When I started to sew 4 months back I was struggling to find what is
- From selvage to selvage?
- Cut on grain?
- Cut on bias?
Now that I understand, I thought why not share my understanding.
I've made this little diagram. I've compared everything to warp and weft on handloom (woven) because that is what I understand.
This is self explanatory in itself. This does not apply for knit fabric though.
Warp (Length wise grain) :It is long strands of threads that run lengthwise on the loom. In the below you can see the red threads that is tightly tied. Since they are tightly tied, they do not have any stretch (give) and are highly stable to handle.
Generally fabric cut on lengthwise grain is perpendicular floor.
Weft (Crosswise grain): They are perpendicular to the lengthwise grain. Since the thread goes over and below the lengthwise grain they have some stretch.
Fabric cut on crosswise grain is parallel to floor.
Here you can see clearly the warp and weft with weft going over and under warp. If you view your fabric towards light you can see the warp and weft clearly.
Selvage: The weft thread goes over and under the warp thread and at the edges it does the same. Hence the edges don't fray.
Do not cut your fabric selvage. The selvages helps to determine the way a fabric needs to be cut.
Bias: This is not actually a grain. Fabric cut at angles to selvage is called bias. Any fabric cut at angles will have stretch and more stretch than crosswise grain. True bias is cut at 45 degrees to selvage and has most stretch. Also this fabric is difficult to handle since it is not stable. A neckline or armhole has certain areas that are cut on bias. They very easily lose shape. It is therefore always advisable to stay stitch the neckline or armhole or any bias cuts immediately after it is cut.
I leave with you some of my pictures. I'm quite proud of them if I can say so myself. :). They are all taken at Paramakudi - my husband's home town.
I hope this was helpful?