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Conversational Threads

Bias tube

Hansi | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I sewed a bias tube and cut the pieces for an 8 gore skirt out yesterday.  Gosh you get some interesting effects!  Has anyone else tried this yet?  I really thought it was exciting.


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Jay, I'd love to hear what kind of fabric you used and what the final effects were. I had the best time working with Samina Mirza on this article, and tried a few variations with stripes and plaids, myself. I found that, if you're careful, you can do a decent job of matching stripes (esp. if they're even), but plaids are a bit trickier. If you look closely at the "Try it out" sundress, you might be able to detect where the seams are, although I tried to put the worst ones in the back! But actually, I rather liked the way the seams disrupted the pattern of the plaid and created a subtle area of interest.

    Did you do a single- or double-layer layout for your skirt? I've been thinking of trying a gored skirt with mitered stripes, and would probably have to cut that out in a single layer.


    1. Hansi | | #2

      Hi Carol,

      I'm so happy to have an opportunity to talk to someone about this!  I really thought it was one of the most interesting things I've ever done.

      I used 2 yards of 45" wide 100% cotton batik fabric that I got from an internet fabric shop.  The fabric is multicolored blue, orange and purple with large white flowers.  I used a double layout when I laid out the pieces.  On some of the skirt pieces you can't tell that there's a seam there; it just looks like the fabric design has gotten interesting.  I deliberately put one piece on the section of the envelope where 3 points meet (that last bit you sew up.  There are 3 different colors there and it looks wonderful.  My 10 year old daughter was with me part of the time I was cutting this out and she wanted all the scraps  because even the scraps looked cool.

      I spent this morning sewing the pieces together.  I've made this skirt before on a traditional layout and thought it looked pretty good, but I think I'll always use this bias ube for that pattern now.  Thanks for a wonderful article!


      1. carolfresia | | #3

        What a great idea to use a multi-colored fabric like your batik. I always want to piece those fabrics anyway, to bring the colors closer together in interesting ways, so this does sound like a good way to have that happen almost automatically.

        One of the things I liked about this technique was the way it makes bias layouts so straightforward. I like bias-cut garments, but it can really be a hassle to do a giant, single-layer layout, esp. with large or multiple pattern pieces.


        1. Hansi | | #4

          I'm new to sewing Carol, and this was the first time I'd done anything on the bias.  I agree that it made it simple.  And again, the way it changed the fabric and made it look complex  and interesting was very satisfying.

    2. rjf | | #5

      That is an interesting article.  Nice and mathy which I like.  The little girl's sundress reminds me of the Japanese lanterns we used to make as kids and she looks very happy in hers.  It seems like a good article to go with the Brooks Delormes article.  She seems to like the odd grainline effect.                      rjf 

      1. carolfresia | | #6

        The fact is, that little model was happy because she was about to get a piece of candy! She did like the dress, however, though I think maybe the spaghetti straps were a little too skinny for optimal comfort. But with pre-made bias, how can you not be tempted to make lots of thin little bias straps?


        1. sarahkayla | | #7

          The bias tube article just re screwed my head on in a new way.. I have already made mydelf a black linen sundress-- I copied the Gap summer dress that is all worn out.. I just have to bind the neck and arm holes.. today I made a camisole for a client... The dress took me all of a yard and a half of linen.. I couldn't be more pleased with the results. i think i will now have a wardrobe of quick and dirty clothes for the summer. Bias works on me but was just too hard to figure out the layouts...especially since i am pattern challanged. (i tend to do best just copying clothes that I already own.)

          as for the art-clothing in the same issue.. i think that there is a universe of younger designers playing with deconstruction in all of the arts.. not just clothing construction.. living in an age of the highly manufactured the stuff that is so jarring to many of you.. the rough seams and the like is exactly the point.. this isn't making a copy of RTW but rather showing that the garment is not something you can pick up at the mall. I deal with that issue in my own work.. I had briefly thought of getting an embroidery machine.. but realized that the imperfections in my work... is what gives it value to my clients.. it is made by a person and not by a machine..

          Yes, there is a certain roughness that you very young can pull off better than I can at this point in my life (tomorrow I turn 42).. but what can I learn from looking at clothing construction in a new way..

