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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How to Make Fabric Stripes Turn Diagonal

We have another free sewing tutorial for you today! This is actually a little trick I learned back in my heavy scrapbooking days.  Let's say you want to make something using fabric that has diagonal stripes, but all you can find is fabric with horizontal or vertical stripes. Are you just out of luck? 

Nope, absolutely not! It takes just a couple little tricks and I'm about to show you what they are! 

For today's project I am going to demonstrate using Emmett's tie pattern. The same process works for just about any pattern though, including shirts, pants, dress bodices, etc. If you want the print to be diagonal, (otherwise know as on-the-bias), you can do it! Just keep in mind that it may take up more or less fabric than called for in the pattern. 

Trick #1: If your pattern piece is not cut on the fold, this process is really easy. You will simply lay out the fabric, rotate it until it is diagonal, and then lay down the pattern piece and cut. It's super easy once you think about it! The one part that may be more tricky is determining how much extra fabric you will need to make it work. For this, you can simply print out the pattern piece, tape and cut, then lay it on a flat surface with the paper turned at a diagonal. Then use a ruler to measure from the uppermost part of the piece to the bottom-most part of the piece, as it is laid out on the surface. That measurement is how long you need your fabric to be for the diagonal cut. Once you have the fabric cut, proceed as normal! 

Trick #2: This will be the bulk of the blog post. This trick allows you to cut diagonally even when your pattern piece is on the fold. You already know that you need to have a fold in the fabric to make it work, but how and where?! Let's take a look: 

First, lay your fabric out at its full width, with its selvages on the sides and its right side facing down. 

Take the top right corner and fold it down to meet the bottom edge, making the selvage match up evenly with the bottom raw edge. This should create a nice diagonal fold, as shown above. 

Lay your pattern piece on top of the fabric, with its FOLD line on the fold of the fabric. (Remember that even though we're using a skinny tie piece in our example, this same process works with larger pattern pieces such as a bodice too!) 

Cut the fabric around the edges of the pattern piece. When you open up your fabric, it should look something like this! 

Trick #3: If you want to cut your pieces diagonally using rectangles on a cutting chart, you can do that too! In my example, I am cutting the neckband piece according to Emmett's chart. See below. 

First, fold your fabric into a diagonal as we did for Trick #2 previously. Cut to create a raw edge. Then rotate the raw edge so it is aligned with a straight edge on a cutting mat or ruler, as shown above. Now you can treat your diagonal fabric as any other, using the guides on the ruler/mat to cut out the rectangles from the cutting chart. 

Here's what my neckband piece looks like after cutting. If you had only seen this photo, would you have guessed that it came from horizontal stripes on the original fabric? 

(This photo reminds me of a traffic caution sign -- I wonder if they used this method to make it. JK.) 

Once you have all your pieces cut on the diagonal, otherwise known as the bias, you can sew up your outfit according to the instructions in the pattern. It turned out pretty darn amazing, I think! 

Trick #4: This last trick is to help you determine how much fabric you need if you're cutting on the diagonal and on the fold. It's actually not a trick, it's just some math that may look familiar. If it does *not* look familiar, and you're not even remotely interested in doing some math, just skip this section you should be fine. :) Here goes: 

Look at the yellow line. This represents how long you will have the fabric cut, labeled as A. 
Look at the green line. This represents how wide the fabric is, labeled as B. (It's usually 44" or 60") 
Look at the orange line. This represents the line you can place your fold on for the pattern piece, labeled as C. 

Now if we pull out the pythagorean theorem (A² + B² = C² ), we can figure out how much we want OR how much we will get with what we already have.

A² + B² = C² 

So, let's say that our fabric is 44" wide (B) and we cut it at 36" long (A)

We know that 

36² + 44² = C² 

This calculates to 

1,296 + 1,936 = C² 

Add those up to get

3,232 = C² 

Get out your trusty calculator to find square root of 3,232 and it is

C = 56.85

C is the length of the orange line! 

So, now we know that 1 yard length of 44" wide fabric gives us over 56" of fold line to work with! Of course your wider pattern pieces will still need to fit at the narrower parts of the fabric, so if you're using a wider piece you will want to rely on Trick #1 above as well.

Remember that you can also calculate any of the sides if you know two of them.

If you totally loved this technique and want to take it a step further, you can also learn how to make your own bias tape or how to make a bodice with a bias split right down the middle!

Let's Create! ~ Kristen


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