Sewing A Plaid Granville Shirt: Deciding What to Cut on the Bias

I’m starting a plaid version of the Granville shirt soon. It’ll be perfect for fall, for layering under warm cabled sweaters and wearing under jackets.

What’s cool about plaid fabric is the lines. Cutting pieces on the bias turns these into diagonal lines, which adds visual interest and can draw attention to different parts of the garment. Bonus: if you turn plaids on the bias, you don’t have to match the seam! (That’s if there is a bias piece sewn to a straight grain piece.)

So the first question to ask before cutting, if you plan to cut some pieces on the bias and some on the straight grain, is this:

What goes on the bias?

Here’s an idea: why not print out a copy of the line drawing, and draw in the planned plaid lines? Our Granville Shirt photo gallery includes line drawings as well as photos, so you can do this at home too. Just right-click and save a copy of the image, then print it out!

plaid granville shirt - sewing with plaid fabrics-1

Here’s my little coloured-in sketch, trying out different plaid directions.. It doesn’t have to be fancy! I didn’t colour or draw plaid lines across the whole shirt, just the parts that I wanted to envision on the bias. I also drew the cuffs both ways, on the bias and on the straight grain.

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Here are some thoughts on what parts you might want to cut on the bias, for a plaid Granville Shirt!

Button Band: I really love the look of a bias button band. It’s a little trickier to sew, since it will stretch, but it adds interest to your shirt.  If you do a bias buttonband, you could do bias cuffs as well, to balance it out. How much fabric you have will help you decide, too. Bias uses more fabric than cutting on the straight grain.

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Yoke: This is another place where I think bias plaids look fantastic. So do we cut the inner yoke on the bias as well? You could cut it on the straight grain for more stability. Or, you could cut both on the bias so both layers stretch and give the same. There are pros and cons for both decisions.

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Pockets: They look cool on the bias. They don’t have to match, if they were cut on the straight grain I’d be trying to line them up with the shirt front so they looked invisible. (This isn’t impossible, and I’ll probably do it on a future shirt, but it does make them disappear.)

Flaps: I thought it would be odd to have bias pockets with straight flaps.

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Once you’ve decided, keep your drawing handy when cutting, so you remember your plans! Cut slowly and carefully, and double-check each piece as you go. (And don’t answer the phone.)

Here’s a look at the fabric I’m using. You can see it’s not perfectly symmetrical, the navy boxes are rectangular rather than square, and even the green stripes aren’t the same width on the length and width.

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More posts on sewing with plaids here: Matching Plaids: A Step-by-Step Guide and a peek of how to match plaids by cutting single layer here: Plaid Flared Skirt: Burda 9/2014 #104

Next up: more progress on the plaid Granville shirt! See all posts related to shirtmaking and sewing the Granville Shirt here.

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18 Responses to Sewing A Plaid Granville Shirt: Deciding What to Cut on the Bias

  1. Ofer September 10, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    thanks for all the Granville tips! they are all so helpful and I learned so much from making this great pattern. I am still curious about the button bands and why they left and right are not simply symmetric…. the green plaid looks like a great choice.

    • Tasia September 10, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      It’s because the right side (the side on top) has a separate button band piece, this allows you to cut it on the bias or cut it from contrast fabric. You could easily skip it and simply use the extension as the button band on both sides, or even use the button band piece itself on both sides. Hope this makes sense!

      • Ofer September 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

        thanks – know it makes perfect sense! (I thought I’m missing something important)

  2. nothy September 10, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    I like version B, the button band and yoke on the bias. Plaids are fun to sew and wear because of positioning. Please do a post on cutting/matching plaids. I desperately need a refresher…also, I am so looking forward to your new patterns.

    • Tasia September 10, 2015 at 11:36 am #

      I have a brief post on matching plaids to follow – specifically, cutting the Granville Shirt in plaid fabrics and the things I line up as I go! It’s going to be sort of a play-by-play post, rather than an Official How To. But do ask any questions you have! I have links to two tutorials at the end of this post, and I recently saw this post on Sew, Mama, Sew that has clear diagrams to explain the process:

  3. Sewer September 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    I was taught that if the outer yoke is on bias the inner one should be on the straight grain for stability.

