Pattern Placement, Grain, Bias and Fit

We discussed grain and measuring how to be sure your pattern placement is properly aligned with grain line earlier. ( Grain ) Today I have drawn an illustration to include pattern placement with grain and bias. True bias on a woven fabric is 45 degrees off of the selvage edges of the fabric. It is marked in red on the illustration.  

Bias cuts stretch a little, straight of grain cuts do not. The center of a pattern is usually cut on the straight of grain but slanted edges will be on a bias. In the illustration below the skirt sides, bodice sides and sleeve edges all have at least a slight bias angle. The added stretch or give on bias pieces also aid in fit and help how a garment lays around the natural curves of a body. Some stretch or give can be good, but in other places it can become a problem.  

To prevent necklines, sleeve openings and waist line areas from stretching while working on them, a stay stitch is added. A stay stitch is made with a slightly longer than normal sewing stitch at the seam line. To add a stay stitch at the neckline stitch down from the shoulder to the center of the neck from each side. If you use a commercial pattern this information is included in your instructions. If you draft your own pattern remember to add this step.  

Grain Lines, Bias, and Pattern Placement
Most patterns with the pieces I have drawn will also have other pieces, maybe a collar, cuff, certainly facings. The same rules apply to these extra pieces. Use the grain line markings to keep your pieces properly aligned. Your eyes may let you think something is straight when really it is just the side of the pattern that is straight with the selvage. Fabric cut improperly  will yield a disappointing result. Always measure to be sure.

When you make your own pattern, you can use these same rules to determine how much fabric to buy. Lay out all of the pieces so that they are not any wider than the width of the fabric you plan to buy. If you are using 60 inch wide material you will be able to place more items side by side so that you do not need as much length, but if you are using 45 inch wide fabric, the same pieces will take more length of fabric because they may have to be placed end to end instead of side by side. Remember to keep your pieces aligned just like you were laying them out on the fabric with a grain line.  

One more note. Check the end of the bolt to be sure you have the width you measured for your estimate. Fabric widths have changed a little. Once fabrics were exactly 60 inches wide, 45 inches wide and even 36 inches wide. Now instead of being 60 inches wide it could be 58 or 59 and many bolts that were once 45 inches wide are now only 42 inches wide. Take this into consideration when you are determining how much you really need. No matter how close you think your estimate is, allow just a little extra when you purchase your fabric. It is better to have a few extra inches than to need more.

Word origins for the week from http://www.etymonline.com.

accurate (adj.) Look up accurate at Dictionary.com
1610s, "done with care," from Latin accuratus "prepared with care, exact, elaborate," pp. of accurare "take care of," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + curare "take care of" (see cure). The notion of doing something carefully led to that of being exact (1650s). Related: Accuratelyaccurateness.

bias (n.) Look up bias at Dictionary.com
1520s, from French biais "slant, slope, oblique," also figuratively, "expedient, means" (13c., originally in Old French a pp. adjective, "sideways, askance, against the grain"), of unknown origin, probably from Old Provençal biais, with cognates in Old Catalan and Sardinian; possibly from Vulgar Latin *(e)bigassius, from Greek epikarsios "athwart, crosswise, at an angle," from epi-"upon" + karsios "oblique," from PIE *krs-yo-, from root *(s)ker- "to cut." It became a noun in Old French. Transferred sense of "predisposition, prejudice" is from 1570s in English.
[A] technical term in the game of bowls, whence come all the later uses of the word. [OED]

measure (v.) Look up measure at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to deal out by measure," from Old French mesurer "measure; moderate, curb" (12c.), from Late Latin mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, pp. of metiri "to measure," from PIE *me- "to measure" (see meter (n.2)).

