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Conversational Threads

How to find straight grain and bias on clothes for copying?

smockerlady | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi there,


I have just watched the fabulous video of Kenneth D King, here on Threads site and I have a query.

The video keeps going on and off, and I dont know if he explains it, and I just keeping missing it. Can someone put me out of my misery.

Kenneth marks the straight grain with a basting line………………..how do you find it correctly on the garment?

Would be really grateful for advice on this.


By the way, if you haven’t watched the video, it really is worth popping in. Isn’t he just fantastic. Love his book too.


Thanks in advance.




  1. Palady | | #1

    My limitation is my need to use dial-up.  Which negates viewing most all videos.  If one does activate, it stalls more than is worth the time to watch it.  As to finding the grain of a fabric.    On a woven - open the following URL & scroll for the text & photos describing how a woven is made.


    Now recognizing there being vertical & horizontal "threads" making up the fabric, know that the vertical is the length wise grain.  The horizontal the cross wise grain.  To better clarify, think going from your head to your toes as vertical.  From your shoulder to shoulder as horizontal.  Or, like the line you see on the beach as you look out over the water to the point where the water meets the sky. 

    Ssooo - on RTW, turn the piece inside out.  Look to the seams.  Bring your eye back to the midline of the item.  Look for the vertical "threads" to mark the lengthwise grain.  Use a hand needle having a contrast color thread to define the cross grain.  Where the length wise grain & cross wise grain are at right angles to each other is the bias point. 

    Now, if the item is a knit, the same URL will give you info on the fabric being made from "loops."  You'd need to study your piece to "mark" a line of loops.

    Feel free to get back if something in the above needs clarification.


    ETA - to correct typos.  If i've missed any - chalk it up to my being unable to scroll back.  :-)'s

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #2

    Finding the Grain

    In addition to the fine guide from Palady, I would add a little note from the wiisdom of a great teacher, Suzanne Stern.  " You must not only look at your garment, you must SEE it!"  She taught us to see our fabrics as a collection of threads and identify each thread as an individual, if you will!  Once you can really see the weave of the cloth, then you can determine the lengthwise and crosswise grain fairly easily with a simple test.  The lengthwise grain has no stretch, the crosswise grain will have a modest stretch, and the bias (a 45 degree angle across the grains) will stretch considerably. 

    1. User avater
      JunkQueen | | #3

      That is a fine site Palady directed us to.  I will book mark it when I get home to my own computer.   ArtfulE -- the way you described is the way I was taught as a young girl, and it just becomes second nature as you sutdy the fabric.

      By the way, I'm not to far south of you right now and will be for the next week.  I've searched the internet looking for interesting fabric shops in San Antonio, San Marcos, and Austin, hoping to satisfy my lust for feeling and smelling racks and racks of fabric.  I've not found anything that just calls to me yet.  Do you have any suggestions?

      1. User avater
        artfulenterprises | | #4

        Fabric Shops in Texas

        Wish I could give you a long list JunkQueen!  But, I'm a relative newbie in the Austin area.  So far, I've found Silk Road in Austin, tiny shop but delicious fabrics...she has an online store as well;  a large home decor shop in Round Rock, and a really fancy Joann Fabrics (also in Round Rock off University Ave.) with a large, new store, motorized shopping carts for those of us with bad knees, lots of floral, crafts, notions galore, etc, but so far as I can see, pretty much the regular assortments of fabrics. Nice but nothing spectacular.  I hear tell all the really great shops are in Dallas....but I've not been there yet, so can't speak to that.  So sorry!

        1. User avater
          JunkQueen | | #5

          Thanks anyway

          I appreciate your taking the time to reply.   Silk Road sounds interesting, so I may venture up that way towards the end of the week.  Meantime, my girlfiriend and I are going to shop 'til we drop in San Antonio and then San Marcos before she leaves for the coast Wednesday or Thursday.  There are a couple of good fabric shops in Houston, which is where I'm headed in a couple of weeks.  I hear good things about Dallas just as you do, so that may be something I do soon.  So much to do, so little time......  

          1. barbsewandsew | | #7

            Houston Fabrics

            When in Houston don't miss High Fashion Fabric downtown and Sew Contempo.

          2. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #8

            I have put them on my list.  Thank you so much!  Will be there soon....

  3. barbsewandsew | | #6


    Could you tell me how to find that Kenneth King video ? Barbara

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