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Help! Has anyone ever…..

Char9 | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

…..cut out a pattern perpendicular to the grain instead of parallel with the grain?

I’m making a blouse to wear to my nephew’s wedding in June.  I found this wonderfully festive fabric with tiny multi colored “eyelashes” in a muted striped pattern on a black ground.  I would like to run the stripes horizontally rather than vertically but that would entail cutting the pattern pieces against the grain.

Can I do this without negative results?




  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    I'm certainly not an expert, but I think it depends a lot on how tightly woven the fabric is.  Most fabrics won't "hang" as well.  In my opinion they add pounds when cut crosswise, (but I'm pretty vain!)  I've seen photos of identical skirts cut all three ways and crosswise definitely stands away from the body more than w/grain or bias. A big concern would be sleeves cut crosswise and how they would feel/move.  I would be just as interested as you, to hear other opinions, so I'll be watching.

  2. user-51823 | | #2

    vertical stripes are more slimming too. would you be terribly unhappy with the blouse on the normal cut of the fabric?
    on the other hand, if it is a very fitted patern, the direction of the weave would not influence bulkiness in the drape (if no drape).

    "...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

    Edited 4/30/2007 12:01 pm ET by msm-s

  3. dotty | | #3

    Have you played around with it to see how it falls? Sometimes its obviously stiffer when held as though cut cross grain. I think I'd be too chicken to try it. I once had some rayon with a horizontal (not stripes) pattern. I decided to cut the fabric into large blocks so that some were horizontal and some were vertical. It never really hung properly. I never figured out if it was the piecing, the grain, or the rayon (which I've always found tricky to sew).

    1. Char9 | | #4

      Aha!  So you figured me out with the horizontal vs. vertical stripes.  No one has ever accused me of being a Twiggy look-a-like and that's why I want to cut the fabric so the stripes go vertically.

      The fabric is fairly drapey in either direction and its just thin enough that I have to line it.  I picked a very lightweight lining, almost as thin as the fashion fabric and also very drapey.  The pattern I will be using is Butterick #B4143, view B with the fluttery sleeves and draped front neck.  I'll cut the sleeves on the proper grain line.

      1. Ralphetta | | #5

        Were you planning to cut the lining crosswise also?

        1. Char9 | | #7

          Nope, I will cut with the grain for the lining.  The only pieces I want to cut against the grain are the front and back of the blouse.


  4. Sew Biz | | #6

    The current Threads issue has an article about going against the grain. I've cut some small pieces against the grain, or on a bias, but nothing that ever would affect the drape of the garment.

    1. Char9 | | #8

      I already read the May issue and just paged thru it again and didn't see it.  Can you tell me what page or the name of the atricle?



      Edited 4/30/2007 3:51 pm ET by Char9

      1. Sew Biz | | #9

        Sorry, it's the June/July issue #131. Article is called "Go Against the Grain" If you haven't received it yet, maybe it's online.



        1. Char9 | | #10

          Thanks, Sew Biz.  I found it and I'm gonna do it!  I'll let you know how it turns out.


          1. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #11

            Hi Char9I looked up your pattern and I have to say that blouse is really not suited to a stripe. Especially one that is cut on the cross grain. While cross grain has slightly more "give" than the straight grain, it still is not sufficient for the drapey look of that cowl neck. Especially not with a fabric that has eyelashes! They'd look like they were winking all the time! Probably wouldn't do much for a plus size figure either, darn it. I don't know if the pattern indicates cutting on the bias, but I certainly recommend it. And I'd use a very soft drapey fabric like crepe or challis. The eyelash fabric sounds fun but perhaps more suited to a jacket or vest that goes over the skirt/blouse. If fabric is limited you could certainly use the eyelash stuff for more slimming panels in the front or collar and lapels, etc. Also, if you choose something sheer that needs a lining,in this instance, both fabrics should be cut on the same grain and sewn as a single piece. Or you could make a separate "tank" or "slip" top (I'm having a senior moment and can't come up with the word for that type garment...but I know you know!) This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but thought I should say it anyway before you cut into your nice yardage. I hope this doesn't sound too bossy. It's " 'jes my 'sperience talkin', Lucy!" Best of luck with your project!

