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17 November 2011 @ 05:04 pm
Unusual Pleating Solutions  
I don’t know why I’m suddenly obsessed with finding the perfect pleating tool, I should just shut the hell up and get my skirt done already… PSHAW!  But then I just wouldn’t be me.
I came back from the store with another BBQ fork, this one is ¾ inches wide and cost a whopping $2.49. It works brilliantly. Nice long strong tines, evenly spaced, flat, perfect. Super easy to use. Love it.
But, then all the hare brained schemes started pouring in. A hair pick!  Tuning forks! Garden trowel! Plaster comb! Chocolate dipping tool!  A dog comb! I can clip apart a wire basket! I can screw together several meat forks! I can drive nails through a piece of wood! I can ask the_thread_lady to make one out of wood! I can ask katanubis to see if her husband can make a metal one! BLAH BLAH BLAH my head was on fire by that point.
Funny enough, one of those ideas actually works—the hair pick. The plastic ones are not worth bothering with, but the ones with the thicker metal tines are acceptable. The metal pins are sturdy enough to do the job if you are gentle. I’m not so gentle, so I prefer working with the meat forks, but the hair pick allows you to adjust the length of the return and pre-measures the pleat width… not a whole lot of brainwork going on there.  I do like that part. The forks are better, for sure, faster, but you are trapped with a certain length of return and you have to eyeball the pleat width. Almost everything I make that needs pleats is a 2 inch return, so really I’m totally happy with my old BBQ fork I found in the kitchen. But… I know there will come a time I need something a little different. Enter: the hair pick.
I think the pick will be useful for thinner projects—furbelows and such. Or when I need a return that isn’t 1.5 or 2 inches. I just wish the tines were rock solid like the meat forks. Ah well. This is where a custom tool comes in. Maybe someday! In the meantime, I can make do with a meat fork and hair pick. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter.)
Here’s the one I found at Sally’s Beauty Supply for $2.79. Of course, I may or may not be a Black Panther now. I guess I’ll find out at the next meeting. 

And, here’s a demo how I used it.

1) start with the pick on top of the fabric:

2) find the tine that matches the length of the return you want, and duck the fabric beneath it: 

3) Line up whichever exposed tine matches the width of the pleat you'd like. (See the fancy pink arrow!)

4) Gently tighten up the fabric. Be careful, the tines are a little flexy when tugging the fabric:

5) Slide out the pick, pin in place:

TADA!  It works really well, but it is not as fast or as strong as the meat forks. If only we could combine the adjustability of the pick with the strength of the forks.


(Deleted comment)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 18th, 2011 03:00 am (UTC)
Will do!
Katmadamekat on November 18th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
You are so cute!!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 18th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
...cute as in "Oh how cute, she doesn't know everyone knows this already!" kind of cute? heh heh heh you are probably right! I sew alone in a vaccuum so it's all new to me.

(And you are so cute to call me cute-- I am 6'2, thus never called cute-- what a bizarre pleasure! Thanks!)
Katmadamekat on November 18th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Oh no no no!! I knew about the fork thing, yeah, but only because Heather of Truly Victorian mentioned it on her bulletin board a few years ago. I once didn't know a thing about it, either. And there are a million things you know that I don't. No, I meant it was cute how excited you get about a new toy. It made me smile to see you so excited and happy. And it made me want to run out and buy a hair pick, because...brilliant!!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 19th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
I *was* pretty darn excited about it, lol! I actually went right to the car and drove to the beauty store right then and there, and came home with my black fist of pleating power. I just love mingling with all you creative costuming types, it really makes me feel like CREATING. That makes me feel good.

You can call me cute any day of the week! XOXOXO
the_thread_ladythe_thread_lady on November 18th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
You are so creative! I love how you take an idea and run with it!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 18th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sometimes I run splat right into a wall, though. You're bound to see plenty of that in the future.
mslovettstailormslovettstailor on November 18th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
Great idea!!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on November 18th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's my never ending quest to learn every sewing cheat I can to make stuff faster and better!