Against the Grain
: A Technical Investigation Exploring Viable Grainline Deviation to Enable Effective Repurposing of Jersey T-Shirt Fashion Surplus into New Garment Solutions

  • Claire Evans

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This practice-based PhD presents insight regarding the application of purposeful tilt to pattern grainlines, to support the viable use of fashion surplus for new garment solutions. It considers grainline deviation as a practical approach for the repurposing of pre-consumer cotton jersey T-shirts, as unsold garments stall companies cash flow taking up valuable warehouse space, which can result in garments being incinerated or going to landfill. This study’s radical approach of tilting grainlines challenges traditional pattern-cutting teaching and practices, opening the convention of producing, not always perfect, but wearable wonky clothes. Tilting grainlines may be controversial within the fashion industry however, this approach would provide opportunities to reduce fashion waste and support the better management of fashion surplus.

Using action research, a series of connected approaches were used to gather data on jersey skirt grainline deviation. Through practitioner experimentation, a trial skirt with multiple tilted grainlines was produced and initial findings were identified. Data was collected using an online wearer trial collating participants’ perceptual observations following periods of skirt wash and wear and by measurements taken prior to and after wash-and-wear trials. Perceptual observation and measurement data was presented using colour coded pattern diagrams to support the visual exploration of grainline deviation similarities and differences. Semi-structured open-ended interviews were also conducted with fashion specialists to gain insight on industry practitioner views and experiences of grainline deviation.

The findings demonstrate that fashion specialists were prepared to use their skill and judgment to tilt grainlines to improve fashion efficiency, and skirt patterns tilted off the straight grain respond better than patterns tilted off the bias grainline. Remote participant wearer trials were successfully conducted online. After each period of wash and wear participants appeared to become more comfortable with the fit and appearance of their skirt. The research revealed promising opportunities (and limitations) to consider when tilting pattern grainlines to improve garment production efficiency contributing to the understanding and examination of novel grainline tilt possibilities for improving fashion efficiency and reducing fashion waste.
Date of Award28 Feb 2024
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Hewitt (Main Supervisor) & Rowan Bailey (Co-Supervisor)

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