Replaced Old English cognate mæð "measure." Meaning "to ascertain spatial dimensions of" is mid-14c. To measure up "have the necessary abilities" is 1910, American English. Related:Measuredmeasuring.
measure (n.) Look up measure at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "moderation, temperance, abstemiousness;" c.1300, "instrument for measuring," from Old French mesure "limit, boundary; quantity, dimension; occasion, time" (12c.), from Latinmensura "measure" (see measure (v.)). Meaning "size or quantity as ascertained by measuring" is from early 14c. Meaning "action of measuring; standard measure of quantity; system of measuring; appointed or alloted amount of anything" is late 14c. Also from late 14c. are senses "proper proportion, balance." Sense of "that to which something is compared to determine its quantity" is from 1570s. Meaning "rhythmic pattern in music" is late 14c.; from mid-15c. in poetry, c.1500 in dance. Meaning "treatment 'meted out' to someone" is from 1590s; that of "plan or course of action intended to obtain some goal" is from 1690s; sense of "legislative enactment" is from 1759. Phrase for good measure (late 14c.) is lit. "ample in quantity, in goods sold by measure."

plan (n.) Look up plan at Dictionary.com
1670s as a technical term in perspective drawing; 1706 as "drawing, sketch, or diagram of any object," from French plan "ground plan, map," lit. "plane surface" (mid-16c.), from Latinplanum "level or flat surface," noun use of adjective planus "level, flat" (see plane (n.1)). The notion is of "a drawing on a flat surface." Meaning "scheme of action, design" is first recorded 1706, possibly influenced by French planter "to plant," from Italian planta "ground plan."
planner (n.) Look up planner at Dictionary.com
1716, "one who plans," agent noun from plan (v.). Derogatory variant planster attested from 1945. Meaning "book or device that enables one to plan" is from 1971.
plan (v.) Look up plan at Dictionary.com
1728, "make a plan of," from plan (n.). Related: PlannedplanningplansPlanned economy is attested from 1931. Planned Parenthood (1942) formerly was Birth Control Federation of America.

stretch (n.) Look up stretch at Dictionary.com
1540s, "act of stretching," from stretch (v.); meaning "unbroken continuance of some activity" is first recorded 1680s; meaning "straightaway of a race course" (e.g. home stretch) is recorded from 1841.
stretch (v.) Look up stretch at Dictionary.com
Old English streccan, from P.Gmc. *strakjanan (cf. Danish strække, Swedish sträcka, Old Frisian strekka, Old High German strecchan, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Old High German, German strecken "to stretch"), perhaps a variant of the root of stark, or else from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see strain). Meaning "to extend (the limbs or wings)" is from c.1200; that of "to lay out for burial" is from early 13c. To stretch one's legs "take a walk" is from c.1600. Meaning "to lengthen by force" first recorded late 14c.; figurative sense of "to enlarge beyond proper limits, exaggerate," is from 1550s. Stretch limo first attested 1973. Stretch marks is attested from 1960. Stretcher "canvas frame for carrying the sick or wounded" is first attested 1845.



Today the word is embroider. I was trying to decide how to decorate the pockets of the jeans I just cut out and thought maybe some machine embroidery would enhance the pockets nicely. So I used the scraps and tested some patterns. I purchased these roses from a digitizer who sells on Oregonpatchworks.com. If I had a digitizer program I would make my own machine embroider images because I cannot find exactly what I want. 

Scraps - these scraps are not really big enough to make much, maybe doll cloths, or quilt scraps if you use denim for quilts but save them for as long as you work on your project. 
This is also why you save the scraps when you work on projects. These little strips and pieces are great for testing something before you sew on the actual garment. This goes for an embroidery test sew out, checking how a specific needle works with the fabric, testing tension and making any adjustments on your machine or even testing features like how to make button holes and other techniques. These embroidery tests will not go to waste though because I will just sew around the edges and make them into little patches to use on other things.

Testing a pattern. I used a verigated thread for the top green and tested some pinks for the rose.
After test sewing these embroidery pieces, I decided to go with something much more subtle. I am not sewing any contrast decorative seams so I decided against using any of the embroidery on this project. Maybe they will work well for the next project. 

Testing Purple threads
For this project, I am going to sew arcs much like the original style, but with thread that matches the fabric. The double needle will slightly raise the fabric. As the pocket ages the design will be more visible, but now the embellishment will barely show. To get the arcs just right I will use two round plates, one smaller than the other and trace the arcs in place.

