Straightening Fabric Grain

Straightening Fabric Grain

I took my first home economics class when I was in 7th grade. It was mandatory for all FEMALES. Boys couldn’t even take the class. (Yes, back in the Dark Ages!) Eventually, I would earn a degree in Human Ecology from Michigan State University, but back in 7th grade, I got my first exposure to many domestic skills from this exceedingly old and old fashioned teacher… she was probably, oh, 50. Here name was Mrs. Milliche. Mrs. Milliche was a stickler for details. Before we could touch fabric, we spent a week (a full week… 5 hours, count them!!!) sewing the lines on loose-leaf paper, without thread, just to make sure we perfected the straight line.  

Then, before we could start our first sewing project, we had to learn how to straighten the grain of our fabric. What? You’ve never heard of straightening the grain of your fabric. Well, it’s high time you learned grasshopper!  On woven fabrics, the warp threads in the lengthwise grain are stretched on a loom. The weft threads in the crosswise grain are then woven back and forth the length of the warp threads. In a perfect world, these should be perpendicular to one another. This is called on-grain. If they are not perpendicular to one another, it is called off-grain, and it can cause completed projects to stretch out of shape or natural fringed edges to be uneven. 

So, like it or not, I need to send Mrs. Milliche a belated “thank you”. Knowing how to straighten grain has proved useful over the years. I needed to straighten the grain of the Rip and Tear Napkins I made last week. And I have a project I will be sharing in a couple days, which will require a true straight edge which you will learn to do in the Straightening the Grain tutorial found HERE. Enjoy… or at least appreciate it for what it is!!!



  1. OMG! For a second, I thought you were in my 7th-grade HomeEc class! I had precisely the same experience…except my OLD teacher was named Miss Hankins, and she was probably closer to 30. (But, pitiably, an Old Maid.) I realized exactly how old I’ve become when my son-in-law went to work for a fabric store, and I voiced a stupid assumption about his needing to learn the basics of fabric and sewing, and he gently noted that he’d acquired that knowledge in his HomeEc sewing class. To give the balanced view, however, I’ll note that I’m still afraid of power tools because girls were not allowed in Industrial Arts (shop class). *sigh*

  2. WOW! Impressive tutorial. You really sound professional. I never thought much about grains but I know I’ll be thinking about them now. I’m going to blog about this site. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *