Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Basic Fabric Terminology


I hate pictureless post.. My curvy clutch, pattern from KeykaLou

I am new to sewing, and I hardly sew anything wearable, so my usual style of cutting fabric for my crafts doesn't take into count anything much except for the direction of the prints (if it has any direction to it).

I stumbled upon Liesl Gibson (who designs popular Oliver + S line of sewing patterns for children’s clothing) who is now blogging at Burdastyle. For her first post, she writes about the basics - terminologies.. So, this is more for ME.

 Selvedge, or selvage: The narrow finished lengthwise edges of a woven fabric, usually ¼” to ½” wide, that are often more tightly woven than the rest of the fabric. (This prevents the fabric from tearing when it is finished at the mill.) Because the selvedges constructed differently than the rest of the fabric, they may shrink at a different rate than the rest of the fabric when washed. Selvedges should generally be removed before sewing.


Warp: The yarns in a fabric that run parallel to the selvedge are called the warp. These are the fabric’s foundation yarns and are wound onto the loom before the fabric is woven. Warp yarns are usually the strongest yarns. Your fabric will drape nicely if you cut and sew so that the warp hangs perpendicular to the floor when the garment is finished.

Weft: The yarns that run across the fabric, from selvedge to selvedge. These are the secondary yarns of the fabric, or the fill yarns. These yarns are not as strong as the warp yarns and often have a little stretch or give in them, even when a fabric is not a stretch fabric.

Grain: Grain refers to the direction in which the yarns, or threads, are woven in a fabric. The fabric’s grain runs both lengthwise (parallel to the selvedges) and widthwise (perpendicular to the selvedges). The lengthwise grain (the warp yarn) is called the straight grain, while the widthwise grain (the weft yarn) is called the cross grain.

Bias: Any diagonal line that doesn’t run directly on grain (warp or weft) is referred to as being on bias or off grain. Fabric cut on bias has more stretch and drape than fabric cut on the straight or cross grain, but bias can distort or twist if not cut on true bias because woven fabrics stretch most at a 45 degree angle to the warp and weft (“true bias”).

True bias: A 45 degree angle to the warp and weft threads. True bias has lots of stretch and drape and conforms nicely to contours because the yarns can bend and shift with the weight of the fabric.

- by Liesl Gibson extracted from here.

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2 comments:

Nuno Lady said...

very informative but unfortunately we do not have a malay term for those words? (I guess) except for the grain=ira kain. This is important especially if you want to make a shirt because you may look fat or thin base on the way you cut the fabric.. Cutting is the most critical part ;) to me..

My Botang said...

rasanya sure ada Malay terms Fit, cuma I yg tak tau.. :D

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