          My work used to be very wild and wooly.. i have gotten more precise in my work.. but also strive for the kind of energy that has given my work life from the very beginning.. . can you make a dress that works outside the box??/ what is a dress, what makes something clothing????i think these are all valid questions..

          do some google searches.. there is a universe of young women doing clothing as a sort of feminist act..

          sarah in nyc

  2. sewphaedra | | #8

    The article doesn't say, but I assume you cut off all selvedges? (or is that selvages?)

    1. Hansi | | #9

      No, I left them because they're a finished edge and won't unravel.  I also did a zig zag stitch along all the cut edges.

      Have you tried it yet?

    2. carolfresia | | #10

      You don't have to cut off the selvages--though if the selvage is very wide you might want to so that your seam allowances aren't too wide. If you do cut them off, it's a good idea to finish the edges somehow, as Jay did, and it's certainly easiest to do this when the fabric is still a big flat rectangle.


      1. sewphaedra | | #11

        Won't it hang funny if you leave on the selvedges? I mean, I always cut them off when I make drapes because they don't relax like the rest of the fabric does.

        1. carolfresia | | #12

          Depends on the fabric. You're right--sometimes the selvages will distort the drape of the fabric when it's on the bias, but for the basic, plain-weave cottons I've tried, there wasn't any problem at all. It's good to take this into consideration before making the tube, though--thanks for bringing this point up.


          1. GhillieC | | #13

            I have been playing with this using a very cheap denim border fabric.  I am trying to come up with a bias skirt (or maybe something else) where the border pops up in unexpected places. 

            My problem is that the fabric is very wide but I only have a two yard length.  This means that the second fold and stitch does not work as the remaining length of fabric after the first fold and stitch is shorter than the width (I hope you are still with me!).

            The only way out of this that I can see is to cut about a foot off the width, on the non-border side, and either attach it to the length or use it for straight grain elements such as a waist band, or if the thing turns into a top, collar and sleeves.  Is there a better way?

            Sarah, I have an embroidery module because my hands are no longer keen on doing too much sewing.  I am trying to 'deconstruct' free designs off the web to make them more my own, and will eventually digitise my own designs.  But nothing, definitely nothing, cute.



            P.S. Happy birthday, Sarah

            Edited 5/17/2003 5:00:07 AM ET by P

          2. rjf | | #14

            Would it work if you changed width for length?  It looks like you fold the short end in half as the starting point and go from there.          rjf

          3. GhillieC | | #16

            I am afraid that does not work.  The width is narrower than the length, but not by too much.  It sounds as though the correspondent asking about the child's dress may have the same problem.



          4. carolfresia | | #17


            Yes, narrowing the width in relation to the length will give you a few more twists to work with. You can make a bias tube out of pretty much any rectangle that's longer than it is wide, but the closer the piece is to a square, the less of a twist you'll get (you can even make one from a square, but it ends up being, essentially, an envelope).

            Take a look a the "twist ratio" diagrams, and the quick estimator chart, to see what kind of tube you might be able to get out of your fabric--and be sure to consider your pattern pieces and how much length/width they'll need. If your original fabric is 2 yds. long, the tube will end up being about 51 in., which should be long enough for a skirt, I'd guess.  If you narrow your fabric to 36 in., and the length is 72 in., you'll get a tube with seams like the "1 to 2" tube shown on p.32. But that might not be enough for the whole garment, in which case, you'll need to use the remaining bit without a border for other sections, as you suggested.


          5. sewdude | | #53

            PS: we do the bias tubes really easy! My wife sews the tubes, I turn 'em with the fasturn tool.  Can not say how easy it makes this!!!

          6. bellefille | | #54

            I read all 54 posts on this discussion, and not one said which issue this article was in.   Or is it on the website?  It sounds so wonderful and fun, I MUST at least read the article that has everyone so excited!

          7. carolfresia | | #55

            Hi, Linda,

            That article is in issue 107, June/July 2003. If you don't have it, you can order it from our "Back Issues" sales area (go to http://www.threadsmagazine.com, and look in the right-hand column for "back issues). Shameless plug...but of course you can also go to your local library and see if they have the issue. It is a fun technique, quick and easy. And I see more and more bias-cut skirts in the stores these days, in all sorts of fabrics. I must dig out some soft corduroy I bought lo these many years ago and do something current and stylish with it!Carol

          8. bellefille | | #56

            You're right.  I've seen many bias skirts recently in mail-order catalogs, and they tout them as the answer to EVERYthing!  I'm off now to the bak issues section--thanks for the info!


