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Need Help – Dress Bodice on Diagonal

NeedleOn | Posted in General Discussion on


I am new to this forum. I am trying to make a gown with a empire line that is cut on the diagonal and the bodice is strapless with princess seaming. I am using a crepe backed satin and am wondering if I need to cut the side bodice pieces on the bias and the center panel on the straight of grain? Any ideas out there? Also, any suggestions on rouching? Straight of grain or bias? I want it to cover the bodice of this dress after I get the satin fitted properly but want the rouching to be tight not billowy.


  1. User avater
    Sewista | | #1

    I am having a hard time picturing this. Do you have a pattern number? Are you using the diagonal because you have a print that you want to work that way? I am not sure why you wouldn't use the grain if this is a princess seam. Would love to help but need more info.


    1. NeedleOn | | #2

      Sorry I clicked before saying thanks for your interest and help.

    2. KharminJ | | #3

      Following what Sewista asked ~ Your description *sounds* like the plan is needlessly complex - can you attach or link a picture, sketch or pattern to help us with visualizing?

      Meanwhile, a couple more questions ~ Will the ruching be made with a second layer of fabric over the bodice? If so, use straight of grain for all 3 pieces of the bodice, as a base.If you intend to add the ruching to the satin itself, you definitely want to use straight of grain. Bias will never get and stay tight, because it stretches!When you say Empire styling, I'm assuming there's a seam between the bust and the waist. If your reason for wanting bias is for the drape of the skirt, you can always make that change at this seam.Sure sounds like *my* answer to the equation "Princess + Empire + Ruching = ?" is "Straight of Grain", doesn't it.Happy designing - Hope this helps!Kharmin

  2. User avater
    Sewista | | #4

    Now I understand. Thank you for the email. The bodice is a princess seamed bodice but is cut on the diagonal at the empire waistline. That is what I am understanding. Also that the empire waistline will not lie nicely.

    Here are my thoughts. If the bodice is on grain, and I am 99% sure it is, the diagonal line of the empire waist is the issue. These diagonals are bias and are notorious for stretching. My solution would be to cut a piece of twill tape the exact size that you want your waistline to be minus seams. Cut this back 1/4 inch. Quartermark this twill tape. In other words find the center and then the halfway marks between the center and the seam allowance. Do the same with the diagonal waistline. Now match the centers of the bodice and the twill tape and match the 1/4 marks as well. Baste the bodice diagonal to fit the twill tape. Do this basting down the center of the tape just inside the 5/8 seam line. What you are doing is basically taking a tape that won't stretch, making it a quarter inch smaller than you need, and basting the garment edge to fit it. This will bring your empire waist back under control and prevent any further stretching.

    I think this will do it if I am understanding the problem correctly. If you lack twill tape you can also use clear elastic, but I would prefer the twill tape.

    Anyone else care to comment?


    1. KharminJ | | #5

      Sewista - you have more details on the problem than the rest of us ~ could you (or NeedleOn) post a copy of her letter to you here, so we all know what you now know? Stabilizing tape in the waist line sounds like a great fix for flaky bias. ;)Kharmin

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