1. The cross, or the bias is the line at 45 degrees to the horizontal grain.

2. Cutting and planning your project on the cross, or the bias, increases its stretch and softens the drape. Cross cut fabric has the ability to form itself  easily to any shape;lightly  pre –  stretched piping or edgings will mould to shape without wrinkling. Shaped cushions – round, oval, those with curved arm shapings will always look better with cross cut piping.  Lampshade linings are always cut on the cross and stretch until each panel takes on the shaping of the frame.

3. Cutting on the cross changes the weave or pattern – it alters the direction of the grain, so that when a project is made up with the piping  or a binding, or border, cut on the cross, a  more or less subtle sculptural change has happened and another dimension added. This is true of any normal plain weave, but  especially one where there is some design or fibre  element that allows the yarn to show- say a raised thread or a more rustic weave. To see the same  fabric cut on the cross is to enjoy another aspect of it just by the change of angle.

When a  fabric is a check or stripe though, the change is much more dramatic. A checked border edging or piping must be made really accurately with the pattern true, and then it can be used with itself, with a stripe or floral, or plaid or another completely different type of fabric, to great effect. A cross cut edging certainly identifies a line, around a chair edge or the edge of curtains. Short curtains rarely look good in situ, but with a neat cross – cut border all the way around, they can look very good, right, and  planned.

4. Cross cuts need to be as long as possible-  they are limited  by the width of the fabric, but this isn’t usually  a problem- most things don’t need to be joined beyond  this length, and then if they do,  a neat flat seam will do it. The cutting need not be wasteful if the space above is used well and planned at the start- a cushion cover , and / or ties can be cut from the ‘spare’ corner. In fact we’ve found we need to allow exactly the same amount of fabric for cross cut edges as for plain ones.

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