Bias-cut Tweed Dress

Tweed is one of the nicest and easiest fabrics to sew, in my opinion. Did you know that the origin of tweed is said to be the Tweed River that flows along the border between England and Scotland? Yet apparently, the name of the fabric is a result of a clerical error when tweel (old name for tweed  for its characteristic 2×2 twill weave) was misspelled as tweed. Anyway, it is a perfect wool fabric for beginners. It doesn’t distort easily, reacts very well to steam and heat, easy to sew, easy to cut, easy to hide mistakes, it is reversible, durable, and, and, and…  So, once I decided to sew a dress with tweed it was pretty straight forward.

Grey Tweed Dress


Grey Tweed Dress


Grey Tweed Dress

Ok, this is not one of those amazing dresses. It is rather quiet and simple, warm and very comfortable to wear. I worn it several times by now and I love it. However, despite its simplicity, as with many other projects I made this year, this one was about learning new couture techniques and this dress was worth a million for me.

Why? The Burdastyle pattern I chose is laid out on the bias for the front. The back is on straight grain. So, I wanted a layer between the wool and the body, and this pattern layout posed some challenges. What I did is underline the dress with silk charmeuse, with the front cut on the bias too. This required some experimentation and quite a few new skills on working with the bias, and, can you imagine, there are hardly any resources, except for some information in the Threads archive on working with bias.

I was very, very lucky though, because Susan Khalje, a couture expert, author and teacher, generously shared with me quite a few tips for this project. I have been learning from her for a while now, but it was a revelation, thanks to this project, that Charles Kleibacker, an American couturier who was also known as the “Master of the Bias,” was Susan’s mentor! This is as good as it gets, really!

It took me a while to research, experiment and prepare the fabric, but at the end there was no pulling anywhere on the bias-cut front. Both fabrics behaved like one, despite the fact that they were both cut on bias. I won’t bore you with details here, as there will be a ‘behind-the seams’ post on where I will explain what I did.

Here, a few more shots – I was just fooling with the camera though – but at least you can see how the dress looks belted, or with a yardstick, ahem…
Grey Tweed DressGrey Tweed Dress
And, finally, my favorite, the Sewminatrix shot. Who was naughty here? Stay warm!

Grey Tweed Dress

Editor’s note: Marina bought her gray tweed at Mood NYC, but we do have loads of tweed fabrics available online. Click here.



  • Amanda S.
    December 26, 2012

    This dress looks great on you! It may be quiet, but you have loads of possibilities for changing it up with different accessories.

  • Barbara Stone
    December 26, 2012

    I love it! And congratulations on the bias underlining…looks great!

  • Renee
    December 26, 2012

    This dress is on my list from a tweed too!

  • Carolyn
    December 27, 2012

    This is fantastic! I love the simplicity of the design mixed with an unusual fabric choice…well at least not one I would have thought of. Can’t wait to read your construction details, I’m sure I’ll learn something new!

  • Sarah Gunn
    December 27, 2012

    What a beautiful dress, Marina! ………. love your belts.. and yardstick. 🙂

  • angela
    December 27, 2012

    Love the dress!!! I have to make this dress. This is so me and I am on a mission to make some long sleeve dresses since it is next to impossible to find them at the store. You look amazing in the dress by the way and sometimes the plain dresses are the best ones! Fabulous job…cannot wait to read more about the details.

  • Erica B
    December 28, 2012

    That dress looks so comfy… like you’d just want to live in it!

  • Ginger
    December 28, 2012

    I love this! It’s so chic! I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while, but I fear the bias! 🙂

  • Amy
    January 1, 2013

    I’ve been eyeing that pattern, and now even more so since it looks great on you! Love all of your outtakes, too!!

  • Teddi
    January 3, 2013

    I love this dress! I think it is quite elegant!