Marking Grain Line On A Pants Sewing Pattern

Keep Your Pant Legs From Twisting When Off Grain

When you draft your own pants or make fit adjustments to a commercial pants pattern, you need to recheck the grainline. Marking grain line on a pants sewing pattern is critical in terms of drape. Your pant leg will have a fluid drape, particularly when using woven fabrics, if it is cut on the fabric grain.

Sewing With Sandi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for my website to earn fees by linking to Amazon and other websites at no cost to you.

Fabric Grain Line Markings On Pants Sewing Patterns

Marking Grain line

Most patterns typically come with the grain line already printed on the tissue. The real problem of grain comes into play when you make fitting adjustments to the pattern and alter the grain line. Rulers and a measuring tape are your best tools for the job.

When working with woven fabrics, and some knits, your pattern piece needs to have the grain line marking run parallel to the selvages of the fashion fabric. This ensures your pants will drape correctly and help avoid the leg from twisting from being slightly off grain.

Striped Fabric Grainlines

One other consideration — when working with a vertical stripe, you want the grain line mark to run down the stripe even if it is a bit off grain. This will give your garment a pleasing eye appeal — you don’t want your stripe going sideways.

Why You Want To Redraw The Grain Line

Fabric is woven on a loom with warp threads and weft threads. These threads make up the straight grain. When you cut fabric across the warp and weft threads, it is cut on the bias grain. On the bias, fabric stretches making it less stable. Sometimes we want a bias grain, like when we make bias tape or a bias cut skirt, however on pants, a stretch diagonally across the leg is not a good look.

How To Redraft The Grain Line

Marking Grain line

The grain line on pants should run perpendicular to the hip line, crotch line, and knee line. The easiest method — see video below — is to set up rulers at the crotch line and another ruler at 45 degree angle running down the pant leg. Then draw a straight line perpendicular to the crotch line. This will ensure you can lay out your pattern piece on the fabric’s lengthwise grain.

The Instructional Video

A quick visual on how to mark grain lines on an altered pants sewing pattern.

How To Accurately Cut Out Sewing Patterns On The Grain Line

The selvage edge of the fabric runs parallel to the lengthwise grain on a woven fabric. This ensures when you use a measuring tape and accurately place your pattern piece grainline parallel to the selvedge, your fashion fabric pattern pieces will be cut on grain.

Once you have your redrawn grain line, you can lay your pant leg pattern piece parallel to the selvage on the straight grainline. Measure one end of the grain line to the selvage and pin. Measure another point on the grain line to the selvage edge of the fabric and adjust until it measures the same distance as the first point. Then you can pin and cut our your garment pattern pieces.

The Book

Marking Grain line

Pattern Making By The Flat Pattern Method by Norma R. Hollen and Carolyn J. Kundel is one of the best pattern making books on the market. Used as a classroom textbook for pattern makers, it can be difficult to find, however it is worth the search if you are serious about drafting your own garments. It is invaluable for making garments that fit your beautiful body and unique shape.

Pins Vs Washers

Pins VS Weights

Before you start pinning your pattern pieces, consider using washers to weight down all the pattern pieces. Pins take time and washers make it easy to cut fabric without it shifting. Check out the Pins Vs Washers battle and see for yourself who is the winner to keep your fabric and pattern pieces from slipping.

Marking Grain Line And Woven Fabrics

Marking Grain Line

Marking grain line on your woven fabric patterns (and some knits) is key to cutting fabric on the straight grain. Your finished garment will look and drape beautifully if you take a few minutes to understand grainline and its effect on your final garment outcome. You will love your sewing patterns when they produce perfectly fitted and draped clothes.

Happy Sewing,



I love my Bernette 38 Sewing Machine. It is perfect for sewing beautiful garments. 

Make your garments better with my 21 Tips To Take Your DIY Garment From Homemade To High End

Do you love Sew Alongs and Sewing Tips and Tricks? My Youtube channel Barrett’s Custom Design is filled with great sewing techniques served up with a few laughs. 

My Sewing With Sandi Etsy Shop has over 500 hard to find women’s, men’s, and children’s patterns. You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns.  You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *