Friday, November 7, 2008

Working With Bias

I'm taking a break from my mini wardrobe to work with bias. All thanks to Nancy and her beautiful black skirt which so inspired me.

I have recently added two books to my library: Couture, the Art of Fine Sewing, by Roberta Carr, and Draping for Apparel Design, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.

The latter has a chapter on draping bias which is very interesting, but Carr's book has detailed info on how to manage bias, from the very first touch and all the way to the finish line, so I'm mostly using her instructions. I'm not draping this time, instead opting to use this BWOF dress as a block (03-2008-115).

I made up a muslin to fit and then cut away SA. Armstrong's book suggests to leave all design detail off below the bust, so I left the waist darts stitched down in the muslin and pressed it flat in order to get the fit in the bias without darts. We'll see if this works... I'm just testing and learning at this point, and thankfully the black silk georgette was had at a bargain ($2.99 a yard at Trim Fabrics) so I won't feel too bad if it goes wrong :)) I will most likely add a bias-cut fitted sleeve, maybe 2/3 length- I just don't look good in sleeveless, and the puff sleeve is not suitable for this fabric.

I have also ordered a grainboard cover from All Brands and will make the board according to Carr's very clear instructions. I can see this becoming one of my most important tools in the future.
If you have a grainboard, please leave a link to a picture of it in the comment, I'm just dying to see everyones nifty tools at this point! As always, when something gets my attention it becomes an obsession :))

Ever wonder why some bias skirts just can't seem to hang even on both sides?... Thread count, friends, it's all about thread count :)) Click below to see how to lay out ALL bias cut fronts and backs. I'm gonna blow it up and hang it on the wall :))

And this made me smile. And no, I will not attempt this... at least not without my grainboard! Roberta Carr shows a wonderful sense of humor in this book and I'm truly sad she passed away. 

So, pictures friends, pretty please!


  1. I love Carr's book and its one of my favorite references. Her treatment of bias is the most informative I have seen. I don't think I have ever seen a bias pattern layout that is "correct" since I have seen her instructions.

  2. Hmm, I'm going to look for Carr's book when I'm in the city tomorrow.

  3. I also love her book. You may also like her DVD "Couture Techniques with Roberta C.Carr-For Fine Sewing".

    She explains techniques so well, and I love her accent :) I was also sad to hear she had passed away.

  4. Thanks for the shout out Birgitte. I am fortunate that I did not have any problems with uneven hanging in my bias skirt (it's dark, dark plum by the way.) I wore the skirt all afternoon and evening on Monday for my Dad's memorial, and it was super comfortable (The charmeuse lining made it feel like jammies.) I can't wait to see what you do with this dress!