Lazy Tips for Sewing Knits: Finding the Grainline

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Oh knits, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: 

  • comfy
  • cheap
  • easy to fit
  • endless prints and fibres
  • fast and easy to sew! 

I’ve blogged about countless knit tees, tanks, dresses, leggings and skirts, so I thought it might be more interested to start talking about my process. Watching other sewists on TV or in person always reminds me just how differently we handle the business end of sewing, from cutting to pinning to sewing to following instructions! 

So here’s my second lazy tip for sewing knits: Finding the Grainline!

grainline


On knits, the grainline is easy to see. The little v stitches on the right side make columns, just like on a knitted sweater. 

grainline straight

To fold my fabric on the grainline, I never match the selvedge edges. As I talk about last time, the selvedges can go wonky, and they aren’t reliably straight or parallel. Instead, I pinch roughly where I want to fold the fabric with both hands, and check the grainline. If the lines go straight down the fold, like above, then I’ve got the grainline. 

grainline crooked

If the lines go diagonally off the fold, like this, then I need to shift the fold  until they are straight. grainline ready to cut

Once I’ve got the grainline, I lay it down on the table and fold the rest of the fabric length. 

Seriously, maybe that’s too obvious to even be a tip? I’m pretty relaxed about finding the grainline before cutting of folding the fabric… As long as you are close, I really don’t find that it affects the finished garment much. Getting it roughly lined up is good enough, unless you have stripes or a symmetrical pattern to deal with! 

(Don’t go cutting things cross grain though – the direction of stretch matters! Ask me how I know…)

How do you find the grainline for knits? 


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