            P.S.  Checked out your picture on the webpage:  it's nice to be able to put a face with the hundreds of messages from you I've read in this Forum!

          9. carolfresia | | #57

            Ha Ha! We didn't think anyone ever looked at those pictures of us, except maybe our mothers! But I'm glad folks are finding out who we are, at least so you all know that we're real people who are basically sewing fanatics like you, except that we have the wonderful opportunity to interact closely with our authors and learn their technique close hand as we edit manuscripts.

            Re: bias skirts--boy, they've always been considered anathema for anyone larger than a string bean, but when gored or panel skirts are cut on the bias, and if you use a not-to-clingy fabric, they really do look flattering on a huge range of figure types. One thing I learned the hard way is that if you line a bias-cut garment, cut the lining on the bias, too. I cheated once (due to fabric shortfall), and ended up with a nice skirt that just didn't hang properly because the lining seemed to be going in the wrong direction all the time. Another thing to keep in mind is that skirts and dresses on the bias hang better if there's a center front and center back seam. The style these days is more slip-like, with no center seams, but if you want to avoid twisting, consider adding CF and CB seams to the pattern. Garments with more ease, and fabrics with more body (heavy linens and the like) don't tend to twist as much as slinky little slippery dresses, so you can probably skip a center seam in those.


          10. bellefille | | #58

            SO!  Under the guise of editing manuscript, you're really having the time of your lives!  I envy you!  Thanks for the info on the bias, too!  I was wondering if you didn't have a center seam, whether you'd be "crooked"--and you answered that!  I enjoy this forum SO much!


          11. carolfresia | | #59

            Yup, this job is fun. Not enough time to sew, though, and that's all the more frustrating because we're surrounded by inspiration literally all the time. Immersed in it--stuff I probably wouldn't have thought twice about if I were left to my own devices lands on my desk and I'm just hooked.

            I"m thinking about bias garments I've made (not that many, but more in the future now that I can "do the tube"); I have a skirt, one of those "2-hour skirt" patterns, that's basically just two, rather wide, a-line pieces with a waistband and side zipper. No CF or CB seams, and this is in an inexpensive rayon print. It is not at all my best sewing, and in fact I made it before I knew much at all about bias sewing, so I didn't follow any real rules--just cut and sewed. But by some incredible piece of luck, the fabric and pattern work perfectly together, and the skirt has this wonderful, fluid drape and movement (it doesn't twist around at all--I think because it's quite full). So I wear it, and I'm too lazy to go back and redo the zipper! And the hemline isn't too straight--that's always a liability in bias garments, which will want to stretch unpredictably over time.  


          12. SewTruTerry | | #60


            There has been so much feed back in this thread regarding the "tube" it would be fun to see a column on how the readers took this article to the next level.  I know that I had to try the technique right away (did not even finish reading the magizine) and I was really blown away by the simplicity of it all.  I have plans for scores of more skirts or pants like in the article.

          13. sarahkayla | | #19

            first of all - many thanks for the birthday greetings...as for the embroidery machine.. much of what i do is Judaica.. most of my work inclides a fair amount of hebrew text.. .

            what i do, is machine applique the letters to my work. it is painstaking , pesky work. In my constant quest of trying to figure out how to actually earn a living at what i do i constantly play with the basic economics.. do i figure out how to work fasterand cheaper, or do i try to charge more for my work?

            in making the economic decision.. to buy or not to buy the embroidery machine.. one of my issues was the precision of the look. it is just too cold and precise looking.. additionally at the point I was thinking of buying a machine there was only one typeface available for machine embroidery and it was ugly and oldfashined looking.

            other reasons i didn't go with the embroidery machine  include the fact that when i use lettering is is on a much larger scale than is usually available on a machine.. letters several inches tall (5-6) so that too wouldn't work too well.

            In the end.. as my sewing skills have improved, I have made the decision to raise my prices - I realized that I really don't want to do production work and am much more interested in doing work that lives where art and craft intersect.. (OK, that discusssion of exactly what that place is and what rightfully lives there is an entirely different discussion.. and one that i find really interesting... but at this moment that is where my work belongs)

            another side bar to all of this is as embroidery machines have become more widely available ,the fact that my letters are just full of personality looks far more attractive to my potential clients.. just as work that is clearly made by hand has more value in the craft marketplace these days.

