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Friday, 10 June 2016

More bias dress stuff! How I cut out the pattern

Hey guys, happy Friday!

Man, I learned so much making my bias gown (pictures are in the works. I can't wait to post them!) and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface! It really is so different from what I usually do. I got Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Schaeffer from the library and I just find couture stuff so intimidating!!!!

Something that really made an impact on me was her point about one major difference between couture and RTW or home sewing being that with couture techniques, its the seamlines that are marked, whereas with home and RTW sewing, the seam allowances are very precise and the seams are joined using the edge of the cut fabric as a guide.

That was when it really sank in that even the cutting-out part of the project would be completely out of my comfort zone! No kidding, I'm pretty sure this dress aged me about 10 years.

Full disclosure, I have no idea what the best strategy would have been. In a perfect world I would have draped the dress on a dress form and used the draped fabric to transfer to my dress fabric but that was definitely impossible, so I kind of improvised. Paper patterns all the way!

If you have a better technique please share it with me!! Otherwise, hopefully someone else will be able to put this process to use.

Here's what I did: cutting out a bias paper pattern.

1) I cut the pattern out of oak tag, excluding the seam allowances on the bias pieces (the back was on grain, so I kept the seam allowances and cut it out as usual).

2) I laid the fabric out face down on tracing paper, with everything squared up as precisely as possible. You can see below that I even taped the edges of the fabric to the paper to keep it from shifting.

3) I layed the oak tag pattern pieces out, carefully lined up on the bias, and traced them with a fabric marker. Make sure to do a test first to make sure it will come out without ruining your fabric!

4) Next I removed the oak tag pattern piece and pinned the fabric to the paper below. I made sure to place the pins within about an inch of the seam line. Remember, you're tracing the seam line and will be cutting the seam allowance freehand. Make sure your pins go through the paper, too!

5) Once you've finished tracing all your pieces, cut them out, giving yourself about an inch of seam allowance. Then thread trace the seam lines so they're visible on both sides. This is incredibly tedious. I did a little long-short-long-short pattern to make it pretty and so I could tell the difference between thread tracing and any basting I would do. Keep the fabric pinned to the paper if you want. I didn't need to because my fabric was actually pretty agreeable so I just kept it flat on the table. You might also want to have a stiff drink while you do this. And don't forget to use a separate thread for each edge. If you get to a corner, stitch a little bit past it and start again with a new thread, instead of trying to, like, go around the corner. See the pic below?

Oh, I probably should have mentioned at the beginning, this works best if you're hand stitching the seams. Which you are, right? Yeah, you might want to pour yourself another. Good luck!


  1. Welcome to the world of no included seam allowances! They can be very addictive. Looking forward to seeing your dress!

    1. Thanks! This definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities!

  2. Stunning! Would you mind me sharing this on Sassy Sewing Bees in the future? I link to your post and let you know when.

    1. Hi Sassy, Sorry I thought I had responded to you. Please feel free to include me. I'm very flattered. The projects you post are fantastic!