How to Sew on the Bias


Hi, I’m Haley. I’m the pattern designer here
at Seamwork. You can find us at Seamwork.com. We are a community of sewists that are all
about designing and sewing our own wardrobes, so check us out! Today, I am going to teach
you all the basics you need to know for making your first bias-cut garment. We’re going to
be covering what is bias, cutting, stabilizing, construction, and finishing. The bias grain
is super stretchy and malleable, and this can make for really lovely garments, but it
can also be a little bit tricky to sew. But that same malleable nature is what provides
bias-cut garments with their natural ease and flexibility. I am here to urge you to
keep it really simple when making your first bias-cut garment. And you’ll find that most
garments that are intended to be cut on the bias are really simple anyway. Things that
are really great for the bias include camisoles, simple woven tees, and wrap skirts. Basically,
you’re going to want to avoid anything that’s super super fussy wtih 8 darts and a ton of
seams and closures. That just simply is gonna fight against you when you are sewing a bias-cut
garment. Really quickly, I want to show you two examples of camisoles. One that is cut
on the bias and one that’s not, so you can just see the difference. Here I have two camisoles.
The Gwen, which is not cut on the bias and the Savannah which is cut on the bias. Savannah
doesn’t utilize any shaping devices and this is because the bias will really mold to the
body as you wear it. Then we have the Gwen. The Gwen utilized princess seams for it’s
shaping, because it’s not cut on the bias. It really needs to have that shaping in order
to fit the body. You can also see a difference in the way that they hang. These are both
roughly the same size and the Gwen looks a lot bigger because it doesn’t hang quite as
heavily as the bias-cut garment. Let’s talk about cutting your bias-cut garment. The first
thing that you are going to want to do is prepare all of your pattern pieces to be cut
single layer rather than on the fold. Here, I’ve prepared the Savannah top open, rather
than on the fold. Here’s a tip, when you’re working with really slippery fabrics, try
placing a piece of tissue, just like this one, underneath your fabric when you’re cutting.
It’s just gonna add a little bit of extra stability. A
rotary cutter will be the best tool for cutting out your bias-cut projects, instead of fabric
shears. But make sure that you’re putting a fresh blade on your rotary cutter. When
you’re considering the cutting layout of your garment, it’s important to remember that every
fabric has two biases, and you’re gonna want to utilize both of them. Here’s an example.
If you cut the front pattern piece and the back pattern piece on parallel biases, the
garment is going to have a tendency to want to twist around your body and your side seams
are going to look a little bit crooked. Instead, what you want to do is place the back piece
on the perpendicular bias, so that everything hangs beautifully. Let’s move on to stabilizing.
Bias garments are particularly prone to stretching and so for that reason, you are going to want
to be really diligent with your staystitching. Here, on the Savannah, I’ve staystiched along
the underarms and neckline just to make sure nothing stretches while I am sewing. You also
might find that you want to use stabilizers to make sure things stay…stable! Lightweight
knit interfacing is going to be your best bet. It’s really ideal because it stretches
and moves with your bias-cut garment. Use it in places where you will be installing
zippers or other closures. Let’s move on to construction. Bias-cut garments have a tendency
to stretch over time and as you wear them, and if your stitching doesn’t stretch, the
seams are going to have a tendency to bust. So, to combat that, you’re going to want to
use a stitch that has a little bit of stretch. I like using a really narrow zigzag stitch
so that it works with my bias-cut garment and not against it. Here’s a tip: use a gentle
touch when you’re sewing your bias-cut garment. Making sure that you are not stretching it
or yanking it around when you’re sewing it. In fact, you’re going to want to make sure
you are doing the opposite. You want to make sure you are really supporting your garment
as it passes through your sewing machine, and not hanging off of your table as you sew.
There are two separate ways that you can use an iron. The first way is to remove wrinkles—this
motion is called ironing. Ironing is a back-and-forth motion, and while it’s really good at removing
wrinkles, it’s going to stretch out your fabric like crazy. Then there is pressing. Pressing
is an up-and-down motion with your iron. This is how you’re going to want to treat your
bias-cut garment when you are pressing your seams. All you need to do is press, don’t
iron. While your project is still in the process of becoming a garment, you’re gonna want to
make sure that you are storing it flat instead of hanging it. This is going to help make
sure that nothing stretches out between sewing sessions. So, you’re almost done sewing your
bias-cut garment, and you may be tempted to just go ahead and hem it right away. But don’t!
You’re gonna want to hang your garment overnight to allow your fabric to relax a little bit.
In the morning, you’ll probably find that the hem looks a little bit uneven and wobbly.
Just trim it and make it nice and even again, and then you can hem it. One thing that I
preach to all of my students is a steady progression of skills. Remember that sewing should be
fun, so choose projects that allow you to work on a few new skills at a time, and you’ll
absorb so much more. If you liked this video, be sure to like and subscribe and follow us
on Instagram, too. Thanks for joining me, and happy sewing!