            Edited 4/30/2007 5:41 pm ET by artfulenterprises

          2. solosmocker | | #12

            I checked out your pattern alos. I agree with Artful. Your eyelash fabric sounds intriguing however. May I suggest an unlined buttonless, collarless jacket to throw over a solid sleeveless shell/tank top? You could possibly have it tie at the bust with slim ties. The shell and pants or skirt could match. Just a suggestion. Artful is right about the lining. Your grains must be the same on lining and fashion fabric.

            Edited 4/30/2007 8:35 pm ET by solosmocker

          3. Char9 | | #14

            Thanks, solosmocker, for your suggestions.  See my response to Artful, above. 

            Originally, I was going to make the blouse out of the eyelash fabric, line it with a lightweight red fabric and make a jacket from the same red in a satin, lined in the same blouse lining.  I'll be wearing black crepe pants.  I guess I could switch fabrics but then the jacket would be the item that ties the two solids together and since I'm 57, menopausal and have wicked, mad hot flashes (Hubby says I'm better than a fireplace! LOL!) the jacket would probably come off real fast. 

            Sleeveless doesn't work for me because I'm a plus size and that underarm baggage is not too attractive.  And since there's no guarantee that I could keep the jacket on, there goes that idea.

            I think I'll just get different fabric.  Or maybe I could give the wedding couple a lot of money and coerce them into eloping.

            The wedding is on June 27th and I have bariatric lap band surgery scheduled for July 9th.  They'll be calling me tiny hynie in no time!  But, unfortunately, not before the wedding.  Sheesh!

          4. Char9 | | #13

            Artful, thanks for the feedback.  I think I'll save my fabric for another time and look for different fabric for the wedding because I really like the blouse pattern. 

            The original fabric, however, is not a real stripe, just sort of a stripe.  And the eyelashes are really tiny.  I attached pics of it.  Maybe I'll make a jacket out of it.

            I took a look at the pattern and you're right, the front piece is cut on the bias.   For future reference, what do you think about my putting a seam down the center front and cutting the two front pieces so they chevron?  If you think that might work, should I put a light interfacing along the seam?



          5. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #15

            It would be extremely tricky to cut that pattern down CtrFrt and still cut and sew opposing bias seams and still get that nice drape at the neck. It would be better to create a kind of bias cut yoke set into the blouse which could then be cut on straight grain with adjustments for the change in stretch, etc. Even so, your fabric, while delicious, is still not suitable for the pattern. It would make a gorgeous jacket or vest however. There is a wonderful ultra lightweight, very soft seam binding called Seams Right that could be useful for reinforcing or stabilizing your seams if the fabric needs it. I believe Joann Fabrics carries the product. ( It looks like a sheer fine net stretch nylon chiffony ribbon.) Excellent product. Hope this is helpful.

          6. Char9 | | #16

            Oh, I've used Seams Right and its wonderful for finishing the seams on the inside of garments.

            Thanks so much for all your help.  Tomorrow I'm going to Fabric Row in Philly to find different fabric.  I'll probably end up making a jacket out of the eyelash - someday.


  5. Teaf5 | | #17

    I've made several garments using border print fabric that has to be cut crossgrain. As long as you are consistent within the same garment, it usually doesn't cause any special problems.

    1. Char9 | | #18

      Thanks, Teaf.  Although I have found different fabric already for the blouse pattern I want to use I will cut the eyelash fabric across the grain sometime in the future.  I just have to find a different pattern for it now.  I think its telling me it wants to be a jacket.


      1. Teaf5 | | #19

        Don't you just love it when fabric talks to you? Let us know how it turns out!

        1. Char9 | | #20

          All my fabric talks to me but sometimes it speaks in a foreign language and I have no idea what it might be saying.  LOL!

          1. Gloriasews | | #21

            Oh, Char - you are so right!  My laugh for the day (about the foreign language).  My stash often does the same - wonder if they are related?

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