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Conversational Threads

Cutting across the grain

paulette | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Getting back to sewing for myself after many years because I find that so many of the RTW clothes( unless your’e willing to spend alot of money) are just not flattering to the ‘shifting” figure.  Anyway, after getting the Threads Magazine for the first time, I was delighted to discover this website.

Anyway, here’s my question. I bought a piece of 60 inch  striped medium weight poly/cotton fabric that I would like to use for a princess style,sleeveless,buttons down the front shift dress. It ‘s McCalls M4877( Palmer Pletsch). Because the stripes go crosswise, would there be any problem laying  my pattern out crosswise( so the stips run vertically on me) instead of lenghtwise on the grain as is usually done? I don’t know if doing it that way will affect the drape of the fabric.





  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    Try a gentle tug on the fabric first lengthwise then crosswise and compare the amount of give.  If there is not much difference then go ahead and cut on the cross grain.


    1. paulette | | #2

      Thanks for the response. Oddly enough there is more give in the crosswide direction.


      1. User avater
        Becky-book | | #3

        Then you need to make a judgment call on how much the extra "give" will effect the vertical stability of the dress and less "give" will effect the comfort of the horizontal dimensions. I vote for the vertical stripes; I need all the help in that direction I can get!


      2. mygaley | | #4

        Perhaps I should look this up, but am under the impression that sidewise grain is always "looser" and that is why we cut most garments on the straight of the lengthwise grain, so the tighter grain can support the lines of the garment.  If I've misunderstood this, please set me straight.  Galey

      3. SewNancy | | #7

        Give yourself enough ease so that the stripes won't distort. Cut out dress without large sas, 1 1/4" isn't too much.

  2. poo | | #5

    Its not odd at all that the crosswise grain is looser. When fabric is woven the lengthwise (Warp) threads are put on the loom very tightly. then the crosswise (Weft) threads are woven onto that base. Becasue there isn't the tension on sides of the fabric that there is ont he warp threads it is looser.

    This is also why when ironing damp fabric always go with the lengthwise grain as you will strech it out of shape if pressing crosswise.

    As to cutting your pattern on the crosswise grain, it probably won't make too much of a difference unless the fabric is 'heavy' and the drape of a large piece may pull it out of shap. If its lightweight I would go ahead and use it.

    Edited 7/2/2006 10:52 pm ET by poo

  3. Teaf5 | | #6

    I agree with the other posters but have never had a problem with garments cut on the cross-grain, which is necessary for border prints.  Since you know that it's a bit looser, you may want to allow slightly more ease in your side seams, as the drag downward will make the dress slimmer, though probably not as much as using it on the bias might.  If the stripes are too distinctive, maybe a bias cut would be an option, too?

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