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|
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.
[A] technical term in the game of bowls, whence come all the later uses of the word. [OED]
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:Measured; measuring.