            If I had an embroidery machine i would probably use it extensively on the slighly bohemian clothing my DD adores for me to make.  She has the wardrobe i coveted when I was a teenager... although some of the ethnic #### that i wore to shreds would have looked great on her....

            sarah in nyc

          14. GhillieC | | #20

            I know what you mean about the 'coldness' of computerised machine embroidery. I don't like it either.

            I would be interested in methods that anyone has come up with to overcome this - perhaps a judicious mixture of machine and hand embroidery. That lovely jacket in the latest Threads challenge which mixed free machine and hand embroidery is a step in the right direction.



          15. carolfresia | | #21

            In an upcoming issue: machine embroidery that's been hand-embellished by Kayla Kennington, a 2-time Bernina Fashion Show winner. Hope you'll like it!


          16. sarahkayla | | #22

            I do lots of hand guided embroidery on a conventional machine.. (lots of satin stitch)I also have been doing lots of calligraphing lettering freehand using thinned down acrylic paints, i often combine the painted letters with beading or hand or machine stitching.

            i also have been drafting my own letters.. there is an energy that the hand drafted letters have that standardized letters don't have.. I can create more of a mood with the hand done letters.. now this has taken years to develop my skills so i could get good enough to do it.. it is much quicker than tracing out the letters and stitching around them .. except that it has taken over ten years to refine my lettering to the point at which it isn't awful.

            I just finished a tallit yesterday that used a neckband from a rabbinical school -my client was graduating..  the look was really pretty but the computerized letters were just plain ugly. OK, I'm a bit of a lettering snob.. but they were UGLEEEEE.

            sarah in nyc

          17. Michelle | | #23

            Next to coming half way round the world to see your work ... do you think you could post some pictures for us to see? ;)

            Drishat Shalom,


          18. sarahkayla | | #24

            sure!!! but first i have to fugure out how to post pix


          19. rjf | | #25

            It's pretty easy once you get past the "terrified" stage.  If your picture is already in the computer and you know where and what name, you're almost done.  When you've written your note, scroll to the bottom where you will see five purple boxes: "post", "preview", etc and the fourth one is "attach file". Click on that and follow the directions.  Wait a second until you see the file name appear on a list at the bottom and then click "done".   rjf

            Now that I've tested it, I should explain that the picture is a Christmas stocking knitted in Fair Isle and cut open for blocking.  The white pointy things are toe and heel.

            Edited 5/24/2003 7:29:40 AM ET by rjf

          20. carolfresia | | #26

            Cute sock! And thanks for giving directions for posting. Hope to see some bias tube things from Sarah and others soon...


          21. Jmars0727 | | #27

            <<....'coldness' of computerised machine embroidery. I don't like it either.

            I would be interested in methods that anyone has come up with to overcome this - perhaps a judicious mixture of machine and hand embroidery.....>>

            This probably isn't the correct place to post this, but after reading the comments on computerized embroidery, I wanted to add some remarks.  Let me say that first and foremost: "I love to sew".  I bought the embroidery machine to embellish the things that I made.  Took three years for me to remember that.  I think a lot of home (and business) embroiderers fall into a rut and do not see the possibilities of the machine and software.  When learning to use the machine -- especially if you do not have a compatible software -- a new embroiderer seems to frequently begin by putting some purchased design on the left front chest of a shirt and (sometimes) gets stuck there.  I love to do hand work, but frequently found myself not adding that 'final touch' to  a project because I knew if I started adding all the details I envisioned there was a good chance that it would never be finished in this lifetime.  I don't think that machine embroidery can ever completely replace hand work, but I do think that it makes a great starting point.  Just recently I used it to add a scalloped hem to my daughters silk chiffon wedding gown.  With a little math, and some experimenting, I was able to get the exact number of scallops I wanted, in the place I wanted them. In addition to the scallops (which I created in the machine compatible software) I added  small 'extra' stitches to each scallop which marked the placement for [hand] beaded fringe -- which I later added. 

            Machine embroidery can be cold and possible 'sterile' looking.  I think that this is especially true if you stop there.  I'm adding a couple attachments to this post just to show some suggestions of what can be done when machine embroidery is used as a jumping off point instead of a 'finishing' touch.  The black jacket in the pictures was done with a a preprogrammed embroidery card from Bernina [Iris Lee Designs] -- the vines and tendrils were free-motion, and the beading was by hand (it doesn't show up too well in the picture).  The closure was also hand made.  The white cape was one of the first projects I attempted with the emb. machine and software.  I used the machine to establish the general shape of the design, and to embroider all of the background leaves and flowers.  Included in the embroidery design were the outlines/placement lines for the silk ribbon flowers and their beaded centers.  By the way, the beads are a mix of glass seed beads, semi-precious gemstone chips, as and pearls.  The cape was made for my niece, so I included pearls from her great-grandmother's and her great-aunt's necklaces.

