We have UV-inscribed and theoretically and experimentally analyzed fiber gratings with the structure tilted at 45° and implemented this type of devices as an in-fiber polarizer. A systematic investigation has been carried out on the characterization of 45° tilted fiber gratings (45° TFGs) in terms of the polarization-dependant loss (PDL) and thermal response. The detailed theoretical modeling has revealed a linear correlation between the grating length and the PDL, which has been proved by the experimental results. For the first time, we have examined the UV beam diffraction from a tilted phase mask and designed the UV-inscription system to suit the 45° TFG fabrication. Experimentally, a 24 mm long 45° TFG UV-inscribed in standard telecom single-mode fiber exhibited around 25 dB PDL at 1530 nm and an over ~300 nm bandwidth of PDL spectrum. By the concatenation method, a 44 mm long grating showed a PDL as high as 40 dB that is close to the high polarization extinction ratio of commercial products. Moreover, we have revealed that the PDL of 45° TFGs has low thermal influence, which is desirable for real application devices. Finally, we experimentally demonstrated an all-fiber twist sensor system based on a 45° and an 81° TFG.