and tear it from selvege to selvege. I then lined this torn edge against a vertical line on my cutting board, and lined up the fold along a horizontal line. This took some smoothing and weighting down the fabric. (If I had been using a cardboard cutting mat, I would have just pinned the fabric into shape.) Sometimes you have to stretch the fabric on the bias to make it straighten out, but smoothing it out usually works pretty well for me. That's when I took the picture in the last post, and you can see that this fabric is also printed off grain. I usually refrain from buying prints that are obvious stripes or checks unless they are woven into the fabric. Printed stripes and plaids are rarely on-grain. If you do get a fabric like this, you have to make a decision about whether to follow the print, or the grain. Well, I have mistakenly followed the print in the past, and the garment always seems to twist or not hang right. If the print is way off, and you follow the grain, it may look really wrong after it is made up. Sometimes it just depends on what you are making.

Fortunately for me on this one, at least the lines running the length of the fabric were pretty straight, so when I followed the grain, the print lined up. Also, the print is small enough that you could fudge a little if you needed to. Since this blouse has 7 vertical seams, I figured the off-print of the fabric wouldn't be that noticeable once it was made up. And if it was, oh well, not much I could do about it. I didn't even try to line up the print on this, but it looks like I did - now you know my little secret ;-)

I was looking at some of my patterns tonight thinking of what kind of skirt I wanted to make to go with this top. I originally was thinking about a bias cut skirt, but with this fabric being as unstable as it is, and the print being off, that might not be a good choice. I may go with a gored skirt for this one.