Thursday, 18 August 2011

Q & A: Cut on the Bias

Some how I've managed to spook myself! 

I started preparing this darling Q & A post for you last Friday, and after a bunch of googling, I became really scared about how much I don't know about sewing. That AND my challenging Sew Weekly theme, but we'll get to that later.

First up, I posted my Minty Fresh Oolong, a Colette Pattern, and a very good and easy one to follow. Proposing a new fun post idea, you ask questions and I answer them a la Agony Aunt of the Sewing World. Then as I'd imagined a few of you had some questions about bias, so I thought 'NIFTY', I'll get a little Introduction to Sewing 101 on myself and for you. And then I googled, and then I was scared:
"Only a few designers ever master the bias cut, and very few home sewers dare to take the plunge." says Marcy over at 101 - Threads
"Because of the diagonal fall of the fabric, bias cut garments are more difficult to sew than normal garments. If the garment is not made a certain way, the seams and hems can bunch and twist, instead of lying smoothly against the wearer’s body," says someone at Wisegeek
and my fave new sewing crush:
"Sewing delicate fabrics on the bias is HARD," says Daughter Fish in her post Silly Regrets and Sewing on the Bias.

So just to put that to one side *deep breaths*, I'll just look over some of your gorgeous questions:

The lovely Esz asks, "So it doesn't need a stretch fabric to just slide over your head?"

A gorgeous Carolyn says, "Just pulls over with no zip?"

"What's the deal with cutting on the bias? I missed that bit in sewing 101," says Mona, the babe from Oxford.

Ok, so BEFORE I googled, I would have answered you all suchly: YEP, you can cut your pattern (for this Oolong) diagonally (just follow the instructions and pictures) and you can put it all together without needing a zipper and using straight normal cotton. It kinda moves a little when you slide it on, stretching to your curves when you wear it. And it kinda feels different than a normal dress. A normal not-cut-on-the-bias dress, I mean. 

And the deal Mona? Before I googled, I'd say it's a pretty easy deal, you just follow the little old instructions in Colette Patterns booklet and it'll be a breeze. You have to make sure you put those pattern pieces the way they say though. 

And the scary deal with cutting on the bias? You could stuff it up, make it not so much on the bias, and therefore tricky to get on, and bubbly around the seams. But, I followed the instructions about cutting it, hanging it overnight, and then hanging it for a bit before hemming it. And in my googling spree, I've found a great step by step sew through on Sew Country Chick's blog, who only made hers recently, and is a bit more eloquent than old thrifty here.

But try anything, that's my advice! Try anything, on cheap or thrifted material, and then you'll never be sad if you stuff it up. More Bias Besties are Bag-n-telle and Wikipedia of course, and google. If you dare. More soon on my silk dilemma and how I try and get to know fabrics, but you can jump over to the Sew Weekly if you need to see this week's silk/brocade dress!

And lastly, the amazing Don from Sydders says "Question- Is this a secret new dye technique? Has summer hit Melbourne already?"

Yes, secret dye technique fo sho, happy accidents happen in the wash (I've just put another load of material on, so fingers crossed no happy accidents this time)... and taking these photos took no more than 5 minutes. It was freaking freezing and I jumped up and down a lot while Husbie set the lighting (or whatever he does) to keep warm, and a few random poses later, I was back in the car! Also Don, the minty fresh dress photos were taken right around the corner from my current abode in Melbs, and these photos were all from Newtown and Enmore! We had to visit our old haunts recently! Gotta love N'town!

P.s I think I have to call this kind of blogpost Soapbox instead of Q & A? Hope you can handle a little blah blah blah!


  1. THANK YOU for answering! I haven't made anything on the bias yet so I've not discovered it's wonder - nor its pitfalls haha.

    Thankfully, pretty much all my fabric is hauls from Savers where I never pay more than $7 a piece (and that $7 usually goes towards something like a queen size bed sheet - Economics WIN) I think I've got a bit of room to play.

    Do you find that you're having urges to make lots of summer clothing even though it's going to be freezing in Melbourne for a few months yet? I have no illusions about it being warm until December and yet I've made 2 full skirted summer dresses in the past two weeks and I'm resisting all urges to make another one.

  2. lovely grungy holga-ish shots..

    probably wasn't much warmer here on the weekend than melbourne...

  3. Lol! relax, bias isn't as scary as it sounds, as you have proved with your wonderful creation!
    That's how all those amazing slip-style dresses from the thirties were slipped over ladies heads, and with no zips to speak of, because they were all cut on the bias. It does use up a heck of a lot more fabric, but the results are slinkily worth it. I *really* have to check out that gorgeous pattern, and I wish I could get my hands on your other pattern, that one with the little bow on the front from your Sydney harbour striped dress, I just adored that one too!

  4. Thought I recognized that cat! There is something very special about bias-cut dresses.


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