You've heard the term bias cut gown but what exactly does it mean? Before the development of knits, the bias cut was used for body-hugging silhouettes like the Edith Head dress above and below. It all started in 1927 when a Parisian couturier, Madeleine Vionette developed a technique using the true cross grain of fabric. Defined, a bias cut simply means the pattern pieces are placed on the cross grain rather than straight grain lines of weft or warp of the fabric. By 1930, Hollywood designers took advantage of this cut and made it into a real trend. So what are the advantages of a bias cut gown? Fit. Gowns cut on the true bias hug and cling to the hips and midriff and fall beautifully. In some cases they even seem like a second skin.

Not all gowns are allover bias cuts. The gown below is an example of a very full bias cut skirt. 1950s silhouettes employed the circular skirt that when put on the true bias, moves beautifully when you walk. It also takes many yards of fabric to create.
Dress by Amy-Jo Tatum/photo by ejones photography
The gowns below are modern versions of the bias cut.


sourceHollywood designer Adrian dressed actress Jean Harlow in these bias cuts that practically became her trademark. The bias cut is still used today despite the fact we have a variety of knits and micro fibers that can mimic the same close fit.