            Julie M.

          22. rjf | | #28

            Fantastic!! I love the ribbon flowers and how you combined them with machine embroidered white flowers.  And the beading makes everything sparkle.  It's absolutely great.  I hope you like it as much as I do.        rjf

          23. Jmars0727 | | #32

            Thanks so much for the kind comments.  I have to admit I was pretty pleased with the results -- My niece seems to like it too, although she says she is saving it for her wedding.  May be a while since she isn't even engaged (that I know of).

          24. stitchmd | | #29

            Your jacket looks like Vogue 7281, a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit top, is it? If so how was the fit? In discussing this pattern line most people seem to think they run big, but I had to go up at least two sizes to fit this as a blouse.

          25. Susannah | | #30

            I thought I recognised the black jacket pattern, too.  I have made this pattern up twice (as a blouse) and didn't have too much trouble with fit.  The end product was a bit shorter on me than the photo on the envelope gave me to believe (and I am short waisted!).  I made some slight adjustment to the side seams.

            I found the instructions quite clear, and with the second top, I included contrast piping and covered buttons, and had a go at bound buttonholes for the first time (carefully following some instructions in a past issue of Threads).

            I do think, however, that the pattern would have to be adjusted quite a bit to turn it into a jacket, particularly in length.  The black jacket with its embroidery is certainly stunning!

          26. Jmars0727 | | #31

            << Your jacket looks like Vogue 7281 >>

            Yes, it is Vogue 7281.  I went up a couple of sizes since I wanted to use it as a jacket.  Als omitted sewing the darts to make the embroidery easier -- just added a little more shaping to the side seam.  The size I usually wear was a bit tight even as a blouse.  Even using a larger size, one of the things I liked best was that there wasn't as much fabric under the arms as there frequently is with dolman-type sleeves.

            Julie M

          27. carolfresia | | #33

            That's what I call making the most of your embroidery  machine!! Wonderful work, Julie; thanks for sharing it with us. Do you enter your work in any of the competitions out there for machine embroidery or garment design? Your art-to-wear looks as if it belongs there....


          28. Jmars0727 | | #34

            <<Do you enter your work in any of the competitions out there for machine embroidery or garment design?>>

            Carol, Thanks so much for the kind words -- they were a real ego booster!! 

            I have thought about entering some of my work in a competition, but never really knew where to start.  My local Bernina dealer did take the white cape to BU 3 years ago.  That is as close as I have ever come to entering a competition.  I made the black jacket for Iris Lee  last year -- she wanted to wear it at BU to showcase the designs on her (then) new design card.  If you have any suggestions/thoughts on the how/where/when/etc.'s of entering something in a competition, I would really love to hear (read) them.  (I hope that your question wasn't rhetorical).

            Julie M. 

          29. kai230 | | #35

            Beautiful work, Julie. Is there a State Fair near you, or a County Fair? How abt a local library where you can be the featured artist? Or a fabric shop?

          30. carolfresia | | #36

            Well, to start, there's the Inspired by Threads challenge; check the Threads homepage--I think the notice about that is still up there, if not, it'll be somewhere in the Feature Library (at the left of the screen). The deadline is looming, though, look soon! 

            I think Sulky has an embroidery contest, the Sulky 2003 Challenge, which has a deadline of July 31. Another place to look is in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. They seem to list contests, and I believe sponsor some, too. Some of the machine dealers sponsor contests, as at BU--Pfaff does one. And there's the Bernina Fashion Show, held at the Houston Quilt Festival, but it's an invitational, I think--you'd have to look into that. Local to you, there might be ASG-sponsored competitions, state or county fairs, etc. I've never sewn for competition, but I'll bet it's fun to do, and you might bring home some nice prizes!


          31. HNYMAMA | | #37

            Those are beautiful jackets

          32. JulieP25 | | #38

            Absolutly beautiful, do take your work to a county fair and try out the sulky challenge. Hope to see more.


          33. KarenW | | #39

            I can see this Gatherings forum is a place I can easily be spending way too much time.... ;)

            Julie the jacket is GORGEOUS.  That's the kind of fabric you could pay $200/yd for. 