From http://www.etymonline.com here are some words that apply to this post.


decorate (v.) Look up decorate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin decoratus, pp. of decorare "to decorate, adorn, embellish, beautify," from decus (gen. decoris) "an ornament," from PIE root*dek- "to receive, be suitable" (see decent). Related: Decorateddecorating.


embroider (v.) Look up embroider at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Anglo-French enbrouder, from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + broisder "embroider," from Frankish *brozdon, from P.Gmc. *bruzdajanan. Spelling with -oi- is from c.1600, perhaps by influence of broiden, irregular alternative Middle English pp. of braid (v.). Related: Embroidered;embroidering.


embellish (v.) Look up embellish at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "to render beautiful," from Old French embelliss-, stem of embellir "make beautiful, ornament," from em- (see en- (1)) + bel "beautiful," from Latin bellus (see bene-). Meaning "dress up (a narration) with fictitious matter" is from mid-15c. Related: Embellishedembellishing.


patch (n.1) Look up patch at Dictionary.com
"piece of cloth used to mend another material," late 14c., of obscure origin, perhaps a variant of pecepieche, from Old North French pieche (seepiece (n.)), or from an unrecorded Old English word. Phrase not a patch on "nowhere near as good as" is from 1860.


scrap (n.1) Look up scrap at Dictionary.com
"small piece," late 14c., from O.N. skrap "scraps, trifles," from skrapa "to scrape" (see scrape). Meaning "remains of metal produced after rolling or casting" is from 1790. Scrap iron first recorded 1823.


thread (n.) Look up thread at Dictionary.com
Old English þræd "fine cord, especially when twisted" (related to þrawan "to twist"), from P.Gmc. *thrædus (cf. Middle Dutch draet, Dutch draad, Old High German drat, German Draht, Old Norse þraðr), from suffixed form of root *thræ- "twist" (see throw). Meaning "spiral ridge of a screw" is from 1670s. Threads, slang for "clothes" is 1926, American English.



Pattern Markings

Commercial patterns have marks to help guide with layout, cutting and construction of a garment. One of the most important markings is the grain line. The grain line indicator on a pattern is a long line with arrows at either end. This line is one of the longer markings on a pattern and is used to measure distance from either the fold or the selvage. The lengthwise fibers make up the grain of the fabric and are parallel with the selvage edges.  

To make sure your pattern piece has been properly aligned with the grain, measure from the grain line indicator on the pattern to the selvage. Measure near the beginning of the mark to the selvage then again near the end of the mark to the selvage. If your pattern is properly aligned on the fabric, the measurement to the selvage will be the same at both of the measuring points. This simple measurement can make all the difference in how a garment is constructed and how well it will wear on the body.  
from Sew-I-Do@blogspot.com
Fabric diagram
Sometimes pattern pieces are placed on the fold. Place on fold lines are usually on the center front or center back pattern pieces. This is usually a pattern piece that you only need to cut in one piece instead of two. It is easy to make a symmetrical cut when placed on the fold. Pieces that are placed on the fold do not get cut along the fold line. The fold will also be straight with the grain and parallel to the selvage.  

*grain (n.) Look up grain at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "scarlet dye made from insects" (late 12c. in surnames), from O.Fr. grain (12c.) "seed, grain, particle, berry, scarlet dye" (see kermes for last sense), from L. granum "seed, a grain, small kernel" (see corn (n.1)). As a collective singular meaning "seed of wheat and allied grasses used as food," it is attested from early 14c. Extended from c.1300 to other objects (e.g. salt, sand). As a unit of weight, from 1540s. Used of wood (1560s), from the arrangement of fibers, which resemble seeds. Hence, against the grain (1650), a metaphor from carpentry: cutting across the fibers of the wood is more difficult than cutting along them.

*From Online Etymology Dictionary



My word today is pattern. Pattern because I am using a pair of jeans to make a new pattern. I finished a pair last year that I had started earlier but did not realize at the time that I would blog about it so I had not taken a lot of photographs. I also was not sure how they would turn out so at the time I used the original pair as the pattern and did not make a paper copy. I plan to make a pattern this time because I liked the fit and know how they will turn out. We can cover that in future blogs that illustrate more of the technical information.

This time I will make a few alterations, mostly to the front pockets. I found that sometimes the pocket lining would show. This time I will make some simple changes to resolve that issue. 

When I came home from work I was not tired so I made notations and pinned down a few pattern pieces. Then I decided to make some changes, but I had to stop when Dot wanted to play too and got right in the way. Now I am too tired to work on it any more tonight so I will leave it on the cutting table to work on again tomorrow evening.

