Have you ever wondered how Pippa Middleton’s dress managed to slink down her body so beautifully? It was bias cut. But what is bias cut? What difference does it make to a piece of clothing? This is how to create a lovely slinky, figure hugging skirt!
Silk satin, cut ‘on the bias’ can create one of the most superb skirts on earth.
But what does ‘on the bias’ actually mean and how does it work?
We’ll take a step back to explain… Fabric is usually cut either ‘on the grain’ or ‘on the bias’.
On the grain is referring to a pattern piece being lined up along the grain line of the fabric. This is in line with the edge of the cloth (the selvage). This image from a silk farm shows the silk yarn (threads) all lined up on the loom ready for the shuttle cock to be launched from side to side to add the weft yarn and create the silk cloth.
If you lay the centre of pattern pieces parallel to these grain lines, then your finished garment should hang straight as the yarn on the grain is strong and firm. Have a go yourself… Grab a piece of woven fabric maybe a handkerchief, or a serviette (table napkin). If you pull it in line with the grain lines (it should be cut on the grain), it will be firm and strong. FYI, the term ‘cross grain’ refers to lining patterns across the fabric (from side to side) rather than down the length of the cloth. This is not as strong as cutting ‘on the grain’.
However, if (please try this) you were to fold your handkerchief into a triangle and hold the two new corners on the folded edge and pull, the fabric has much more movement (give). Exactly on the 45 degree angle, fabric has a softer and more supple movement.
So, back to our garment construction. If pattern pieces are laid across the fabric so their centres are on an angle exactly 45 degrees to the grain line, then the garment will fall (hang) completely differently. This is referred to as ‘on the bias’ or ‘bias cut’.
Silk crepe satin, cut on the bias can create one of the most delicious and decedent skirts on this earth.
This stunning photograph of a Mussared bias cut skirt is by Ginger & Mint Photography.