How many times will I change this pattern?

lengthen the hem, extending the tails...

or scoop out the neckline...and add a few tucks?

cut the top and add the circles?

one pattern...the beauty of the bias!

CHOOSE A BASIC PATTERN WITH A FRONT AND BACK

The bias is all about the grainlines.   Perfecting the first pattern from LESSON TWO is easy and necessary.  Starting with the shoulder slant, follow the fitting sequence to keep the grainline straight while falling over the curves.  HERE'S HOW...

FITTING SEQUENCE REVIEW

Using your dress form as your body,

  • carefully pin the shoulder slant so that the grainlines fall straight; front and back; always matching your shoulder line.
  • Add a front dart to accommodate the bust line and straighten the side seams.  
  • Ease the curve of the bust with a dart with a princess seam, or even just a 5/8 inch ease, in the front pattern.
  • Follow the curve of the blouse to the lowest upper hip line accommodating the curve and width of the upper hip and stomach.
  • Check the armhole position and sleeve placement.  Re-Check every curve on your blouse, front and back.

You can extend the blouse tails for a short dress, a tunic, a long dress, or gowns; shaping side seams to your curves.

Loving the bias!

August 15 Camera 020.JPG

Summer could not possibly exist without bias skirts and dresses!   Here are a few simple rules that make the bias work...

  •  Shape your dress form, matching every curve where  your fabric will fall.
  •  Choose a natural woven medium or lightwieght fabric with obvious grainlines,  like linen; until you get the hang of it.
  • Cut single layers only.
  • Follow bias grain lines to meet in opposite directions, (SEE BELOW)

  • Sew seams with a slight zig zag for movement

  • Use a light hand in pressing

  • Stay stitch each edge of the seams at 1/8" before sewing; for stability.

  • Hang overnight before finishing

That being said, it really is not difficult to create the most elegant dress to show off the curves.  Just plan it.

understanding grainlines...

RED REPRESENTS THE STRAIGHT GRAIN, CALLED WARP.  THE STRAIGHT GRAIN IS PARALLEL TO THE SELVAGE.

The straight grain is the strong weave (red lines above) as in the vertical threads of a loom.

BLUE MATCHES THE CROSSGRAIN CALLED WEFT (or weaker threads, as they weave in and out of the straight, warp, threads.)

The WEFT  threads are perpendicular To the selvage.

THE WHITE LINES REPRESENT THE BIAS WHICH INTERSECTS THE STRAIGHT AND CROSS GAINLINES AT 45 DEGREES.

The bias intersects the cross and straight grain lines at 45 DEGREES

cutting the bias...

When the front and back pieces are side by side, the straight grain looks like this; with pattern pieces facing opposite directions.

Since the bias threads are neither as strong nor as stable as the vertical and cross grain threads, the fabric will give and fall closely to your body.  The simple straight dress that you cut on the vertical grain may seem way too small when cut on the delicate bias.  An easy way to start is with one size larger and then shape the fabric as it falls over the curves of your body on the dress form.  Cutting single layers is the only way...if your pattern is designed to cut on the fold, flip it over, making one back layer.

Cuting the bias through "1 to 5" marking paper is a sure way to get your very straight cuts.

When the side seams are matched side by side, the straight grain lines will meet at the diagonal.  You will be able to see this easily when choosing a light to medium weight woven fabric, where grain lines are visible.  Keep it simple until you own the techniques and understand the fabric.  Cutting the bias at opposite directions will give you equal stability on both sides of the body.  If your pattern was drafted to cut on the fold, flip it over and cut one single layer.

Even with best laid plans, when cutting on the true bias, you still might see a pull or a pucker somewhere.  If, for example, the curves of the body cause one side seam to pull, or ripple...GO TO THE PROBLEM.  If the pucker is on the side bust or upper hip, ease the fabric at the point of the pull, ever so slightly, until the pull disappears. 

By releasing the fabric of ANY pull, the fabric will fall naturally over the curve.  

 

You’ll see that with only slight alterations, you can change the bodice from the straight grain to the bias.  Be sure to check the fabric as silk, for example, will fall much closer to the body and therefore smaller in size on the bias than linen.  The bust position can be higher or lower according to the dart on the side.