As I sew these up I am going to write instructions with photographs so this will ultimately result in a how to/sew along kind of project, but for now I will share just this one photograph.

Sharpie and ruler/straight edge to mark the grainline 

pattern (n.) Look up pattern at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "outline, plan, model, pattern;" early 15c. as "model of behavior, exemplar," from Old French patron and directly from Medieval Latin patronus (see patron).

Extended sense of "decorative design" first recorded 1580s, from earlier sense of a "patron" as a model to be imitated. The difference in form and sense between patron and pattern wasn't firm till 1700s. Meaning "model or design in dressmaking" (especially one of paper) is first recorded 1792, in Jane Austen.

alter (v.) Look up alter at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to change (something)," from Old French alterer "change, alter," from Medieval Latin alterare "to change," from Latin alter "the other (of the two)," from PIE *al- "beyond" (seealias (adv.)) + comparative suffix -ter (cf. other). Intransitive sense "to become otherwise" first recorded 1580s. Related: Alteredaltering.

Pattern and Alter  Word Origin information form Online Etymology Dictionary. 


Resolutions and Etymology



Dictionary.Reference.com lists 12 meanings for the word resolution. At this time of year the most common use is the second meaning, "a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something".  Because this is sometimes a blog about sewing, the fifth description was also of interest, "the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts". 

I think the best resolutions are the resolve to do something positive. First, I resolve to return unused supplies to the store. This one resolution really applies mostly to knitted projects and forces me to work on a project immediately so that I know as soon as possible when I have an extra ball or skein of yarn. I just tuck the receipt into the band around the yarn to keep it accessible when needed. Besides saving money it becomes a clutter buster by preventing stash build up.

My second resolution for the year is to look up the word meaning and or word origin for at least one word everyday. I have not decided if I will share a word a day here though because that might just drive away readers. I suppose that might depend on word choices. It could add a new group of readers too. In English, we invent new words to describe things making the language vibrant and adaptable, but there are rules. With texting* and tweets a division, nearly a rift, is forming between the formal language and the abbreviated, phonetic and acronym** shortcuts.   

From Online Etymology Dictionary, (http://www.etymonline.com) for your informed pleasure, here are two words derived from Old English for today:  

The Verb Sew and the Noun Stitch

sew (v.) Look up sew at Dictionary.com
O.E. siwian "to stitch," earlier siowian, from P.Gmc. *siwjanan (cf. O.N. syja, Swedish sy, O.H.G. siuwan, Goth. siujan "to sew"), from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew" (cf. Skt. sivyati "sews,"sutram "thread, string;" Gk. hymen "thin skin, membrane," hymnos "song;" L. suere "to sew, sew together;" O.C.S. sijo "to sew," sivu "seam;" Lettish siuviusiuti "to sew," siuvikis "tailor;" Russian svec "tailor"). Related: SewedsewingSewing machine is attested from 1847.

stitch (n.) Look up stitch at Dictionary.com
O.E. stice "a prick, puncture," from P.Gmc. *stikiz, from the root of stick (v.). The sense of "sudden, stabbing pain in the side" was in late O.E. The verb is first recorded early 13c., "to stab, pierce," also "to fasten or adorn with stitches." Noun senses in sewing and shoemaking first recorded late 13c.; meaning "bit of clothing one is (or isn't) wearing" is from c.1500. Meaning "a stroke of work" (of any kind) is attested from 1580s. Surgical sense first recorded 1520s. Sense of "amusing person or thing" is 1968, from notion of laughing so much one gets stitches of pain (cf. verbal expression to have (someone) in stitches, 1935).

Footnotes: also from Online Etymology Dictionary


text (v.) Look up text at Dictionary.com
"to send a text message by mobile system," 2005; see text (n.). Related: Textedtexting. It formerly was a verb meaning "to write in text letters" (1590s).


acronym (n.) Look up acronym at Dictionary.com
word formed from the first letters of a series of words, 1943, American English coinage from acro- + -onym "name" (abstracted from homonym; see name (n.)). But for cabalistic esoterica and acrostic poetry, the practice was practically non-existent before 20c. (see here).