The Advantages of Tearing Fabric

  • The Advantages of Tearing Fabric

At JINNY BEYER STUDIO, except for the smallest pieces, we generally tear fabric into the yardage you request. Yes, there are often threads on the edges, but we have a good reason for doing this.

So, why do we tear our fabric? It’s the best way to ensure that you get the fabric that is on-grain. Patches that are cut from on-grain fabric have the least stretch, are the easiest to sew and will keep their shapes best.

After the fabric is woven, it goes through several processes including printing, finishing, winding onto a huge roll and then being wound onto the bolts shipped to fabric stores.

All that processing and winding can pull a fabric off-grain. At JINNY BEYER STUDIO, all our fabrics are manufactured by the same company but some bolts are almost perfectly on grain and a few are off by inches.

The pictures below show an example.  The first picture is of the edge of the fabric as it came off the bolt, cut by the manufacturer. The second picture shows the true crosswise grain of that same bolt of fabric. It’s off by inches!

Fabric off the bolt and with torn edge

Fabric tears along a crosswise thread, showing you the true crosswise grain line of the fabric. We start every bolt with a tear strip to determine the crosswise grain. If you order a yard, we measure one yard (plus a little to make up for any raggedy edges that you can’t use) from that bottom edge and tear.  That way you will have one full yard of on-grain yardage to use. You can straighten the grain by gently tugging the yardage diagonally until the torn edges and the selvage edges are squared.

Use the torn edge as a guide for placing your templates and you’ll know you are maximizing the stability of your fabric patches.

If you plan to rotary cut strips from your yardage, remove the selvages as usual and align the torn edges of the fabric. Slice a fraction of an inch off to clean up the edge and you’re ready to go. Your fabric patches will have greater stability and less stretch than if they were cut without regard for the grain line.