Fabric grain

The grainline runs parallel to the selvedge

The grain of a fabric is determined by the alignment of the yarns in a woven fabric. More precisely, the grain line is determined by how the warp yarns run.

Woven fabric are produced by weaving the so-called weft between the warp threads. The warp threads run along the length of a fabric roll, parallel to the selvedge, while the weft runs back and forth across its width.

Grain is indicated on a pattern by the grain line. When cutting out your pattern, it’s important to align the grain line of the pattern to the grain of your fabric.

For more warp and weft details: Weaving on Wikipedia

Confused? Think wood

Wood is not woven, but grows in different layers based on the seasons (growth rings). The way these layers are aligned are important for woodworkers. They influence to what extent the wood will deform after cutting it and how it will bend, as well as other parameters.

Just like a woodworker will take this into account before cutting the wood, you should take grain into account before cutting out your fabric.