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How to Add a Twisted Bias Strip Panel

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You can give any basic garment a decorative boost with a panel of twisted strips. It looks complex, but it’s simple to master.

Arrange short, folded, bias-cut fabric strips across a base panel of matching fabric, twist them once at their centers, and sew them down at each end. Use the panel as an insertion in a garment or as intriguing trim.

You can use this bias-strip panel to join two garment pieces along original seamlines or as an insertion along newly created design lines. They’re equally successful on straight or curved horizontal and vertical seams. The width of the panel determines the length of the strips. However, too-short strips cause bunching and pulling, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum length of three times their width.

Wherever you decide to use it, a twisted bias-strip panel is an excellent way to add a special design element to your garments without a hit to your wallet. Kenneth D. King can show you how to apply it to straight seams and to gently curved seams. It works best in garments with some structure, like jackets and fitted skirts, and in dress-weight fabrics with some body. Silk dupioni, wools, linens, cottons, and other silks, including brocades, are all good fabric choices. Make the insertion base panel from the same material as the bias strips for a subtle textural effect, or use a fleshtoned organza or bobbinet (a cotton or silk tulle) to create a translucent base and the illusion of skin behind the twisted bias strips. Learn how to prep and attach the strips in this article from Threads issue #158.

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