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Sewing Tips – ‘Cut on the Fold’ and ‘Fabric Grain’


Here are some more basic tips for all of you out there who may cringe at sewing terminology.
But no more. No need to be scared of weird sewing words. Hang in there.


So, have you ever read any sewing instructions that tell you to ‘cut on the fold’? That might seem strange and a bit tricky. I have had several people email me, unsure of this technique…….so don’t worry if you don’t know either.


I have scribbled out a real generic pattern piece that says on one side, “cut on fold”. So you’ll have to fold your fabric in half, and line up that edge of the pattern piece along the fold. Then cut around that pattern piece, except for the side that’s on the fold.


Once you open up your piece of fabric, you’ll have a piece that’s twice as big as the original pattern piece. Make sense?

Easy, easy.


Now, did you know that fabric has a grain? Not a whole wheat grain that you should be eating more of….. But a grain line in your fabric. Well, not all fabrics do……but today we’re looking at cotton and cotton definitely does. When they make cotton, they weave it together with different strands of cotton……and blah, blah, blah. We don’t need to go into that. But, you need to take an upclose look at your fabric to see that there are lines in it. There are lines going horizontally and vertically. See them?


And when a pattern piece has an arrow going through it, you’ll need to make sure that the arrow is running parallel to a set of the grain lines………


……not diagonally, like below. Yes, the pattern piece is lined up with the edge of the fabric, but the arrow isn’t running even with the grain lines. Do you see that?


If you make sure and cut with the grain, your fabric will lay flatter, hold up better, and will be stronger.


Hope that helps.
More tips to come in the weeks to come.



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Rhonda says:

    I just want to say that you have such a simplistic way about explaining these sewing terms and etc. And, its just what ive been looking for! I've watched several tutorials, and you are the Best at explaining these sewing methods and such. A few more of your' videos, and I believe I will be able to sew whatever i want!
    Thank You so much for making the videos, & please keep uploading them.
    You're the Greatest!!
    Grandma of 8

  2. joyce reynolds says:

    What died cut 4 reflect 2 mean ?

  3. pineapples says:

    this was very helpful

  4. Alexis says:

    I understand the cut 2 on fold, but can’t find much on cut 3 on fold. I am making a bustled skirt (steam punk style)

  5. Davina says:

    Thanks this was very helpful

  6. Sam says:

    SO Much easier to understand now :) Thank you for sharing!

  7. MarLaney @ Our Marvelous Clan says:

    Oh my goodness…there is so much more to sewing than I ever imagined. Your tutorials are so informative!

  8. Carol says:

    Please do information on straightening the grain of fabric. I have been sewing for years,but am having trouble with straightening the grain of fabric now. Is there an easy way to do this?
    Your information is very useful.

  9. NennyS says:

    Thank you so much with the information, now I know what grain is :)

  10. Zoana Fisher says:

    Thanks for these lovely tips.
    I didn't know any thing about sewing so your blog is very helpful for me.

    Zoana Fisher

  11. Susan says:

    REally great with all the tips. Thank you. I'm new to sewing and have another native language, so nice to understand the english terms too.

  12. Sandra ( says:

    Thanks for these tips–I have many friends who are just starting sewing & will send them here. Good info!

  13. says:

    This is wonderful! I know so many people who are getting started in sewing right now. I'll be linking.

  14. Jen says:

    As someone who is new to sewing, the tip about cutting on the grain is awesome! I would have probably lined the edge of the pattern piece up with the edge of the fabric instead. Thank you so much!

  15. Jane says:

    Thanks for these tips. I like that they are the basics and not tips on how to do the "double sow cow" of sewing. Just my speed.

  16. Ashley says:

    Thanks Nap Time Journal. Great addition to the tip. :)

    Oh, and Mia, there is more information about sewing machines and stuff here:

    And good, I'm glad the rest of you are finding this useful. And yes, there will be more. :)

  17. Rose says:

    These were good tips today!

  18. Laura says:

    I'm new to your blog and somewhat new to sewing, so I really appreciate your sewing tips here. I'm sure they'll save me some head aches in the future.

  19. Beth says:

    oh, good things to know!

  20. Levi and Teri says:

    I just have say YOU ARE THE BEST!!! I don't know you but I wish I did :) Thanks for sharing all of your ideas and the EASY to follow steps. I've been wanting start sewing but was so overwhelmed by patterns and not knowing anything. You've helped me get started and I've loved your toutorials! I've made the cinch bag, kids neck pillow, crayon roll, and I can't wait to try more! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  21. nap time journal says:

    I think it's also very important to mention that if you do cut off grain…the square that you do want will be a diamond shape at the end :) I replaced a fabric cutter that didn't know about the grain for a wedding company, can you just picture the mess??

    Thanks for the tips!!

  22. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the helpful explanations!

  23. Mia says:

    Thank you for explaining the cut on the fold thing, I needed that info!
    Can't wait for your next installment!

    P.S. what kind of sewing machine do you reccommend?

  24. Embellished Bayou says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I knew the part about cutting on the fold, but not the one about cutting on the grain.

  25. Cardell Family says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for the tips. I am in the process of discovering my sewing machine and I'm loving it, but it's so nice to have some help figuring things out!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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