The Anatomy of Bias Circle Skirts

This post is dedicated to all those that stared at me like I was speaking Chinese when I described what happens to the grain line in a sunburst pleated skirt.

As we all know, there are 3 grains in a fabric and depending on the fabric, they can greatly effect you garment.  The straight grain runs parallel to the selvedge,  the cross grain runs across the width of your fabric, and the bias grain runs on the diagonal.

Now there are a few reasons why this is important so let’s start with the bias grain.  Depending on the fabric you are using, the fabric will stretch on the bias grain. This is why it is impossible to cut a circle skirt and get the hem straight on the bottom from the first shot. In every fabric, weave and weight of the yarn varies, and so the stretch is different.  Pleated or not, circle skirts are always hemmed after they are stitched unless you are working with a stiffer fabric like taffeta. Another work around to hemming after is to adjust your pattern and keep cutting a skirt until you get the perfect pattern. However,  if you change the fabric, your pattern is useless.

By understanding the grain of a printed fabric, you can predict how it will look when pleated.  See the pictures below.  The last reason has to do with joining the side seams and center back zippers.  That will be my next blog post.

First I cut out a semi-circle out of white fabric.   On it I drew three sets of lines using three different colored sharpies.

BLUE = Grain line

GREEN = Cross Grain

RED = Bias

Cut bias circle skirt, grain line of skirts

Below is a close up of half the semi-circle.

Close up photo of grain lines of bias circle skirt, cross-grain and straight grain, international pleating contractor new york


Below:  The panel after it has been sunburst accordion pleated.  Please notice what happens to the grain lines.  The red section will get longer and the blue lines curve considerably.

what happens to the grain line after sunburst pleating fabric


close up of pleated sunburst skirt with grain-lines.


Pretty Cool!


3 Responses to The Anatomy of Bias Circle Skirts

  1. Jamie April 13, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    This is so helpful.

    • George April 26, 2013 at 2:22 am #

      I glad you found it helpful.

  2. Mary July 19, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    This is so great!

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