starlightmasque (starlightmasque) wrote,

Damn Pleats

I love pleats, but I hate making pleats.
Now, cartridge pleats are my favorite—they look amazing and they are easy to make. Very mathematical, so easy to place the needle in the exact right spot and draw them all together so they are perfect looking.
Knife pleats seem the easiest, but man I can never ever get them right. I love perfectly even perfectly spaced pleats. I do not have the skill set to make them how I like them. I don’t know why. I can do the math with a calculator so I know exactly how large each pleat and return should be. It never works out because there is a problem somewhere between the calculator and the fabric. (That would be me and my thick fumbly fingers) Even when I try really really hard and pay close strict attention—I still can’t get them perfect and end up trimming out some of the fullness or re-pleating or giving up and gathering instead.
I need a pleating machine. I need something to make these “simple” little pleats as perfect and as quick as can be. Quick is the operative word, I guess. I spent all day yesterday just pleating the back part of the underskirt.  I thought I’d have the whole skirt done by noon. Such a foolish foolish woman I am. Nope. Still not done.
AM I DOING IT WRONG? Is there an easy peasy method I am just not aware of? Am I missing something here? It’s certainly possible. I am completely self-taught, and what I don’t know about sewing technique could fill a library. Does anyone out there have a quick and easy knife pleating method they are willing to share? Does anyone have experience with any of the pleater boards that are out there? Has anyone ever designed a custom one? I would love nothing better than to shove fabric in a slot, swipe with an iron and sew the perfect little pleats down. Is that even possible? Am I just in sewing la la land looking for a cheater solution where there is none?
I want a smocking pleater so badly it’s killing me, but that won’t help with this. I usually have so much fabric that the returns have to be pretty large compared to the pleat, like a ¼ inch pleat and a 2 inch return. Right now, I just measure, fold and pin. It works, but it’s very time consuming and never looks perfect on close inspection. Like so:


If anyone is looking at that photo and thinking “Oh, honey, no. Just no.” Then please please let me in on the secret!
Love, Angela
Tags: 16th century italian renaissance, bethany, blue and gold florentine gown, pleats
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