Monday, August 12, 2013

Matte Stripes on the Crossgrain

Not the greatest picture, sorry about that. This is the fabulous fabric I bought a few weeks ago. A stronger stretch cotton-poly with matte stripes. I love it and bought it immediately. The problem is the stripes are on the cross-grain. I want to make pants with them and believe me, I don't need stripes going horizontally around my body. So I've been looking into cutting these pants on the cross-grain....

The Problem (I posted this on patternreview...)

I bought some cotton-poly blend fabric that has a bit of stretch because I loved the colour and the matte monochromatic stripes on it. I want to make pants. What I didn't realize until I got home was that the stripes are on the cross-grain, going from selvage to selvage. What do I do? Can I cut pants on the cross-grain. What are the pros and cons of this? Any advice is appreciated.

I really have no experience with cutting on the cross-grain. (Although I have lots of experience for cutting off-grain. I went about a year in high school when I just didn't care/believe that cutting on grain was that important!)


Crash course on grain (from Threads)
Grain is the direction of a fabric's yarns in a woven fabric: lengthwise and crosswise. In knit fabrics, the yarns interloop, so the following don't apply.
Lengthwise Lengthwise grain is commonly referred to as "grain" or "straight grain" on commercial patterns. It's marked by an arrow on the pattern piece, indicating the direction in which the pattern should be placed on the fabric. Lengthwise grain lies parallel to the selvages and has little or no stretch. Therefore, in most garments, lengthwise grain runs perpendicular to the ground.

Crosswise Crosswise grain, also called "cross-grain," is made from the yarns woven over and under the lengthwise yarns at a 90-degree angle. Crosswise grain has more stretch than lengthwise grain, thanks to the over/under weaving, which naturally provides less tension. In most garments, crosswise grain runs around the body, parallel to the floor.

Bias—not technically a grain refers to any line diagonal to the lengthwise and crosswise grains. "True bias" is a cut made on an angle 45 degrees to the selvage. It has the most stretch and gives fabric a flowing drape over the body. Because of the inherent elasticity of bias, it requires special care in cutting and sewing to utilize the stretch without distorting the fabric.


That because the greatest stretch was lengthwise it would actually work out if I cut the pattern on the cross-grain because you want the greatest area of stretch to go around the body.

Did You Know: 

  • A lot of couture sewing has waistbands cut on the cross-grain?
  • Kwik Sew patterns often give a choice of cutting waistbands on the length-wise or cross-wise grain?
  • Border prints are understood to be made for cutting on the cross-wise grain?

What I have to think about:

Lengthwise is better for stretch (even the little bit that is built in with the weaving), for strength and general drape-ability. But that doesn't mean you can't cut on the cross-wise grain. It's just always a toss up.


  1. I'm looking forward to the big reveal...I hope it turns out as you hoped.

  2. I've done it loads of times and there has never been a problem. I say charge ahead.



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