Fabric grain is an important topic for anyone who sews, since it can affect how the garment or other project turns out in a number of ways. Ideally, anyone who sews on Janome sewing machines should understand about the fabric grain; including how to find it, cut it, and sew with it for the best results. Whether using the Janome 2212 or any other type of sewing machine, these helpful tips on finding and fixing the grain will help.

What Is Fabric Grain?

The fabric grain is the direction in which a fabric has been woven. The reason fabric grain is important is because the grain prevents the fabric from stretching out of shape and also helps maintain pattern uniformity so that the design lines up properly from cut to cut. Fabric is normally produced in large sections that have finished edges or selvage at the sides to keep the fabric from unraveling. When purchased off bolts, the grain of the fabric runs parallel to the selvage.

Different Fabric Grains

There are three different types of fabric grain as follows:

  1. Main Grain - This is the grain that runs lengthwise and is also called the warp grain. These are the threads that run parallel to the selvage.
  2. Weft Grain - This is the grain that runs the width of the fabric, crosswise from the main grain. These threads run parallel to the cut edge or perpendicular to the selvage.
  3. Bias - This is not actually a grain, but rather the fabric at a 45 degree angle from the warp or the weft. Fabric cut on the bias tends to stretch and have more give than warp or weft cut fabric. It also may not line up with the rest of the pattern if fabric is cut and sewn along the main grain.

How To Find The Fabric Grain

Before measuring or cutting any fabric for a project being made by using Janome or any other sewing machines, it is necessary to establish which direction the grain travels. This can be easily done by laying the fabric right side up on a flat surface, picking a thread from one side of the selvage, then pulling it out all the way across the cut edge to the selvage on the other side. This removed thread marks the straight, crosswise grain that is perpendicular to the lengthwise grain. Trim off everything before the pulled thread to create a clean, straight edge. When folded selvage to selvage, the fabric should be nice and straight.

How to Fix the Grain On Warped Fabric

When fabric does not line up in a nice, straight line when folded after pulling the crosswise thread and trimming the edge, it is necessary to straighten the grain. This can be done by either folding the fabric selvage to selvage and then ironing it flat, or by pulling on the corners to stretch the fabric back into shape, then ironing. In either case, it is important to get the fabric straight when folded so that all cuts can be made on the grain and the fabric sewn together properly.

Creating beautiful garments with sewing machines like the Janome 2212 can be very rewarding; however, when problems relating to the grain occur, it can be very frustrating. The best way to avoid these problems is to understand the fabric grain, how it affects various fabrics, how to find it, and the best way correct any problems with the grain. When this is done, garments made on Janome sewing machines such as the Janome 2212will turn out with uniform patterns, the right amount of stretch, and proper hang to the fabric!

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