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Preparing the Fabric: Straightening Fabric Techniques

Learn about the different types of fabrics and how to straighten them.   How to straighten stretch jersey, or knit fabric.

 

    Fabric may need to be straighten for two reasons:

   When purchasing fabric it should have been cut on a weft thread. 

  Once you have selected your fabric, and used the proper method for shrinking your fabric, keep in mind that fabric needs to be straightened when sewing garments.  Your fabric might not be straight most likely because it was bad cutting by the clerk, or because it could have been "twisted" or "pulled" out of line on the bolt by the manufacturer. Even though it may look like a straight cut to you, it most likely is not. If the person at the cutting counter cut a little slit in your fabric and then ripped it, then your fabric is straightened already.

   Many of times when I have new students they are curious about different aspects of sewing. But, the number one question I get asked is "Why do designers on shows like Project Runway rip their fabric?"  Well, here's why.

  To straighten woven type of fabric, like cotton and more, snip a little cut at the selvage edge and then rip or tear to the other end.  Pull thread until one long thread goes from one end of the salvage to the other.  Also for woven fabrics you could get a pin, find a thread near the cut end, and pull it until it is from one end of the salvage end to the other.

To straighten cotton fabric cut a slit in your fabric at the selvage edge and rip the fabric.

To straighten cotton fabric, cut a little slit in the fabric where the selvage edge is.

To straighten cotton fabric cut a slit in your fabric at the selvage edge and rip the fabric.

Rip the fabric.

To straighten cotton fabric cut a slit in your fabric at the selvage edge and rip the fabric.

Continue ripping until the strip is done. Now your fabric is ripped on the weft thread and is straight. Notice the strip and how the two selvage edges are uneven. This shows how it was not cut on a weft thread.

How to straighten cotton fabrics to they are on the weft thread.

Fold fabric, and you are ready to begin laying the sewing pattern.

   To straighten corded type fabrics use a square or ruler and set at a right angle to the selvage edge. Mark with chalk.

    To straighten jersey and knit fabric, follow one line of stitch across the wrong side (ugly side) and mark that line of stitching with pins. (See Photos Below)

To straighten jersey or knit fabric follow one line of stitching across the wrong side of the fabric and place a pin on the line.

To straighten jersey or knit fabric follow one line of stitching across the wrong side of the fabric and place a pin on the line.

 

To straighten jersey or knit fabric follow one line of stitching across the wrong side of the fabric and place a pin on the line.

Continue placing pins and following the same line. With some fabrics you need either great eye site or you may need a magnifying glass to help you follow the line.

    If your fabric is not straight because it was "pulled" out of line on the bolt by the manufacturer, pull the fabric diagonally (on the bias) so that the threads are drawn into a line and the edges of the straightened end lie evenly together.

 

 
 

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