How to find the grainline on a sleeve

I was sure I’d done a tutorial on how to find the grain line on a sleeve but I can’t seem to find it now that I need to show it to someone. If it is a repeat ~sigh~ it’s likely not the first nor last and I apologize. If this proves to be of interest, I may show you how to do this on a two piece sleeve.

An aside for those who have already mastered the material in this tutorial; I’ll bet you didn’t know that if you intend to place a match stripe going over the sleeve to match a stripe on the front and back of the body, you have to do the sleeve first. Sure you might get lucky if you don’t do this often but if you’ve had to do match stripes as often as I have, starting with the sleeve is the only sure and fast way to do it correctly. If you’re not sure what a match stripe is, here’s two photos. You can click each photo to go to the original entry in which they appeared.

On the left below is a picture of our sleeve without a grainline. The first thing to do is to mark off the seam allowance as shown (right).

Draw a line connecting those two points (below). For better or worse and whether you intend it to be or not, this is your cross grainline (below).

Now you need to line up an L-square (left). At right below is the grainline.

Ideally, if you were going to place this on a horizontal stripe, the cross grain would be useful to ensure that the stripe around the sleeve will match at the seam line. Well, not this particular sleeve since it’s got a dart at the elbow but I think you know what I mean.

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  1. LisaB says:

    Thanks for this post. It is definitely of interest to me, since I’m working on sleeves. I’m definitely interested in the same for a two-piece sleeve as well.

    More info on match stripes would be great, too. I don’t know how to determine where the match stripe should be, etc., and I haven’t come across the info in my pattern making books.

  2. dosfashionistas says:

    Hi LisaB,

    You match a plaid (horizontal) at or close to the underarm, right where Kathleen put the bicep line across the sleeve. You match a stripe (vertical) at or about the neck corner of the shoulder. Or further over if all you are matching is the pocket. A horizental match line is always called a plaid line, even if you are matching a horizental stripe. A vertical line is always a stripe line, even if you are centering a plaid. Clear as mud? Maybe someone else can shed more light.


  3. kpotenti says:

    Nice…I love all of the tutorials and am looking forward to the two piece sleeve should you decide to do it. Thanks!

  4. Marina Simon says:

    I belong to ASG & a friend have forward this to me, this is very good, I never knew how to do this.

  5. nutty one says:

    This site is amazing. I am almost in tears with laughter. I am learning such interesting and better ways to make my garments. As an perpetual beginner I have rarely made garments that I am really happy with – now I know. I can’t wait to print this stuff and start do things the proper way. PS: I totally adore your sense of humour, you are just hiliarious.

  6. Susan Mann says:

    It will be a way aways (focusing on the boots first), but when I get to the babywearing jacket then yes, I would be working with a two piece sleeve and would like to know how to find the grainline for that.

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