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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Londa’s EZ Pleating w/o Marking

I’m creating a wedding gown for a very special young woman…and in the ‘designing’ progression, she decided she wanted the skirt ‘more poufy’.  Well…that was AFTER I’d already hemmed the Silk Taffeta skirt which is an under layer for a crepe overskirt.  Sew…of COURSE it was then too short!  She had the idea of a pleated addition to the bottom of the taffeta skirt, with the crepe overskirt then roll hemmed to just long enough to cover the seam of the pleated addition to the taffeta skirt.  Sure……….Thankfully, I had enough fabric left over – so I decided on cutting the strips 8″ wide, fold in half – fold being the lowermost edge.  In playing with how much pleat, how deep, how often – I came up with every inch, a 1/2″ deep pleat.  That math then meant that I needed 2x the skirt hem circumference.  I cut the 8″ strips lengthwise on the fabric – and seamed them so I had one continuous length of fabric.  I then pressed in half, wrong sides together.

I HATE math, and boring repetitious tasks, so I was NOT looking forward to marking all of that almost 350″ length of fabric…

Playing, I decided I could physically ‘do’ this right at the machine….my first step was to measure 1″ from the needle in down position  – forward.  I made a mark on a piece of tape, and stuck it to my machine bed.  See photo below.

Measuring and marking a piece of tape on the machine bed 1" forward from the needle

Measuring and marking a piece of tape on the machine bed 1″ forward from the needle

Conveniently, the break of the metal throat plate was 1/2″ from the needle, and then obviously 1/2″ from the mark I had just made…so that meant that I could put a pin into the fabric at the mark, and pull fabric back until it meets the 1/2″ mark – the break of machine bed and throat plate to create the 1/2″ deep pleat.  See the next photograph.

Fold under fabric from pin backwards to the 1/2" mark - where the throat plate meets the machine bed.

Fold under fabric from pin backwards to the 1/2″ mark – where the throat plate meets the machine bed.

Then, the next step was to stitch up to the pin, and stop with needle down and repeat the entire process.  Over and over and over – but this was relatively ‘painless’ compared to actually measuring and marking each pleat! See the result below!

Perfectly pleated fabric: 1/2" deep pleat every 1"

Perfectly pleated fabric: 1/2″ deep pleat every 1″

I then repeated this pleating concept for the sleeves, but in half scale – 1/4″ deep pleats every 1/2″, using the break in the machine bed to throat plate, and pulling the fabric back TO the needle in down position.  SEE ADDITION TO THIS BELOW…

You might also note that the needle is not in center position – I wanted to guide the edge of the fabric along a line on my throat plate, but actually stitch LESS than that width – therefore I utilized one of my favorite features on my machine – NEEDLE position…moving my needle to the right, exactly the amount that I desired.

In preparation for the fitting this weekend (wedding is Dec. 22!),  have now made an ‘educated’ guess as to how much longer the skirt needs to be – and accurately measured and pinned this pleated addition to the bottom of the taffeta skirt – with the points of the pin ending up INSIDE so as to not snag the georgette overskirt!

This gown is 2 separate pieces – this skirt (which shortened, will be a lovely versatile piece in her wardrobe), and a lace top.  Stay tuned – this gown is gonna be GORGEOUS!!!

I’m sure this would be obvious to many, but not to this brain!  I figured if I stitched plenty, that I could just turn half around the other way and have the pleats going the same direction on each arm.  NOT!!!!  I had to do another piece, this time with the bulk of the work to the right of the needle at the machine, using the same technique.  It was a bit harder to do this ‘backwards’.  See the photo below.

I finished the skirt today – YEAH!!!  The hem was a ‘bugger’.  But here is a photo of it.  I’ll do a separate post with some hints on how to do a rolled hem as you see on the georgette overskirt.  Don’t ya just love the shop vac in the photo below the skirt?  Yeah – my ‘studio’ is a corner of the basement – and the skirt is hanging from the rafter!

Finished rolled hem edge with pleated border on underskirt

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