Garment Layout and Design

I teach advanced silk painting for bias garment construction. I mostly use Carter Smith patterns for bias tube and jacket made from 2 squares and bias tube construction based on the Julianne Bramson and Susan Lenahan book Bias Cut Blueprints . All the paper tools are for the Bramson Lenahan tube method.

To make the paper tool for yourself or modify mine for longer garments:

1) establish the hemline on the true bias (fold over the top of the paper to form a square)  - on the paper below it is the orange line going from upper right to lower left
2) establish a centerline on the small triangle above by folding the paper in half at the corner in the upper left to the hemline (the green line)
3) establish a centerline on the larger trapezoid below the hemline by folding in half from the lower right corner to the hemline (the blue line)
4) measure the hemline length - on 85 x 11" paper it will be 12" which means the front and back will each be 6" along the hemline, each side will be 3" wide along the hemline
5) establish the sidelines and centerlines for above and below the hemline. (3" to the right of green line is yellow, to the left of greenline is pink. This is true above and below the hemline.)

Note that

a) All the lines are the same length if you add them up above and below the lines (the blue line is the maximum line length and all the others add up to that line)
b) The blue center line will be met at the hem by the two blue triangles at the edges of the hemline
c) Any line can be used as the center front, center back or side on the finished garment. In fact, center front can be anywhere at ALL along that hemline.
d) Pattern is placed on either side of the the hemline with neck, shoulder, and arms eye  along the line.
e) If you use a LONGER piece of paper to represent a longer blouse or dress, the blue line will move to the left or right with respect to the hemline.
f) If the center front  is along the blue line, which emanates from a corner, the center back will always be along the green line which also emanates from a corner.
g) The only cut before sewing the tube is along the hemline, and the fabric moves straight down so that the TOP edge and BOTTOM edge meet
h) The easiest way to have motif cross a line is at the top/bottom of the rectangle
i) The hemline is ENTIRELY along one side or the other of the hemline diagonal, though when folding the fabric up to make the actual hem, you will loose the point.

When you mark the silk, use the same strategy - fold the silk along the diagonals to establish hemline. Mark the hemline. Measure hemline to establish width of each front and back panel. Marks along diagonal hemline to indicate center front, center back, side seam. BOTH sides of hemline need marks as they differ.  Put marks in the area which will end up in the hem. Color code can help. I always use the same colors I put on my paper tool.  Put color codes along edge (they will end up in seams) corresponding to triangles on paper tool. Determine these marks by folding the silk along diagonals.

Paper tool 8.5 x 11
Hemline is diagonal mark ed in orange and is 12"


Cross body motif cut below hemline, front center on blue line

Seams meet at center front hemline

 Front drape and center front are seam free
 Seams start at upper center back wind around front. Single color on edges hides seams well
Large item motif cut above hemline upside down with center back on green line

Seams start at top front center and are largly hidden by drape or cut away in arms eye
 Seams wind around body from  front top  to lower back, meeting several inches above hem Seams come around from lower arms eye in back
Geometric motif cut above hemline upside down with side seam at center

Seams run from upper shoulder to opposite lower hem
Allows motif to follow edges on lower portion of fabric
Diagonal contrast creates motif with different colors on edges
 Carter Smith tube has smaller triangles, with drape in center of one


 Fashion in Harmony

This website has terrific information on making bias cut garments and their book, Bias Cut Blueprints is a must-have for any seamstress doing a lot of silk work. Fashion in Harmony also present workshops around the country.

(888) 818-5190

Fashion in Harmony

Carter Smith's Shibori site

Carter sells a wonderful  DVD's & printed step-by-step instructions are available to purchase for $60.00. email CARTER@SHIBORI.COM