Can you cut a pattern across the grain without any problems?

by Carole S.
(Glendale, AZ USA)

I have some tropical print fabric that I wanted to make into a long dress. It has a beautiful border print that runs down one side of the fabric.

I want that print at the bottom of the skirt. To do that I have to lay the pattern out across the grain of the fabric. The skirt pattern piece just fits across the fabric.

What kinds of problems will cutting across the grain cause me and how can I fix them? Why is cutting on the grain so important? I'm assuming if I cut one pattern piece across the grain it would be a good idea to cut them all across the grain.

Thanks for any information and suggestions you can provide.
Carole S.


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Jun 17, 2015
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Cutting on the Cross-grain
by: mimijoon

Hi Carole,

My, that fabric sounds so lovely. Yes, you should be able to layout the pattern on the crosswise grain. It may change the drape of the pieces just a tad, but it really won't be noticeable and will show off that border to perfection.

The reason for cutting on grain is more to avoid being weirdly off-grain, as opposed to being at a bias angle or directly on-grain. Being wildly off-grain leads to the fabric stretching into odd shapes and draping in unlovely ways.

Cutting on the cross-grain may cause the drape to be a touch less fluid, but you can see how it would look by holding the fabric by the selvage and gathering it a bit. The drape will probably not change that much!

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