To achieve the best results with any project made on sewing machines like the Janome MC12000, there is some basic machine and fabric information that should be known. Understanding fabric grain is one such topic. The grainline is an essential consideration for all projects, especially clothing. Before cutting a single pattern piece for stitching with Janome sewing machines, learn what the grainline is and how it affects fabric fall and fit.

What Is the Fabric Grainline?

The grainline of any fabric is the direction in which the threads are woven to create it. There are three grainlines:  lengthwise, crosswise, and bias. The straight or lengthwise grain, which is also known as the warp, runs parallel to the finished selvage edge of the fabric. The crosswise grain, sometimes called the weft, runs across the fabric from selvage to selvage. Lengthwise threads are woven perpendicularly to crosswise threads. The bias grain is the 45-degree angle between the two.

Why the Grainline Matters

Although it seems easy to cut out a pattern wherever the pieces fit on the fabric, doing so could cause problems when sewing with machines such as the Janome MC12000. Ignoring the direction of the woven threads can affect the lay and stretch of the garment because of the way in which the various grainlines act. The preferred way to cut main project pieces is with the lengthwise grain as the fabric will generally not stretch or become misshapen during stitching with Janome sewing machines. Patterns like stripes and repeated designs are woven into the cloth lengthwise as well. When using patterned fabrics, this needs to be carefully considered in order to correctly match the designs at the seams for the best look after stitching.

Material cut on the bias can stretch, as the thread weave is not straight in either direction. Stretch in the fabric may be desirable with some projects; however, it can create problems with others. When the fabric is cut on the bias, the potential for added stretch must be considered and special techniques like staystitching must be used to prevent unwanted stretch.

Cutting According to the Grainline

Most patterns require that pieces be cut so that the lengthwise threads run vertically through the various pieces. When laying out pattern pieces on the material, they should always be situated so the warp runs up and down unless indicated otherwise by directional arrows printed on the paper. Cutting all pattern pieces along the warp may mean using more fabric; however, cutting along the warp will achieve more favorable results in the finished product. The lay of the fabric, as well as how the garment will fit and stretch, can be more easily anticipated when working with the straight grain - and finding the grainline only requires finding the fabric's two selvage edges.

Before cutting out any pattern pieces, be sure to understand the importance of the grainline and how to find it on a piece of fabric. Cutting without considering the grainline could mean fabric waste as well as less than desirable results after sewing the project on Janome sewing machines like the Janome MC12000. When starting out on any sewing project, check the pattern directions first, then lay the pieces out accordingly on the fabric. Paying attention to this important detail ensures the garment will look the way it should and there will be no surprises later!

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