‘How To’ Get Started with Sewing: Determine the Construction of Fabric


Hello everyone, it’s Corrine. Today, I am doing a short video, regarding the construction of fabric. Namely, regarding the selvedge, crosswise, lengthwise, bias of the fabric. What are those terms? Where can you find them on the fabric? When might you use them?


This part of the fabric is known as the selvedge. It is the bound part of the fabric and as you can see, it doesn’t fray like the other sides of the fabric do when they are cut. This is known as the selvedge. The selvedges run on the left and right side of the fabric and they run lengthwise. Knowing what and where the selvedges are can help you to determine what is the crossgrain and what is the lengthwise of the fabric. So that you know how to cut it when using a pattern, or cutting fabric to make a garment, or an accessory, or whatever your project might be. Ordinarily, when you purchase some fabric, you will have at least one selvedge on the piece of fabric. Between the selvedges, the amount of space, or the measurement rather, between the selvedges is known as the width of fabric and you will see it written as ‘WOF’, width of fabric. That will tell you what the width of your fabric is; the measurement between both selvedges. Sometimes, you will only get one selvedge and that might be because you’ve purchased a fat quarter. This piece of fabric I’m using is a fat quarter, so it only has one selvedge, which is one bound edge.


So lengthwise, also known as the straight of grain, or the warp of the fabric, runs along the selvedge. So, remember I said that there are two selvedges on a piece of fabric, on the left and the right, and the selvedges run lengthwise and they are parallel to the selvedge. So, lengthwise, or straight of grain, or warp, runs parallel to the selvedge.


The measurement between both selvedges will give you the width of fabric. So, the amount of space, or the measurement between the selvedge on the right and the selvedge on the left will give you the width of fabric. Otherwise known as the crossgrain, so the cross grain runs between the selvedge on the right and the left of the fabric. It’s known as the crossgrain. It can also be called crosswise or weft. So, the crossgrain, the length of the crossgrain between the right and the left selvedge will determine what the width of the fabric you are working with is. Whereas, the lengthwise, or straight of grain, also known as the warp, runs parallel to the selvedge and its measurement will tell you what the length of your fabric is. So, the best way to remember is that the lengthwise, or straight of grain or warp runs parallel to the selvedge, which is your bound edge, which will tell you the length of your fabric. The crossgrain, also known as crosswise, or the weft, runs between the left and right of the selvedge and gives you the width of your fabric, and it’s perpendicular to your selvedges.


The bias of the fabric runs at a 45 degree angle between the lengthwise, also known as straight of grain, and the crossgrain, also known as the weft, or crosswise of the fabric. Your bias runs at a 45 degree angle on your fabric. Now, let me just point out that I have drawn these lines in order to make it easier for you to visually see the parts of the fabric that I’m talking about. I haven’t drawn 45 degrees of accuracy but it’s just to let you know exactly what you are working with, so that is the bias of the fabric. You will find that at the bias, so if you held the fabric at a 45 degree angle at both ends and pulled, there would be a stretch for your bias and that’s how you can determine where your bias is as well. You can just give the fabric a slight tug and there will be a stretch in the fabric.


These are terminologies that you will come across. Particularly if you are using a pattern in order to sew. Whether that be a garment, or an accessory of some sort. In the instructions, they will refer to this terminology and that is exactly what it means. It’ll help you to determine how you should place your pattern pieces on your fabric and how you should cut your fabric in order to make sure that the project you’re making is going to be as fantastic as it possibly can be, and will look as intended. I hope that this has been informative. If you have any extra questions, please do leave a comment and I will be happy to answer those questions for you.

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