Fashion 101

Bias Cut

If you’ve watched a bit of design shows such as Project Runway, Project Runway Canada, Project Catwalk or the new The Fashion Sow then you’ve probable heard the terms ‘bias cut’ or ‘cut on the bias’.  But what does that mean?

Firstly, the ‘bias’ is the direction in fabrics diagonal to the lengthwise or crosswise directions.  In layman’s terms if you have a square piece of fabric and cut parallel to the horizontal and vertical threads the diagonal of that would be the bias.

Now, the ‘bias cut’ or ‘to cut on the bias’ is a technique used by designers for cutting fabric to utilize the greater stretch in the bias (or diagonal) direction of the fabric.  The designer cuts along the bias and this causes the material to accentuate the lines and curves of the body and to drape softly.

Bias Cut

Charles Worth

Charles Worth

Many do not know the name Charles Frederick Worth or his significance to fashion…but they should.  Worth is recognized by many as the Father of Haute Couture and he also dominated Parisian fashion in the latter half of the 19th Century.

Born in England on October 13 1825,  Worth humble beginnings in fashion was as an apprentice and clerk for various textile manufaturers.

In 1845 he relocated to Paris and worked for Gagelin who sold textile goods, shawls and some ready-to-wear garmentst.  Eventually Worth became Gagelin’s leading salesman and opened a small dressmaking department for the company which he designed for.

Evening dresses designed by Worth circa 1887 (left, silk, glass, metallic thread) and 1892 (silk, crystal, metallic thread)

Evening dresses designed by Worth circa 1887 (left, silk, glass, metallic thread) and 1892 (silk, crystal, metallic thread)

In 1858 Worth opened his own design house with a partner called Worth et Bobergh.  Worth was able to secure the partronage of Napoleon III’s wife Empress Eugénie which ensured his success from the 1860’s onwards.

Due to his his use of lavish fabrics and trimmings, his incorporation of elements of historic dress, his attention to fit and his tendency to create one-of-a-kind pieces for his most important clients Worth became known as the Father of Haute Couture.

Worth passed away in 1895.



About Septembre

Septembre Anderson is a passionate journalist, cultural critic and public intellectual. Her work has appeared in Flare, FASHION Magazine,, Complex Canada, Vice Canada and Huffington Post Canada.
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