When measuring and cutting fabric to be sewn into garments using any kind of sewing machines, fabric grain is an important factor when trying to achieve the desired results. Fabric is normally cut and sewn on the grain to prevent issues such as unwanted stretch. Sometimes it is actually preferable to cut on the bias because fabric cut that way has a few qualities not found with fabric cut on the grain, although it can be a real challenge to get right. By understanding the best way to cut on the bias, sewers working with sewing machines such as the Juki DX 7 can try their hand at this method and find great success.
What Is Bias Cut Fabric?
In most cases, it is preferable to cut fabric on the grain so that cuts and piecing are in line with the warp and the weft. Sewing on grain prevents unwanted stretching of the fabric and ensures that patterns match up for a uniform look. On the other hand, cutting on the bias is accomplished by cutting fabric at a 45-degree angle from the grain. Cutting fabric on the bias requires more fabric in order to cut all the required pieces since the fabric is cut on an angle starting from the corners.
Why Cut On the Bias?
The main reason why someone might want to cut on the bias is because doing so gives garments a more natural stretch and give, and allows them to lay lighter than fabric that is cut and sewn on grain. This can be helpful for making some fabrics look more fluid and natural. Bias cutting also allows for creative use of fabric patterns, especially stripes. Still, cutting and sewing on the bias when using Juki sewing machines, like the Juki DX 7, or another kind of sewing machine can be more challenging than sewing on grain. It is often recommended for use with certain fabrics and must be done exactly on the bias for a garment to look and wear correctly.
Accurate Bias Cutting
Cutting fabric on the bias to be sewn on sewing machines requires some planning ahead of time. To begin with, there are a number of fabrics that should not be cut and sewn on the bias due to the way in which they respond. These fabrics include rayon, polyester, and other slippery fabrics, as well as twill and heavier fabrics such as duck and poplin. The best fabrics to use are cotton, linen, wool challis, and some silk fabrics. Before starting out, it is very important to know ahead of time how much added stretch the fabric has when pulled on the bias versus on the grain. Plainer weaves are best to use for these projects; striped fabrics are also good choices.
Besides using the right type of fabric, success with bias cutting requires adjusting patterns to account for this change. This must include marking the bias grain marks on the pattern pieces and taking the additional stretch into consideration by adding extra ease at the cutting lines. Seam allowances must be widened for more secure seaming. Pattern pieces can be laid out in a 45-degree angle from the selvage and cut according to the new marks made to direct bias cuts. It is also a good idea to press the cut pieces before sewing them together to construct the garment in order to remove excess stretch.
Although these are only a few tips on how to properly cut and sew on the bias, by using the right techniques and with a little practice, it is possible to achieve success. Projects using bias cut fabrics can be a great challenge for more advanced sewers to try on their sewing machines. Owners of the Juki DX 7 or other Juki sewing machines will enjoy the results they get once having mastered this garment sewing technique!