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Thread: question on straight-of-grain

  1. #1
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    question on straight-of-grain

    I have a piece of fabric that I needed to cut into a fairly large rectangle: 38.5 " x 57.5". I snipped into one selvage and tore across the WOF. Then I measured down to about 60" and snipped and tore again. Then I lined up the selvages to fold the fabric flat, and my tear lines were not at all lined up--at least an inch off. Why is that? Why wouldn't they be perfectly straight since the tear is on the straight-of-grain and so are the selvages?

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    They would be, if the fabric were straight. Often it's out of kilter and needs to be gently stretched back. We learned to do this when I was a kid learning to sew in home ec class. This article tells what is happening and how to fix it - not aimed at quilters, but it's still fabric. http://www.american-doll-outfitters.com/grain_line.html

    hah- forgot to post the link the first time. Thank goodness for the ability to edit posts.
    Last edited by dunster; 02-28-2012 at 07:11 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    They would be, if the fabric were straight. Often it's out of kilter and needs to be gently stretched back. We learned to do this when I was a kid learning to sew in home ec class. This article tells what is happening and how to fix it - not aimed at quilters, but it's still fabric.

    I don't see the link to the article--could you please post it? Thanks!

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    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    Went to the site and got totally engrossed in reading...very interesting. Not only for identifying Straight of Grain on fabric but just to read about the dolls!! Another great site!!

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    Super Member Pickles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    They would be, if the fabric were straight. Often it's out of kilter and needs to be gently stretched back. We learned to do this when I was a kid learning to sew in home ec class. This article tells what is happening and how to fix it - not aimed at quilters, but it's still fabric. http://www.american-doll-outfitters.com/grain_line.html

    hah- forgot to post the link the first time. Thank goodness for the ability to edit posts.
    Thank you Dunster for that link ,it really helps as I needed to know some of that also.

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    Senior Member lvaughan's Avatar
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    I wanted to know the answer to this also. I always thought that tearing would give a true straight on the grain. Most of the fabrics do come out straight and then some would be crooked. I was very confused when this happened. Will need to read the article. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    Great information.....I've saved for future reference. Thanks!
    Linda

  8. #8
    Member jeemmerling621's Avatar
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    You said you tore WOF? If so, that may be the problem. Straight tears sometimes come from tearing selvage to selvage or WOF, but tearing along the selvage or length of fabric (LOF) will always produce a straight tear. Does this help?

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    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    This is a very useful article, and it answered my question completely. I stretched the fabric a bit pressing it until it all lined up. I feel much better about it now, and I thought the info about how the fabric drapes was so interesting.
    I can always count on this board!
    Thanks Dunster!

  10. #10
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeemmerling621 View Post
    You said you tore WOF? If so, that may be the problem. Straight tears sometimes come from tearing selvage to selvage or WOF, but tearing along the selvage or length of fabric (LOF) will always produce a straight tear. Does this help?
    It seems to me that tearing either WOF or LOF should always be straight, but sometimes, because the fabric has stretched, it seems not to be. I think that's what happened in this case, and my additional stretching made it OK.

  11. #11
    Member jeemmerling621's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carol45 View Post
    It seems to me that tearing either WOF or LOF should always be straight, but sometimes, because the fabric has stretched, it seems not to be. I think that's what happened in this case, and my additional stretching made it OK.

    It's because of the grain of fabric. WOF is stretchier than LOF. this is because of the way the fabric is woven on the loom. The LOF grain is woven more tightly, therefore having less give and stretch.

  12. #12
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    Good article-thanks, Dunster. I was taught to simply wash, iron, then put selvedge to selvedge, and slightly move them left or right until there are no wrinkles to the fold line. Then, cut off an end and begin rotary cutting what I need. I find doing this starts off ok, but I still have to do that a couple times if I am cutting several strips. Would you still have to periodically even the grain doing it the stretching method?

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    What I hate is when I get sucked into buying a fabric panel because it's so cute. Then you try to trim it or add borders and find it's printed crooked. I've blocked and steamed but sometimes there is no way to get it re-squared. The last one I had trouble with I finally cut off the printed border back to the white background colour and added more borders after it was squared. I try to restrain myself from looking at the panels at my LQS because the're so darn tempting.

  14. #14
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    Sometimes the fabric is made so poorly there is no way to fix the straight of grain because it was never straight. Don't find that so much anymore but 20 years ago it was common. So after trying all the tricks, if it still isn't working it could be this.

    Quote Originally Posted by carol45 View Post
    It seems to me that tearing either WOF or LOF should always be straight, but sometimes, because the fabric has stretched, it seems not to be. I think that's what happened in this case, and my additional stretching made it OK.
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

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    Great explanations!
    SueDor

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