If you are an amateur trying to sew a garment at home with patterns printed on A4 papers and with instructions, you may stumble over some new terms related to the process of sewing, like ’tiled pattern’, ‘grainline’, ‘seam allowance’, or ‘notches’. If that is your case, find the relevant term and continue reading!

Tiled pattern


Seam allowance (soon)

Notches (soon)

Tiled Pattern

What are tiled patterns and how do they work?

Not every person has easy access to an industrial printer, but many have a small printer at home. That is why designers often create so called ’tiled patterns’ for their garments. That is, they split their patterns into smaller pieces that fit on A4 pages, so that everyone could print those patterns and use them.

Here’s how tiled patterns work:


Can I fit the printed patterns on fabric any way I want? Well, not quite.

We can only place patterns on fabric at a specific angle, marked as the grainline.

Why is the grainline important? Because fabrics stretch differently at different angles. Fabrics are made of warp threads (these are stronger) and perpendicular weft threads (these allow more stretching).

We wouldn’t want to end up with a garment that stretches in the wrong direction. But how to determine the grain of a fabric?

The grain is paralel to the warp threads and to the selvedge (the finished edge of the fabric roll – see the image below).

Ok, so I know how to find the grain of the fabric now, what do I do with it?

We look at our printed pattern, find the marked grainline and make sure it alignes to the straight grain of the fabric. It’s that simple!

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