    • Tasia September 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Yup, you’d essentially lose the give and stretch of bias, which on something like a yoke, makes a lot of sense!

  4. Annette September 10, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi there I really like the Yoke and the button band in the bias! Love the fabric and looks nice and cozy! No matter what is done, it will look great! TFS, Annette

    • Tasia September 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      Thanks! It’s a very fall-appropriate plaid, good and cosy-looking!

  5. Sarah September 10, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    I’m making a checked Granville right now! It’s a cotton but looks like buffalo plaid and I’ve gone with a bias yoke and cuffs. I took such care in lining up the checks but one spot I nearly stuffed up on was the side seams – I lined up the checks from the armpit and forgot about the bust dart affecting the check matching below. Luckily the width of the dart is almost the width of a check and I managed to fudge through but I nearly cried….. It’s looking awesome despite my angst…

    • Tasia September 18, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      That’s a tricky one! If you follow basic plaid matching rules your instinct is to line it up at the armpit.. but yes, if you have a bust dart that will only line up *above* the dart. Since it’s already done, consider that you’ll probably have your arms at the sides most of the time.. ? :)

  6. jaybell September 11, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    This post could not be more timely for me! One of my upcoming sewing projects is a Granville shirt in a lovely purple plaid. It will be my first plaid garment, so I will need all the help with matching plaids I can get! I love the button band, cuffs, and yoke on the bias. If there are two pockets, I think it would look cool to have them on the bias too. If there is just one pocket, I don’t know why but I would probably cut it on the straight grain.

    I saw a shirt on the internet that was exactly the reverse–the front, back, and sleeves were on the bias while the button band and cuffs were on the straight grain. It looked totally cool but would it be difficult to sew?

    • Tasia September 18, 2015 at 9:34 am #

      It wouldn’t be that difficult, but may hang differently due to the bias. If the fabric is drapey and soft, then it might cling through the body on the bias, where it might not on the straight grain. It’s worth a try but harder to predict the results.
      It could also be that the fabric on the internet shirt was a printed plaid on the diagonal? Then in that case it would look like the body’s on the bias, but it’s actually cut on grain.

  7. Bibi September 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    I made a plaid Granville shirt last week with small plaids. The button band and the “towers” we’re cut in the bias and I think it turned out very nice. I actually lined up all the other plaids and it was pretty time- and nerve consuming so the next one will probably have the yoke cut on the bias as well.
    I’d also like to thank you so very much for these patterns! I’m a pear and finally there are patterns that fit from the envelope and look great! Love your patterns!!

  8. jennifer September 15, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    Thank you so much for this! I just completed 2 different plaid tops (Wiksten Tova and Tessuti Alice top) where I did the yoke in bias plaid but couldn’t find any advice for the lining of the bias plaid. Do I make it bias also or straight grain??

    I did one top where the outside yoke is bias and the inside is a lighter weight fabric but cut on the straight grain. The other top I did bias on the outside yoke AND bias on the inside yoke using the same fabric for inside and out–no interfacing. Not sure if that’s confusing! But anyway, I wanted you to know I love that you addressed this.

    *both tops turned out great with what I did and the reason I chose what I did was because of weight of fabric.

    Thank you Tasia!

    • Tasia September 18, 2015 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks for the feedback on bias vs. non-bias! Great to hear how it worked in actual projects. :)

  9. Jen September 27, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    Thanks for this! I bought both the Granville and Oakridge when they were released but am yet to make the Granville. I’ve just started a Minoru with some brushed cotton red and navy buffalo plaid for the lining. I’m hoping I have some left over and if so, I’m definitely making a Granville! I think I’d go with at least the yoke and pockets on the bias, perhaps also the button band and cuffs… but that might be too much.


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