Fabric knowledge : Twills

What I learned today – contributed by Sheryl Belson 

There are many things I love about being a part of the American Sewing Guild.  I was reminded of one of them just today.  In the Sewing With a Plan meeting we focused on incorporating more denim into our wardrobe.  When it was my turn to show my project idea I told the group that I was having a horrible time trying to get the fabric on grain.  I had ripped the ends to get a square edge and tried for almost 2 hours to get the selvage and ripped ends to align while maintaining a smooth edge on the fold.  NO LUCK!!


One person in the group said she didn’t think my fabric could be put on grain that way.  She said since it is woven in a diagonal manner, it will never square the way I was trying to square it.  We did some quick searches on Google looking for confirmation and found this on the Pattern Review website referencing Leigh’s fiber journal :

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.

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 meet (or are parallel) and there are no wrinkles at the foldline and no wrinkles anywhere else. The cut edges will not line up, and that’s OK. Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric with the straight grain arrows parallel to either the selvedges or the smooth foldline.

So now I know and so do you. What a relief  and what a blessing to have sewing friends and sewing internet resources to help me!

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One thought on “Fabric knowledge : Twills”

  1. Sheryl, I could have used help with that problem weeks ago. I’m making an Easter banner for my Church. My biggest problem when making banners has always been getting that 2 yards of 60″ satiny fabric to be straight top & bottom. For this Easter banner, I bought 2 yds. but I bet I’ve cut away a half a yard just trying to get it straight. I’m happy with it now, but really would like to know how to go about this when I don’t have a cutting table to lay out the whole piece at once. I googled it and got tips but none of them worked for me. I’ll have a picture of it to share next month.

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