Author Topic: Off grain fabric - what to do?  (Read 3868 times)

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Offline babydoll

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Off grain fabric - what to do?
« on: July 10, 2011, 02:09:41 PM »
Hello,

Does anyone know what to do to straighten off grain fabric?   I bought 1 yard of twill weave denim for a knee length A line skirt to wear to do housework and gardening jobs.   

I noticed that the selvages weren't even before washing the fabric,  prior to cutting out,  but hoped that it would come good after washing.  But no and  after first pulling threads and cutting along the gap and then when that didn't work tearing the end to try to straighten it it is still stubbornly just as it was before it went into the washing machine.  In desperation I have just had my son help pull/stretch the fabric from corner to corner to try to stretch the grain straight but now the selvage is even further out of line than previously.   

The denim wasn't cheap and i was hoping for better.  I paid more because I have had a run - the last three sewing projects stalled, of off grain fabric.  The other two fabrics were houndstooth wools bought to make straight winter skirts.  The houndstooth pattern on one formed  waves/ripples as it went across from selvage to selvage.   Does anyone know if it is possible to do anything about this?

I am getting fed up of  buying fabric that subsequently turns out to be very difficult if not impossible to use.   All my books. apart from Kathleen Fascenelia's,  and google searches talk as if straightening the grain is straightforward and 100% successful.   Kathleen's book says to just discard small amounts of off grain fabric for home sewing so perhaps it isn't so easy after all.   In addition I am concerned that if the fabric memory is permanently skewed then it will return to its offgrain appearance after the first wash/laundry. 

What does anyone else think as I can't decide what to do:  throw the fabric out, sew it up notwithstanding  or does anyone here know of a way to straighten the grain?

Ruth

Offline Karen Roth

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 02:49:30 PM »
I remember 7th grade home ec being taught how to pull fabric back on grain.
Later in life I learned once and for all that off grain is forever.  At least most all of the time.  This is one of the reasons I prewash everything right away even if I know the fabric's going to sit awhile (days... weeks... years...  ;D ::)) before use -- if it's way off grain it's simply unusable for a garment, if you straighten it it's going to go right back off when washed, so I'd just as soon return it as defective right away.  Can't do this if you've stashed it for awhile.  I had a purchased knit top several years ago that always, no matter how much I twisted it, would twist one side so part of the side seam showed in front. Off grain. At that point I decided I'm not investing my time in a "real" project that's never going to hang right. If you can't return it use it for fitting muslins.
One thought on the houndstooth or wools, I haven't had the grain issues on those, but I also often fuse them with a sheer knit tricot, have been using primarily that from Silhouette Patterns, and I think if you could get something back on grain you could fuse it into submission?
Karen

Offline theresa in tucson

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 03:12:43 PM »
Ruth, don't even try to true up denim.  Denim has a mind of its own and will go back to what it was before you tried to straighten it.  I have a Palmer and Pletsch DVD with Marta Alto where she is making a pair of denim pants.  The denim is off grain and she mentions that fact;  does nothing about if for the above reason; and makes up the pants!  Since you said you were going to make the skirt for around the house and for yard work  just go ahead and make it .  It is probably not going to skew any more than it already has.


Offline Elona

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 04:12:10 PM »
Twill weaves, by their very nature, don't have a 'straight grain.' Take a look at the photos at the link: Two twills surround a straight grain piece, and you can see that you cannot get a straight grain on the twill.  It is impossible to 'pull a thread' on this kind of weave:

http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com/2007/11/twills-basics.html

So,when working with twills, such as denim, you wash the fabric, and the way it comes out of the wash is the way it is going to lie forever. Therefore, you lay it out on your cutting table so that the selvedges are roughly parallel but--most important--there are no wrinkles or ripples at the foldline and no wrinkles anywhere else, either.  Ignore the cut edges: They will not line up, and that's OK. Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric with the straight grain arrows parallel to your smooth foldline.

Offline babydoll

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 07:34:40 PM »
Karen, Theresa and Elona thank you for your responses.


Karen:  …'I learned once and for all that off grain is forever.'    I have always wondered whether this was so.  And you are right this denim is from the stash as it is one year old.  The wools are 2 years old.

'One thought on the houndstooth or wools, I haven't had the grain issues on those, but I also often fuse them with a sheer knit tricot, have been using primarily that from Silhouette Patterns, and I think if you could get something back on grain you could fuse it into submission?'    This is a good idea.     It was suggested to me to try and block it as the knitters do with their knitting or when you are mounting a tapestry but before I set about doing this I wanted to ask what others thought or had done. 

