Cutting fabric on the bias is an often overlooked, yet surprisingly useful technique.
Used by experienced seamstresses and tailors for decades, cutting fabric on the bias has a myriad of uses in garment and accessory construction, from creating stunning drapes to helping to create a more flattering silhouette for garments.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of cutting fabric on the bias and explore the benefits of doing so.
What is Cut On The Bias?
Cutting fabric on the bias is a technique that involves cutting fabric diagonally across the grain, or at an angle to the selvage.
This produces a cut of fabric that is more flexible than one cut along the grain, as it produces a four-way stretch instead of a two-way stretch. This allows for greater movement and flexibility in a garment or accessory, as well as increased drape and structure.
Importance of the cut on the bias in cooking and sewing
Both cooking and sewing involve techniques that require precise cutting of materials.
Whether it’s a chef slicing vegetables for a dish or a seamstress cutting fabric for a dress, the angle at which the material is cut can have an impact on the end result. In both cases, cutting on the bias can be extremely beneficial.
What is a “Bias”?
Definition of “Bias”
Bias is defined as the diagonal direction of the cross-grain or warp threads of a woven fabric.
When fabric is cut along the bias, it gives it increased flexibility and stretch which can be beneficial for certain garments and accessories.
This type of cut is often used to make hemlines curved or to create bias binding for necklines and armholes. In addition, cutting on the bias can also add a unique look to fabric, as the cut will create diagonal lines or patterns in the fabric.
Importance of “Bias” in fabrics and cooking
The importance of the bias cut in both fabrics and cooking is undeniable. In sewing, the bias cut provides garments and accessories with increased flexibility, structure, and drape.
This can be helpful when creating skirts or dresses with curved silhouettes, as well as for creating bindings or trims. In cooking, slicing food on the bias gives it an appealing visual presentation and allows for even cooking.
How to Cut on the Bias?
Tools and materials needed to cut on the bias
Cutting fabric on the bias requires a few simple tools and materials.
To begin, you will need a sharp pair of fabric scissors, measuring tape or ruler, clear marking pencil or chalk, pattern paper, pins, and of course the fabric you intend to cut. Additionally, an ironing board may be useful for pressing seams and creases.
Step-by-step guide on how to cut on the bias
Step 1: Start by measuring and marking the fabric. Measure the desired length of fabric and mark it with a clear marking pencil or chalk. Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure accuracy.
Step 2: Cut the bias. To cut on the bias, you will need to angle your scissors slightly to cut at a 45-degree angle from one selvage edge to the other. Make sure to keep your scissors perpendicular and angled at the same degree throughout.
Step 3: Press seams and creases. Once all of your fabric has been cut, you will want to press the seams and creases with an iron to help prevent fraying.
Advantages of Cutting on the Bias
Improved drape, fit, and movement in clothing
Cutting fabric on the bias has a number of advantages, especially when it comes to clothing.
The most noticeable advantage is the improved drape and fit in garments due to the four-way stretch offered by bias cut fabric.
This allows for freedom of movement and prevents stiff, boxy looking garments due to its increased flexibility.
Additionally, as mentioned previously, bias cuts can be used to create curved or shaped hemlines and bindings for necklines and armholes for a unique look.
More tender and moist texture in food
Cutting food on the bias can also be beneficial in the kitchen, as it can give dishes a more tender and moist texture.
This is due to the fact that cutting food on the bias exposes more of its surface area to heat, allowing heat to penetrate and cook the food evenly. Additionally, slicing food on the bias will also help retain moisture by creating additional surfaces for moisture to escape from.
Disadvantages of Cutting on the Bias
More challenging and time-consuming compared to straight cutting
Cutting fabric on the bias can be more challenging and time-consuming compared to straight cutting.
This is because it requires extra precision and accuracy in order to ensure that the fabric is cut at a 45-degree angle throughout.
Additionally, as the fabric stretches when cut, it can be difficult to keep the seams and creases smooth and even when sewing.
Lastly, due to its increased flexibility, bias-cut fabric can be more prone to fraying and stretching, which can lead to a decrease in garment quality.
Requires more fabric or ingredients to achieve the desired length or quantity
When cutting fabric on the bias, it’s important to remember that more fabric or ingredients may be required to achieve the desired length or quantity.
This is because when a material is cut on the bias, it stretches and loses length. As such, more fabric or ingredients may be needed in order to compensate for this loss of length and make up for it with additional width.
Due to the fact that bias cuts can also cause fabric to shrink when being washed, more fabric or ingredients may be needed in order to achieve the desired end result.
Examples of Cuts on the Bias
Clothing and textile examples such as bias-cut dresses and skirts
Bias-cut dresses and skirts are often used to achieve a more figure-hugging, slimming silhouette. This is due to the fact that when fabric is cut on the bias, it stretches and conforms to the body’s curves, resulting in a more flattering fit.
Additionally, bias-cut dresses and skirts can also be used to create unique shapes such as curved or asymmetrical hemlines, as well as interesting binding details for necklines and armholes.
Food examples such as bias-cut vegetables for stir-fry dishes
Bias-cut vegetables are a great way to add texture and visual appeal to stir-fry dishes. By slicing the vegetables at a 45-degree angle, not only does it make them look more attractive, but it also exposes more of their surface area to heat, resulting in more even cooking and a tender and moist texture.
Bias-cut vegetables can also be used to create Conclusion cut julienne strips which can be used as a garnish, adding colour and texture to your dishes.
Cutting on the bias can be incredibly useful in both cooking and sewing, as it can yield a variety of advantages. In terms of sewing, cutting fabric on the bias offers improved drape and fit in garments due to its four-way stretch, as well as creating curved or shaped hemlines and bindings for necklines and armholes. When it comes to cooking, slicing food on the bias can increase surface area exposure to heat, resulting in more even cooking and a more tender and moist texture.
However, this method of cutting is often more challenging and time-consuming than straight cutting, as it requires extra precision and accuracy. Additionally, due to its increased flexibility, bias-cut fabric can be more prone to fraying and stretching. Furthermore, remember that when cutting on the bias, more fabric or ingredients may be required to achieve the desired length or quantity.