Here is another reason to read the "What's New" document (p.50-52) with each release of SolidWorks. 😉
With SOLIDWORKS 2011 there is a prominent new feature for your sheet metal blank, the "bounding box". This is the smallest rectangle that the parts blank("flat pattern") will fit. The "bounding box" is a sketch found under the Flat-Pattern feature and can be toggled on/off.
In addition to the new "bounding box" sketch, there is a new option in the property manager for the Flat-Pattern feature: "Grain Direction". You can define a grain direction to use when calculating the bounding box for sheet metal parts. The software determines the smallest rectangle (bounding box) that aligns with the grain direction to fit the flat pattern. By default (in my testing) the "bounding box" aligns itself with the longest straight side. From Edit Feature of the Flat-Pattern you can define which edge you'd prefer be aligned as the grain direction and should you later change your mind redefine or clear the selection entirely and let the software choose for you.
I hope this post gives a little better "direction" (pun intended) for your sheet metal parts!
How about "Grain Direction" on the drawing?
Here are some SPR numbers to watch:
565602 ‘Ability to show the grain direction by arrow when the flat pattern view is placed’- flat pattern drawing view.
565603 ‘Align the Flat pattern to the grain direction or the boundary box length & rotate the view so that after placement its horizontal or vertical.’
586631 ‘grain direction and fixed face should be options within doc props>sheet metal’- Provide the user with tools>options>doc props>sheet metal options for fixed face and grain direction. These option will be the default on, but the user has the availability to turn them off via RMB>view properties individually