            Re: the bias tubes... I am going to have to read the article more carefully, have only read the beginning, and the sample fabric I used just to try had me feeling dyslexic or like I was doing it with two left feet.... I think my first problem was in the 2nd step, after first seam sewn, the fabric folding over didn't seem to extend as in the diagram.  I guess I didn't read the length/width ratio section yet though!  But I think I tried w/a piece of 45" fabric.  Oh well.  Back to the drawing board! I LOVE the idea of trying this with a border print. How well planned and precise yet at the same time random and avantgarde it will look to see where the border appears!   Another thought I had was to pipe each of the seams for another type of visual emphasis on them. 

            Thanks for all the input and explanation Carol!


          34. GhillieC | | #40

            I am progressing slowly with my border print bias tube.

            I had two metres of a sixty inch wide fabric, which meant that it was practically a square piece and, as Karen says, it did not fold across as the instructions would have you expect.

            I ripped it down to forty eight inches wide and then it worked fine and I had plenty enough tube for a simple shift dress for slightly overweight me. The ripped off strip will be used for sleeves.

            By rolling the tube around I have managed to cut a dress with the border starting by the left shin and winding snake like round the body and finishing up at the back left shoulder. I managed to match the pattern down the right hand side. The first time I stitched this seam it did not drape properly. There were several of the piecing seams involved and I figured that this was the trouble. I restitched the seam without incorporating these diagonal seams, stopping and back tacking as I reached one and starting again on the other side. It is now fine.

            Now I am left with the 'ordinary' things to do - a front placket, a bias bound neckline, short sleeves and the hem.



          35. kai230 | | #41

            a dress with the border starting by the left shin and winding snake like round the body and finishing up at the back left shoulder

            Oh my! This sounds wonderful! Do you have a pic?

          36. carolfresia | | #43

            Ghillie, that sounds great! And isn't it amazing how far a yard (or meter) of fabric goes even on the bias when you use the tube method? I've actually got a tube sewn up and ready for a dress at home. Mine is navy with white pinstripes, and frankly I'm not looking forward to getting those stripes to miter nicely at CF and CB! But they're such high contrast against the navy that they'll have to match (or deliberately not match, which is actually just as tricky) to look right.  Now, when will I have time to get this dress cut out and sewn? I need it by the end of the month!


          37. JulieP25 | | #42

            Hi! I've only had the opportunity to skim over the article. No time to sew right now. As soon as I can I think I'll make a bias dress using this technique. It looks easy.


          38. sarahkayla | | #44

            it is insanely easy.

            sarah in nyc

          39. barbc | | #45

            I came here to read about one subject and found my night gone.........just gone!!!

            But, what inspiration! :D

            Of course I had to check out the Bias Tube chat..... What beautiful things you folks have posted!  I love the jacket and cape!  Also those socks.... makes me want to knit some socks.   :-) 

            I am a generous plus size, I have to think about it, and reread the article, but it would be great to make something fairly simple to try it out.

            BTW, apparently it has been a long time since I came here and posted because the forum didn't have me one file.  I had to reregister.....  Maybe now I will come back more often.

            Barb C.

          40. rjf | | #46

            I only skipped one morning of checking the new messages and it's taken half an hour to read and think about them.  Now I've got to run so I'm going to leave the note I would have written with you if you don't mind.

            Duties of the mother-of-the-groom:  Wear beige and keep your mouth closed.    rjf

          41. carolfresia | | #48

            Aren't you glad you've only been mother of the bride? ;-)

            Welcome, BarbC! Nice to see you here on Gatherings. You should give the bias tube a try. It's a wonderful way to do an easy bias layout, esp. if you're tall and your pattern pieces are long. Think of a nice linen skirt cut on the bias, even with a simple elastic waist and a slight flare at the hem. Lovely and cool in the summer with a long top, and quick to sew. And if you're enterprising, you can do something interesting with the seams--add piping, or some decorative topstitching along them, or stencil to emphasize the lines. Otherwise, they're not that obvious in prints or even in solids. It's the stripes that can get ya!


