Long before knits came on the fashion scene, the bias cut was used for body-hugging silhouettes like the dress on Jean Harlow above. It all started back in the 1920s 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. Many times they seem like a second skin.
Not all gowns are allover bias cuts. The Candy Anthony confections below have a very full bias cut skirt and fitted bodice on grain. 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.