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Conversational Threads

Linen on the bias

eas | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hello out there–this is my first post in Threads although I do lurk around here frequently.

I have been sewing off and on for years so my skill level never seems to change much, so I am seeking info here.

The current project is a simple linen dress, vneck pull on, empire waist, pull on. I have been thinking about how to finish the skirt seams (no serger) without adding any extra stiffness to the skirt–there are three seams in the skirt. And that started me thinking about the stiffness of the skirt in general.

So my questions is: should I cut the skirt on the bias? The fabric is a mid-weight linen (so yummy!) Would that make it softer or would it just make the seam stiffness problem even more pronounced?

Thanks for any thoughts you might share.


  1. woodruff | | #1

    Marcy Tilton, sewing teacher, designer, and author often featured in Threads, highly recommends cutting linen on the bias. She says this makes the fabric softer, drapier, and more wrinkle-resistant. I think you could probably find tips about this by doing a search at the Threads website.

    Some bits of advice I remember from a class I took:

    1. Use 1 1/2" seam allowances, and thread-mark them. A bias-cut garment gets skinnier when it hangs, and you might need the extra width to get the right look and fit.

    2. Marcy recommends laying the cut and marked piece on the ironing board and using the steam iron to gently stretch the whole piece lengthwise. This sounds weird, but the idea is to simulate what's going to happen anyway when the garment is worn. It will reduce the amount of uncontrolled stretch before you do the hemming.

    3. When sewing the vertical seams, use a slight zigzag, as the fabric, even stretched, will continue to grow a bit. You want the seams to be as flexible as the rest of the fabric.

  2. SewNancy | | #2

    Linen on the bias is lovely and flattering to wear. The next post after yours gives you all the information you need.

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