Grain and its importance in clothing construction


Grain and its importance in clothing construction

Grain is the direction of the yarns in a fabric. Grain can be lengthwise grain, crosswise grain, and bias. Grain is very important when constructing garments since it determines how a garment will hang, fit and appear. All fabrics that are made up of yarns have grain or direction. Technically, the term grain only refers to woven fabric while the term direction is frequently used with knit fabrics.

All fabrics made from yarns are ‘grain perfect’ after knitting and weaving. Looms and knitting machines construct fabrics in a grain perfect manner. However, a fabric can become off-grain during the processes of finishing (dyeing, printing, permanent finishing, and/or packaging, winding onto a bolt). Garments that are not cut and sewn according to the fabric grain can stretch in places they should not, have sagging hems and be uncomfortable to wear. Patterns are specifically designed with grain in mind so that the body can take advantage of the amount of stretch or lack of give in the fabric.

  1. Woven Fabric

    The lengthwise yarns (sometimes called the warp) run parallel to the selvage edge of the fabric. They are usually more tightly twisted, stronger, and more stable than the crosswise yarns.

  2. Selvage – the firm edge along the lengthwise direction of a woven fabric.

    The crosswise yarns (sometimes called the woof, weft, or filling) are perpendicular, or at right angles to the selvage. They are woven under and over one or more yarns to create the fabric. These yarns are usually somewhat more loosely twisted and weaker than the lengthwise yarns.

  3. Bias is any diagonal direction on a fabric. The fabric will ‘give’ or stretch.

  4. True bias is the 45-degree angle or middle between the crosswise and lengthwise grain. Fold the fabric so lengthwise and crosswise yarns lie on top of and parallel to each other. This is where a woven fabric will have the greatest stretch. True bias is used for bindings, facings, pipings, folds, cords etc. It equally severs both warp and woof threads.

  5. On grain print is a fabric wherein the prints on both the crosswise and lengthwise yarns run at right angles. This kind of fabric has perfect right-angled corners and is said to be ‘grain perfect’.

  6. Off grain print is a fabric which does not show perfect right-angled corners and the lengthwise and crosswise lines/print does not run at right angles. Such kind of off-grain printed fabrics are difficult to sew because it is impossible to match the seam lines, at centre front, at centre back and at shoulders.

  7. With the grain When the edges of yarns along a bias cut edge tends to close up compactly when stroked with fingers, it is referred as with the grain. While working with a bias edge, it is better to work with the grain to avoid stretching or raveling.

  8. Against the grain When the edges of yarns along a bias cut edge tends to fray or come apart when stroked with fingers, it is referred as against the grain.

  9. Garment Bias Any slanting line or cut in a garment that is not at 45 degree angle is referred to as garment bias. Basically a bias cut in cloth is a slanting or diagonal severing of the material. Both warp and woof threads will be cut.

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Last modified: Wednesday, 16 November 2011, 5:48 AM