Cutting fabric on the bias is easy, and very effective! All it means is that, rather than cutting your pattern on a woven fabric in the usual vertical or horizontal direction that you would normally use, you cut at 45 degrees to the weave of the fabric – have a look at the picture. The central line of the pattern is placed diagonally across the fabric rather than parallel with the edge or the cut edge.
This diagonal cutting (cutting fabric on the bias) has an amazing result. It uses the slight natural stretch that even a normal “non-stretch” fabric has. Every piece of woven fabric has two biases, at 90 degrees to each other (shown here). They both work pretty much the same.
“Bias-cut” is a technique used by designers to accentuate body lines and curves and drape softly. For example, a full-skirt cut on the bias will hang more gracefully and a narrow garment, such as this beautiful 1930s dress, will cling to the figure. Many of the elegant designs from the 30s and 40s use the bias cut technique.