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Bias sewing

Zana B | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all .. can anyone tell me why we are supposed to hang bias skirts … but we are never instructed to hang dress pieces when cut on the bias?  

I’m assuming because the skirt is more fitted and will have more stress on the sides perhaps?




  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Not really. It is because the hemline will hang out differently in different areas depending on how it was cut. Once constructed and hung out, you would then even up the hem and then hem it up. You would not be able to do this when it is in the pattern piece stage. The pattern piece could have one area of the hem on the straight and another part on the complete bias and these will hang out totally differently. By doing this you prevent your skirt from getting longer at just the sides or just the front and shorter on the vice versa. Hope I am clear.

    1. Zana B | | #2

      Thanks so much for the reply ...  unfortunately it doesn't really answer my question.    All my bias skirt patterns instruct you to hang the skirt (before doing the waistband, hem etc.)  ... and I undertstand why.   BUT none of my bias DRESS patterns ever instruct you to hang the pieces .. was just wondering why you would hang the skirts and not the dresses .. since they are both on the bias ???

      1. mygaley | | #3

        Your instincts are correct.  The ways of pattern mfgs. are strange, indeed.  If most of your garment, dress or skirt, is bias, hang it.  If you think it will put too much stress on the bodice, then hang it in such a way that only the skirt can hang (use clothespins).  Back when sewing was mostly Rules not Fun, every garment hung 24 hours before hemming.  When you come to think of it, almost all skirts have part of the hem that is bias.  God bless you Galey

        1. Zana B | | #4

          Thanks ... I figured as much and just thought it was a little odd!     I will try your suggestion and hang the dress pieces from about the skirt area down.

          1. mem | | #7

            you are right . Vionnet used to hang her bias fabric with little weights on the . They look like table cloth weights and the let them stretch before she cut out her pattern pieces.

          2. ixs | | #8

            Glad you mentioned Madame Vionnet, as she was the first modern couture designer and was a master of bias, as I'm sure you know.  I am the proud owner of the book about her with all its patterns (not cheap but worth it); I would assume if one is a student of bias, one would want to study her patterns.  Also, I think Threads has several articles about and by Charles Kleibacker, who is known for his bias designing; let me know if I am wrong on this......

            However, I haven't mastered bias sewing and designing myself and with traveling in an RV for long periods of time, don't have the opportunity to take sewing classes, so I get most of my information from "sewing" and fitting books, which I collect.

            I also watch Project Runway and wonder about the pattern drafting books that were mentioned on the program that got the one designer dismissed; can someone tell me about the authors and/or methods in the books?  I drafted a pattern one time, and it was all mathematical and not very interesting, to me.

            Thanx so much, ixs

          3. HeartFire2 | | #9

            Madaline Vionnets book was recently reprinted and its only about $75.00.
            Chalres Kleibacker is a doll, he is one of the nicest men I have met! but go to his web site, he has a great tutorial on a bias cut skirt
            you have to do this in internet explorer as it doesn't work in Mozilla!Basic pattern drafting is very mathematical, but once you get past the basics, it becomes very much an art form and a lot of fun!

          4. ixs | | #10

            Thanks for the info, will look into it.

      2. woodruff | | #5

        You might want to look at Marcy Tilton's bias articles in Threads mag (probably some on the website here). In one of the classes I took from her, she said that even after you get the bias stretched out enough to hem it fairly evenly, bias will keep on growing to some extent. She suggested not hanging ANY finished bias garment for that reason: It will get slightly longer and narrower each time it's vertical.Actually, her bias articles are interesting and useful in many ways. She employs a press-and-stretch technique on the bias pieces, right after they are cut out, that removes a lot of the stretch, making the end result much more predictable.

        1. Zana B | | #6

          Thank you ...  I will look them up.     I love the look of bias garments and would like to try and master it!

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