Simply Biased

For whatever reason, I’m having a hard time coming up with post names these days. So, if you feel that the name of this post is not quite apropos, my apologies. Yesterday, I informed you that I was working on a skirt. It’s actually the skirt section from the Lonsdale dress pattern and I’m totally and completely in love with how well its working out. I’ve wanted to make just a skirt from this pattern for sometime and had even bought a nice blanket weight, double faced wool for it. By the way, my circle skirt from last year is another double faced wool, and for winter time, if you live in a fairly cold climate, I’m telling you, you absolutely need a skirt from a double faced wool. It’s not a fabric I find often, but when I do, I try to buy it up. It’s terribly warm and last year I wore my Linda Hop skirt to death.

For my Lonsdale skirt – which I’m going to formally dub my “blanket skirt” for now – I wanted to take advantage of the seams that go up the center front and center back. My double faced wool is a lovely black and white plaid and I wanted to create that wonderful chevron look in these areas. So I had to add a bias cut grainline to the skirt front and back pattern pieces. I remember reading about this technique in a book and instead of walking you through a useful tool, it simply stated “mark a bias cut grainline on your pattern pieces.” If you’ve read the same thing somewhere, I thought I would share my favorite way and tools for doing this.

First off, I have a self healing mat and when I bought my mat, I also bought a ruler that went with it. My mat is 36″ x 23″ and I wouldn’t be caught dead cutting without it these days. I love it! On the mat there is a very handy 45 degree angle line and when I make a pattern grainline alteration like this one for a bias cut, its incredibly useful (if you don’t know, bias cut is at a 45 degree angle to the lengthwise grain). In fact, I’m shocked at just how much I use this feature on the mat. I’ll lay my pattern piece on top of the mat and have the original grainline perfectly aligned with one of the grids on the mat and then I draw in the new 45 degree bias cut grainline. Easy. Peasy.

If you’re not up for purchasing a mat just yet, at least consider one of these handy, dandy gridded rulers. Mine was put out by Fiskars and is 23″ x 5″, clear and has 45, 60 and 30 degree marking lines on it. If you align the 45 degree angle on the ruler with the grainline on the pattern (by placing the ruler right on top of the pattern piece) you can draw in a beautiful new bias cut grainline for a project like this.

Voila! And there you have it. Ever done this for a skirt before? It’s an especially great adjustment if you’ve made the skirt before and are looking for a way to spice it up a bit for next time. Enjoy!



11 thoughts on “Simply Biased

  1. I definitely use the self-healing mat (and bias lines) all the time too! I actually have 3 mats next to each other, which is definitely handy for slippery fabrics and has really spoiled me. And I love the idea of using the Lonsdale skirt pieces – I had thought once of using the bodice for some kind of top.

  2. The strong black and white graphics in your skirt plaid is gorgeous cut on the bias! When you changed the skirt to a bias, did you have to make any adjustments for stretch? I always seem to need adjustments with any bias pattern.

    1. As this fabric is quite thick and a fairly tight weave, I didn’t make any adjustments for stretch. For a thinner, slinkier fabric, I most definitely would have added at least an inch for the stretch factor though.

  3. I bought a mat recentley but haven’t fallen for it for cutting out fabric (I might need to invest in a better rotary cutter) but I love it for pattern drafting!
    And this is actually a bit funny: I’m currently working on a bias cut wool A-line skirt… Great minds think alike! ; ) Unfortunatly I had too little fabric. Do I do the sensible thing and either make the skirt shorter or just make it on-grain? No, I start a puzzle-project. *sigh* I need to learn the skill of accepting a change of sewing plans =)

  4. Oh, if only I could sew. I have a vintage sewing machine that was my grandmother’s and a small hand machine I bought at WalMart. And still, tragedy. One day…Nice blog!

  5. Nice pattern match at the center front seam for the plaid. I know it takes careful cutting and seaming to make this happen. I am wondering what the affect would have been had the heavier lines in the plaid have run downward rather than upward? Just a thought. And, yes I think you’re right about the waistband for this skirt, the least complicated the better. I have done plaid skirts in the past and there’s no possible pattern match at the waist for bias cuts. The black/white looks “snappy” together!

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