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This is the term that explains the direction in which the fabric is woven. It determines greatly by the way the fabric falls on the object or the wearer. Understanding the grain helps in minimising the wastage and to create interesting fullness effects on the garment. Grain refers to the alignment of warp and weft yarns inside a fabric. When the fabric is selected for construction the grain line is analysed. When grain is not in the proper angle steps are taken to make it right. Also, diagonal grain is chosen when the design requires more flexibility for good fit or fullness for decoration. The common type of grain seen in garments is the straight grain. The main reason for this is, to get full strength for the garment which can be obtained when the garment is cut in the same direction as it was constructed. Apart from this, the perfectly twisted warp yarns that work like a skeleton on the fabric is very strong. The combination of that warp along with the weft will enable good compaction and better properties when cutting a garment pattern. In order to check if the fabric is on proper grain, one thread can be ravelled from selvedge to selvedge and then the fabric is folded on half. If this can create neat edge in the bottom, it is said that the material has been laid on proper grain. There are different types of grain which are explained below:
Lengthwise grain means the yarn in the fabric runs in the length of the fabric and is parallel to the selvage. Crosswise grain has threads that are perpendicular to the selvage of the fabric. The term on grain refers to the length and crosswise thread being right angle to each other. This is very basic in woven fabric as they are made by warp and weft interlaced at right angle to each other.
When the warp and weft threads are not exactly at the right -angled ways, they are termed to be in off grain. This is usually a defect and methods are available to set the grain to the on-grain line.
When the garment pattern is cut at 45 degrees it is called bias grain. This has a good drape as it is taken in the diagonal way. Further extending of the pattern tends to increase the fall of the fabric and gives beautiful wavy effect.
This is when the print is neatly lined up with the warp yarns and is parallel to the selvedge. It is on grain print and results in a neat look of the design on a fabric.
In contrast to the above on grain print, off grain is the printed set of design which is not parallel to the selvedge. This can be considered as a defect in printing as it directly implies poor quality in printing.
It is also important to remember that when the textile material is made in a weaving loom or a knitting machine it will be in the perfect grain only. During the various textile processes like washing, calendaring, scouring, mercerisation the selvedge are held tight resulting change in the grain lines. When the grain line is not maintained in the way it should be done, there are chances for the fabric to lose shape, sag and even be uncomfortable to wear.
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