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Thread: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?




  1. #1
    Advanced BHUZzer xodinahox's Avatar
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    Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    I recently came across something on the Internet that said to cut on the bias of stretchy skirts to make them hang/flow better. Is this true?

    My next project will include a fit n flare skirt made with rectangles and gores, so I'm not sure if it's necessary to cut on the bias.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
    ..... if you can dream it, you can do it ..... Walt Disney


  2. #2
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    Wait, what?

    Stretch fabrics have their stretch across or along the grain, so it's knit into them. Almost always, knits stretch more (sometimes much more) in one of these directions than another.

    If you use a stretch fabric on the bias, the fabric will hang in a very distorted manner, because the direction with more stretch than the bias will pull more than the bias does.

    So I can't imagine a stretch garment, like a skirt, needing to be cut on the bias.

    Now, there are non-stretch garments that you purposely cut on the bias to make them flow better. Or maybe they're designed on the bias like these gorgeous gowns: We're Biased: Couture Designer Charles Kleibacker's Gowns on Exhibit in Ohio - CraftStylish

    But if you're making a rectangles + gores skirt, you should cut your rectangles on straight of grain so they hang properly. Your gores should also be cut along straight of grain vertically, but the side edges will be along the bias (or near it) automatically.
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  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    It's definitely easier to cut knits straight, but some designers/seamstresses do use knits on the bias. Success seems to depend on the mechanics of the particular knit. Two-way stretch will behave differently than four-way stretch, and knits are more prone to pulling and shifting off grain as you're cutting than wovens are, so you have to be extra careful you don't end up with a weird, warpy cut by accident. One site recommended making sure you are exactly on the 45-degree bias, but another said to check your knit for maximum stretch depending on the weave, because you only want to use the 45-degree line when your stitches are the same width and height and four-way stretch.

    Unless the pattern is sized specifically for knits on the bias (and when I search I find a couple that are--mostly garments with big, draped accents and chevron/mitered designs for striped knits), you have to take into account the way that the sizing changes as you rotate off grain. Apparently it's very easy to misjudge the sizing on a four-way knit on the bias, and end up with a saggy, overly large mess.

    The prevailing opinion is that there's not much need to cut knits on the bias unless you just really, really want to. Cutting and sewing knits straight can be enough of a challenge as it is, so intentionally complicating the process is a daring design choice. It is certainly possible to do it (trumpet vs. bias cut skirt), but I guess my feeling is "go big or go home." If you want to cut on the bias, make a design with unusual, artsy draping (and prepare to burn through a lot of fabric with the trial and error to get the look right), or take the straightforward route and follow the grain.


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    Advanced BHUZzer Rosette's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    Agree with Tourbeau, and as a message from the Awful Warning Department, I have a truly fabulous stretchy fringe dress that I've not been using because the fabric was not cut straight and the dress slowly migrates around my body in a clockwise direction as I dance. At the end of a 15 minute performance I could end up with the side slits centered at front and back and one boob hanging out. I hope to be able to use this dress eventually but I'm going to have to put a bunch of snaps in strategic spots and have the dress firmly attached to my undergarments.
    Rosette


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    Official BHUZzer Teophania's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosette View Post
    Agree with Tourbeau, and as a message from the Awful Warning Department, I have a truly fabulous stretchy fringe dress that I've not been using because the fabric was not cut straight and the dress slowly migrates around my body in a clockwise direction as I dance. At the end of a 15 minute performance I could end up with the side slits centered at front and back and one boob hanging out. I hope to be able to use this dress eventually but I'm going to have to put a bunch of snaps in strategic spots and have the dress firmly attached to my undergarments.
    Rosette

    This happens with cheap mass-produced t-shirts too. (I refuse to wear them, but my sister does. She just asked me about ideas to use the shirts for other craft projects because she likes the t-shirt pictures/logos but they are not wearable.)

    What about adding twill seam tape to the side seams to stabilize it, in addition to the strategic hooks or snaps?? Actually, sticking with the tape concept, a fast way that might work would be to use bra fastener sets (tape with sets of hooks and eyes), attaching one side to the dress and the other to the undergarment. (Using a garter above the knee would work if the skirt itself twists -- I'm envisioning a strip of elastic around the leg with the hook or snap attached. ??)

    Good luck rescuing the fabulous!!


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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    Patterns have instructions re placing pattern pieces on the grain or on the bias. Diagrams with the proper layout with various fabric widths are also included. You do not have to think about how to place the pattern pieces.


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer toria_dances's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    You don't have to, but lycra is usually 4 way stretch so in my opinion you can cut on the bias with out any distortions and it does drape nicer. Most designer costumers like the famous Eman skirts are cut on the bias. I have a video tutorial on youtube about making a bias skirt.

    Make a belly dance skirt.wmv - YouTube


  8. #8
    I could get used to this! MirahmarArati's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    Even with 4-way stretch, you need to make sure that the stretch is equal in both directions, otherwise you will get distortions.

    Cutting stretch on the bias can be very effective. Think of it this way - say you are cutting a tight fitting skirt. If you cut it on the straight, the maximum stretch goes around the body and up and down. This means that it has a greater chance of fitting, because it will stretch to accomodate more sizes, but as it stretches wider, it will get shorter. If you cut the skirt on the bias, the maximum stretch will go to the hips and to the thighs. It means that the skirt will fit nicer across the "bumps" of the body, and will skim the body better, rather than cling. It won't accomodate as many sizes, because it won't stretch around the body as much, but it will be much more flattering.
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    Advanced BHUZzer xodinahox's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to cut on the bias with stretch fabrics?

    thanks, everyone, for your input! :)
    ..... if you can dream it, you can do it ..... Walt Disney


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