A Bit About Grain and Bias

Fabric grain is a basic nugget of information that is good to know about before you cut out your fabric.

In the photo to the left, the grains on the woven fabric sample are labeled for your reference.

The selvages are the edges that run along both side lengths of the fabric. It’s a tightly woven edge that  usually does not fray.

The lengthwise grain is parallel to the selvage. It is often referred to as the “straight grain” on patterns.

The crosswise grain is perpendicular to the lengthwise grain. The crosswise grain threads run from selvage to selvage.

The bias of the fabric is a 45 degree angle from the lengthwise grain. Fabric has a slight stretch on the bias. Although the bias is not a grain, using it as the grain guide can create a special finish for a creative project, such as our appliqué patch and quickie mini party flags.

The photo to the left demonstrates an easy way to establish the bias of the fabric. Fold the lengthwise grain to the crosswise grain. The fold edge is the 45 degree angle that indicates the bias direction.

This photo demonstrates using a grain guide when laying out a pattern on the straight of grain (top heart) or the bias (bottom heart).



Alternatively  you can make a grain guide on a pattern for a bias cut by marking a 45 degree angle from at a straight grain line.

Cut out the fabric using that guide as your lengthwise grain. As you can see the sides of the shape will be cut on the bias.