knowing how to cut on the bias is a useful skill to master for your sewing projects; ad on to learn what it means and how to do it. You’ll soon be able to tackle all kinds of exciting projects such as making your own piping! You’ll also be able to sew a greater range of dressmaking projects.
Cutting on the bias has several for your sewing projects. When making trims, cutting on the bias allows you to manipulate fabric around corners without pulling out of shape. You can, for instance, create your own bias binding for the perfect finishing touch to a neckline. You could also make beautiful bespoke piping for cushions and furnishings.
When dressmaking, cutting pattern pieces on the bias gives shape and drape to the piece; you just can’t achieve this look by cutting with the grain. Once you’ve got the skills, you’ll be ready to browse some fabric! Try using our ‘find my fabric’ tool to focus your search.
What is cutting on the bias?
To understand how to cut on the bias, it might be useful to understand some basic dressmaking terms that you might see in instructions or on a pattern. The fabric we’re using is a lovely pink striped cotton/linen mix.
Selvedge- The selvedge is along the side of the fabric. When buying fabric from a roll or a bolt you will have two sides of the fabric with raw edges and two sides with a selvedge. The selvedge stops the fabric from fraying or unravelling. Some manufacturers also print onto the selvedge.
The Grain- The fabric grain is the direction that the fabric is knitted or woven together. When you cut on the bias, you work diagonally to the grain of the fabric.
The Bias- The bias is a diagonal direction across the grain of the fabric, at 45 degrees to the selvedge. When cutting on the bias or laying out a pattern, it is done diagonal to the grain like the ruler demonstrates in the image. This technique is used when making bias binding.
To cut on the bias, first mark out a line at a diagonal across the bias as shown. You can use a fabric pen or tailors’ chalk. Mark a parallel line according to the width of the piece you need for your project. Cut out carefully using a pair of scissors or a cutting wheel and mat.