Pattern Placement, Grain, Bias and Fit

We discussed grain and measuring how to be sure your pattern placement is properly aligned with grain line earlier. ( Grain ) Today I have drawn an illustration to include pattern placement with grain and bias. True bias on a woven fabric is 45 degrees off of the selvage edges of the fabric. It is marked in red on the illustration.  

Bias cuts stretch a little, straight of grain cuts do not. The center of a pattern is usually cut on the straight of grain but slanted edges will be on a bias. In the illustration below the skirt sides, bodice sides and sleeve edges all have at least a slight bias angle. The added stretch or give on bias pieces also aid in fit and help how a garment lays around the natural curves of a body. Some stretch or give can be good, but in other places it can become a problem.  

To prevent necklines, sleeve openings and waist line areas from stretching while working on them, a stay stitch is added. A stay stitch is made with a slightly longer than normal sewing stitch at the seam line. To add a stay stitch at the neckline stitch down from the shoulder to the center of the neck from each side. If you use a commercial pattern this information is included in your instructions. If you draft your own pattern remember to add this step.  

Grain Lines, Bias, and Pattern Placement
Most patterns with the pieces I have drawn will also have other pieces, maybe a collar, cuff, certainly facings. The same rules apply to these extra pieces. Use the grain line markings to keep your pieces properly aligned. Your eyes may let you think something is straight when really it is just the side of the pattern that is straight with the selvage. Fabric cut improperly  will yield a disappointing result. Always measure to be sure.

When you make your own pattern, you can use these same rules to determine how much fabric to buy. Lay out all of the pieces so that they are not any wider than the width of the fabric you plan to buy. If you are using 60 inch wide material you will be able to place more items side by side so that you do not need as much length, but if you are using 45 inch wide fabric, the same pieces will take more length of fabric because they may have to be placed end to end instead of side by side. Remember to keep your pieces aligned just like you were laying them out on the fabric with a grain line.  

One more note. Check the end of the bolt to be sure you have the width you measured for your estimate. Fabric widths have changed a little. Once fabrics were exactly 60 inches wide, 45 inches wide and even 36 inches wide. Now instead of being 60 inches wide it could be 58 or 59 and many bolts that were once 45 inches wide are now only 42 inches wide. Take this into consideration when you are determining how much you really need. No matter how close you think your estimate is, allow just a little extra when you purchase your fabric. It is better to have a few extra inches than to need more.

Word origins for the week from http://www.etymonline.com.

accurate (adj.) Look up accurate at Dictionary.com
1610s, "done with care," from Latin accuratus "prepared with care, exact, elaborate," pp. of accurare "take care of," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + curare "take care of" (see cure). The notion of doing something carefully led to that of being exact (1650s). Related: Accuratelyaccurateness.

bias (n.) Look up bias at Dictionary.com
1520s, from French biais "slant, slope, oblique," also figuratively, "expedient, means" (13c., originally in Old French a pp. adjective, "sideways, askance, against the grain"), of unknown origin, probably from Old Provençal biais, with cognates in Old Catalan and Sardinian; possibly from Vulgar Latin *(e)bigassius, from Greek epikarsios "athwart, crosswise, at an angle," from epi-"upon" + karsios "oblique," from PIE *krs-yo-, from root *(s)ker- "to cut." It became a noun in Old French. Transferred sense of "predisposition, prejudice" is from 1570s in English.
[A] technical term in the game of bowls, whence come all the later uses of the word. [OED]

measure (v.) Look up measure at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to deal out by measure," from Old French mesurer "measure; moderate, curb" (12c.), from Late Latin mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, pp. of metiri "to measure," from PIE *me- "to measure" (see meter (n.2)).

Replaced Old English cognate mæð "measure." Meaning "to ascertain spatial dimensions of" is mid-14c. To measure up "have the necessary abilities" is 1910, American English. Related:Measuredmeasuring.
measure (n.) Look up measure at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "moderation, temperance, abstemiousness;" c.1300, "instrument for measuring," from Old French mesure "limit, boundary; quantity, dimension; occasion, time" (12c.), from Latinmensura "measure" (see measure (v.)). Meaning "size or quantity as ascertained by measuring" is from early 14c. Meaning "action of measuring; standard measure of quantity; system of measuring; appointed or alloted amount of anything" is late 14c. Also from late 14c. are senses "proper proportion, balance." Sense of "that to which something is compared to determine its quantity" is from 1570s. Meaning "rhythmic pattern in music" is late 14c.; from mid-15c. in poetry, c.1500 in dance. Meaning "treatment 'meted out' to someone" is from 1590s; that of "plan or course of action intended to obtain some goal" is from 1690s; sense of "legislative enactment" is from 1759. Phrase for good measure (late 14c.) is lit. "ample in quantity, in goods sold by measure."

plan (n.) Look up plan at Dictionary.com
1670s as a technical term in perspective drawing; 1706 as "drawing, sketch, or diagram of any object," from French plan "ground plan, map," lit. "plane surface" (mid-16c.), from Latinplanum "level or flat surface," noun use of adjective planus "level, flat" (see plane (n.1)). The notion is of "a drawing on a flat surface." Meaning "scheme of action, design" is first recorded 1706, possibly influenced by French planter "to plant," from Italian planta "ground plan."
planner (n.) Look up planner at Dictionary.com
1716, "one who plans," agent noun from plan (v.). Derogatory variant planster attested from 1945. Meaning "book or device that enables one to plan" is from 1971.
plan (v.) Look up plan at Dictionary.com
1728, "make a plan of," from plan (n.). Related: PlannedplanningplansPlanned economy is attested from 1931. Planned Parenthood (1942) formerly was Birth Control Federation of America.

stretch (n.) Look up stretch at Dictionary.com
1540s, "act of stretching," from stretch (v.); meaning "unbroken continuance of some activity" is first recorded 1680s; meaning "straightaway of a race course" (e.g. home stretch) is recorded from 1841.
stretch (v.) Look up stretch at Dictionary.com
Old English streccan, from P.Gmc. *strakjanan (cf. Danish strække, Swedish sträcka, Old Frisian strekka, Old High German strecchan, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Old High German, German strecken "to stretch"), perhaps a variant of the root of stark, or else from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see strain). Meaning "to extend (the limbs or wings)" is from c.1200; that of "to lay out for burial" is from early 13c. To stretch one's legs "take a walk" is from c.1600. Meaning "to lengthen by force" first recorded late 14c.; figurative sense of "to enlarge beyond proper limits, exaggerate," is from 1550s. Stretch limo first attested 1973. Stretch marks is attested from 1960. Stretcher "canvas frame for carrying the sick or wounded" is first attested 1845.

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