Theresa:   'Denim has a mind of its own and will go back to what it was before you tried to straighten it.'  Thank  you for confirming  this is as  I wondered if this  might happen.       ' Since you said you were going to make the skirt for around the house and for yard work  just go ahead and make it '  With your encouragement this is what I will do now.

Elona:   'you can see that you cannot get a straight grain on the twill.  It is impossible to 'pull a thread' on this kind of weave':      When pulling the thread it was very difficult as it kept breaking.  I took a pin and eased free the thread end and continued pulling ,  breaking the thread and using the pin until I was about half way across. By now my back and eyes were hurting  and I could see then that the thread was just following the torn edge and so it wasn't squaring the fabric as I had hoped so I just tore across.   Thank you for linking  to your weaving blog I have enjoyed reading it and I have learned so much.

'The way it comes out of the wash is the way it is going to lie forever. Therefore, you lay it out on your cutting table so that the selvages are roughly parallel but--most important--there are no wrinkles or ripples at the foldline and no wrinkles anywhere else, either.  Ignore the cut edges: They will not line up, and that's OK. Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric with the straight grain arrows parallel to your smooth foldline.'   This is now what I am going to do but firstly I am going to launder the denim again as I have been pulling and tugging at it so it is probably ‘off’ off grain now.

Karen, Theresa and Elona thank you once more for taking to the time to help me.

Ruth

Offline Lyn-J

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Cutting out fabric that will not stay on grain.
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 09:31:52 AM »
I have a fine viscose type fabric that is very difficult to get on grain.  Once laid out, the slightest movement in the fabric will cause the grain to distort. I have tissue which I can lay under it, which will help. The cutting layout of the pattern I'm using calls for the fabric to be folded in different ways and for some of the pieces to be cut out singly, some of them are quite large.  (My nightmare combination,  :o) On the plus side I have 2 yards more than I need, as it was bought from a market.  Any suggestion as to how to deal with this would be appreciated, Many Thanks. Lyn.
Lynne

Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2012, 10:37:32 AM »
Lyn, I've merged your topic with one that is already in progress. I'll send you a PM.

In the past, I've tried several methods to straighten an off-grain fabric without much luck. It always went back to its off-grain state. My solution was to use short lengths of it and to fuse it to a lightweight fusible called AngelWeft that I purchased from www.appleanniefabrics.com. Since the stronger grain prevails, fusing the off-grain fabric to on-grain Angelweft and then proceeding with my project worked fine.

Kathryn

Online sewsy

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2012, 10:43:26 AM »
Lyn-J,

I think that using the tissue paper underneath is a really good idea. It will keep the fabric from slipping on the bottom so much, and I'd pin together the
entire "sandwich" and cut it out as one. Also, I'd start working on the folded pieces first, and then do the single layer ones. You have extra fabric to work with, which is good insurance, but I'd layout and cut as though I had just enough, in case something shifts and you find that something needs re-cutting.

Just go slowly, working with as small a section as you can, double fold things first (IMHO), using the tissue paper underlay and pin pattern tissue, fabric and bottom tissue together as one. Cut them out all together.

If you are going to be cutting out on a cutting table, don't let the excess hang over the edge, as gravity will cause the fabric to pull or shift; and even slight movement will distort the grain.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 12:20:42 PM by sewsy »

Offline Lyn-J

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2012, 11:08:04 AM »
Thanks again, Kathryn (I did look but couldn't find this topic).
Lynne

Offline Lyn-J

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 11:14:01 AM »
Thank you, sewsy
I have two cutting boards on the floor, so I can lay them side to side or end to end as needed.  I will try the sandwich method, fingers crossed.
Lynne

Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2012, 11:18:35 AM »
Thanks again, Kathryn (I did look but couldn't find this topic).

No worries, Lyn. I hope you work out a solution to your off-grain fabric problem.

Kathryn

Offline Lyn-J

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 01:37:49 PM »
sewsy - it worked - yaay !!!
this was my second dress made out of this type of fabric.  So much easier with all the tissue.
Lynne

Online sewsy

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 03:12:55 PM »
sewsy - it worked - yaay !!!
this was my second dress made out of this type of fabric.  So much easier with all the tissue.

Great!!!! I'm so glad! I can't take credit for the idea, though. I saw it demonstrated by Sandra Betzina on one of her webcasts. I'm very happy it worked out for you.  :)

Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Off grain fabric - what to do?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 05:37:06 PM »
Glad to hear that sewsy's fix worked for you, Lyn. I learned something new, thanks to you both. :)

Kathryn

 

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