Learning to Grain Fabric

Graining fabric. I had heard it before, but never really quite “got it” and, it never seemed to matter. That was until I sewed Vogue 1250 last summer.

I swear, EVERYONE who reviews this pattern has great things to say about it – it’s easy, fast, looks great on everyone, what not to like?!

So, I decided to go for it too.

IMG_2228 IMG_2229

It was my first time sewing with an ITY knit and my dress turned out pretty well (although I’m not that wild about the fabric design).  But, as I’ve come to realize – this was simply “luck of the draw”.

Buoyed by my success with this first one, I thought I’d “whip up” another in a beautiful slate/navy blue matte jersey – a more classic  look than the ITY “pink paint splatters”! Well, I’m sorry I don’t have it to show here – it was a mess and I threw it away! I didn’t really know what I had done wrong, but it was awful – it hung all wrong.

Then I found Sarah Veblen’s class Sewing With Slippery & Drapey Fabrics. I highly recommend this class and will definitely take more of Sarah’s classes. She has a great teaching style, is incredibly responsive with any questions and, like all online classes at PatternReview.com, you can go back and watch it (or any part) any time you want!

Is it an overstatement to say it changed my (sewing) life? I don’t think so! I learned so much from this class, it really helped me improve my sewing by leaps and bounds. I learned to be (MUCH) more patient, use lots of pins, take the time to test just about everything on scraps first, and yes, how to grain your fabric and why it’s important. I realize that was the problem with my “blue” Vogue 1250.

So, as I was preparing to lay out my fabric for my “Fearless February” Vogue 8825 project, properly graining my fabric was top of mind.

Here’s an example of the fabric before and after graining:



See all the “ripples”? This fabric is “off grain” and those “ripples” are what you need to get rid of before you attempt to lay out your pattern pieces. (Just laying it down and smoothing it out any old way DOES NOT do the trick!) For knits, here’s what I learned:

    1. Hold the fabric in front of you folded with selvage edges together.
    2. If you see “ripples” like you do in the above pic, you simply “walk” the fabric with your hands – one side to the left and the other to the right until the wrinkles go away and the fabric hangs straight.
    3. That’s it! Lay the fabric down, keeping selvage edges together, and gently smooth until it’s flat.


Ta Da! “Ripple” free (those little bits you see are really just because of how I was holding the fabric).

I never appreciated what a critical task this is, or how to do it, but now I can say “I get it!” Believe me, I have MUCH more to learn, but at least I can cross this off my list.

So easy and makes such a difference – thank you, Sarah!


One response to “Learning to Grain Fabric

  1. Pingback: Learning to Sew With Knits + Butterick 5546 | Return To Sewing·

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