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How to Straighten Fabric Grain

Threads #184, April/May 2016

Evamarie Gomez and Carol Fresia; Videographers: Gary Junken and Jeff Roos

Before you cut fabric for a garment, it’s important to ascertain that the fabric’s grain is straight. That means the fabric’s warp (lengthwise) yarns are perpendicular to weft (crosswise) yarns. During the manufacturing and finishing processes, textiles can be pulled off-grain. It’s important to remedy this before cutting. Otherwise, your garment may be off-grain, and it will twist, hang unevenly, bunch, or ripple. See how to straighten a fabric’s grain in this video, so you can prep your fabrics correctly for great sewing results.

Find out more in “Prepare Fabric Properly” by Daryl Lancaster from Threads #184 (April/May 2016).

Previous: Prepare Fabric Properly Next: Go with the Grain – Sewing Woven Fabrics


  1. ZakFerdie | | #1

    Really good advice right there, thank you Threads Magazine!

  2. HollyJo | | #2

    I love your videos. Really well edited and informative.

  3. tpmike | | #3

    Very helpful video, i really like this

  4. User avater
    Jessicakeith | | #4

    good morning friends.. this is very nice information .. thanks for sharing this...

  5. user-2615058 | | #5

    at the end of the video, you state that now is the time to preshrink the fabric before cutting. I have always done my prewashing/preshrinking before straightening the grain - does this matter?

  6. User avater
    Sewfunnytroy | | #6

    This is real good information, but sometimes harder to do than stated.


  7. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #7

    Good, clear instructions. I always preshrink first.

  8. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #8

    If these instructions don't seem easy, or don't work at all, your fabric most likely cannot be straightened. I would return a cut like this for a refund.

  9. User avater
    [email protected] | | #9

    The article goes on to explain that I save the small piece from the end after straightening to check for color fastness before pre-shrinking. Often I run across a fabric that has a serious skew, once I had one that was off by 10"! Knowing this before pre-shrinking helps, skews this severe can be corrected when the fabric is still wet. I always straighten first and then pre-shrink.

  10. phyllisfreeman | | #10

    Why am I not able to watch this video? Have you removed it?

  11. User avater
    CFields | | #11

    If you don't have someone to help pull the short ends, you can stand on one short end and pull the other as far as you can. If the fabric is still too long, stand on an edge that is about the same distance from the end as the fabric is wide so that you're working with a section that's about square. Pull, then move along to the next square section.

  12. Motard | | #12

    Good advice and nice video, thank you and continue please :) !!

  13. femininepersonae | | #13

    EXCELLENT post. Thanks!

  14. User avater
    RubeRue | | #14

    I loved the council.

  15. user-7223589 | | #15

    I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to square up twill and denim fabrics that have a diagonal grain. Can anyone offer any insight?

  16. christineshort | | #16

    I have had real problems trying to straighten grain on fabrics, even following the really clear advice from Daryl. It never seems to work despite applying huge force when pulling diagonally. Is there anything else that can be done? Fabric shops generally seem to deny that this problem exists. Am I alone in this struggle?!

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