          42. rjf | | #50

            I think I remember "Sew lengthwise to lengthwise and crosswise to crosswise" but I don't want to go look for this month's issue right now.  (It's almost worn out from showing everyone the Brook article) If that's true, it seems that the stripes should match okay.                                                 I'll check.      rjf

          43. carolfresia | | #52

            That's true, matching the stripes is, theoretically, a no-brainer, bur once you take a seam allowance here and there, you can get a bit off by the time you reach the far end and sew up the "envelope". And you do have to be careful about keeping the stripes aligned as you sew--on most machines without a walking foot, you get a little slippage that leaves your stripes out of whack. I worked on mine last night--I decided to sew a CF and CB seam on rectancles of fabric, mitering the stripes first, then cut the dress front and back out from these mitered fabric sections. Lots and lots of pinning and hand-basting. I haven't even gotten to the machine yet! And one thing I didn't even think about, but will matter if you want to miter stripes, is that the two pieces to be mitered need to be laid out at right angles to each other. So my very roomy layout turned out to be not as roomy as I had expected, but still worked fine. I feel a little dumb about not having taken that into account first...

            So anyone out there mitering stripes, take heed!


          44. Michelle | | #49

            <<Duties of the mother-of-the-groom:  Wear beige and keep your mouth closed. >>

            ......and your purse open.


            Edited 6/10/2003 5:00:37 PM ET by shelly

          45. rjf | | #51

            I've only experienced "mother-of-the-bride" but it seems that everyone involved spends money.  Weddings must keep our economy going.              rjf

          46. rjf | | #47

            ps.   I might have been the sock knitter.      rjf

          47. opalmom | | #61

            Just bumping this one to the top cos I've started my tube and this message relates to a ? I'm having

            Karenw wrote (in June 2003):

            Re: the bias tubes... I am going to have to read the article more carefully, have only read the beginning, and the sample fabric I used just to try had me feeling dyslexic or like I was doing it with two left feet.... I think my first problem was in the 2nd step, after first seam sewn, the fabric folding over didn't seem to extend as in the diagram. 

            After doing the folding and sewing I still have that little dinky piece left over at the bottom....am I doing something WRONG or do you just rotary cut straight across the "envelope" to make a straight edge at the bottom (and therefore, assisting in turning the tube). 

            I've reread that article a gazillion times in the past three days...and I'm just not getting it at all.  Am I just a big dork?


            Thank you


          48. carolfresia | | #62

            Hi, Nancy,

            Where do you have a little piece left over? If you've sewn the envelope properly, it should be entirely closed, as in step 4. At that point, cut open the first end you sewed (you can cut either, really, but that first end always seems a little easier to me). I usually press the line I want to cut so I know I'm staying more or less in the right place. Once that first end is opened, the tube will flatten out and you can cut the second end. The closer your original piece of fabric is to square, the less it will look like the diagrams, but the process will work exactly the same.

            If I haven't answered your question, let me know, and I'll try again!


          49. opalmom | | #63

            Hi Carol,

            The little piece left over was at the bottom left.  I was starting out with a strange width of fabric so I figured that was probably the problem (???)  So what I did was when I was done sewing it up....I rotary cut the bottom to make it straight, ironed the top where I started (for a cut line) and cut that so I wound up with a tube.

            It worked...but I still can't figure out how I wound up with that extra little piece.  I've got another two yards of standard 44" quilting cotton that I am going to use to make a six gore skirt (I like quilting cotton for my skirts, they just hold up better)...and I'll let you know if it happens again.

            Either way I thank you for responding :-)

  3. Ramona | | #15

    Can someone please tell me how to make the bias tube of fabric from the 30" x 36" rectangle of fabric?  The instructions for the adult garment don't seem to apply to the child's dress.  Threads/July 2003/Samina's

    1. carolfresia | | #18

      Hi, Ramona,

      The instructions will work for the little girl's dress, but, as I said in my answer to Ghillie, the tube itself will be wider than it is long--very different proportions from those shown in the diagram. But that's OK--you can still use it, and in this case, I wanted it shorter still, so I cut it down to make a dress with a finished length of maybe 15 in., plus allowances for casing and a ruffle at the top. Then, I took the extra bit that I cut off the bottom, and sliced it into strips to make the ties and straps. The fact that the dress is gathered at a 2-to-1 ratio (or a little more, maybe) is deceptive--it looks as though the tube should be longer and narrower than it really is.

      Good luck--and let me know how it goes. If you're still in doubt, take a small piece of fabric, maybe 4 x 6 in., and try making a tube with that (use very  narrow seam allowances!). It will be closer to the proportions of the child's garment and give you an idea of what you're aiming for.


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