Thursday, September 03, 2009

Professional Pleats for the Home Sewer

Aren't these knife pleated skirts great? Click on the picture for a larger view. In 1950, Simplicity Patterns contracted with Superior Dress Trimming Co. to offer commercial pleating for home sewers. You simply purchased your pattern and fabric, prepared the pieces by cutting them out, marking the center fronts and back with basting threads, and mailed the pieces off to Ohio with payment for pleating. The pleating ran between $2.00 - $3.50 depending on the pattern you chose. That compares to about $18 - $31 in today's dollar.

I did a search for commercial pleating on the web, but could only find companies that offer this service in large quantities to the trade. However, I'll bet if you checked locally with your dry cleaner or tailor, you might be able to find someone to do this for you. The pleats are heat set, so some natural fibers will shrink during the process and you should allow extra fabric for this. You should choose a pattern that is designed for pleats, as the pattern pieces will be much wider than normal.

According to Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide, most fabrics will pleat well. The exceptions are wool gabardine and cotton. The durability of the pleats depends on the fiber content of your fabric. Polyester and nylon hold pleats extremely well. Wool, silk, and rayon will have to be dry cleaned and pressed to maintain sharp pleats.

8 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

That's very impressive. I think the person doing the pleats would really have to know what they're doing, to understand how the pleats would fall once the garment is constructed.

puddin said...

perhaps yhey had a place to send to get smocking done as well???

Belle de Ville said...

Pleats yikes...as far as I remember there was nothing simple about Simplicity patterns.

Miss Rayne said...

Its true sunray pleated skirts do flatter every figure. But its hard to get the dry cleaners to look happy when you take one in.

Darrah said...

Wow... I can't believe how cheap it used to be! But then again, everything was. Even dresses! Sucks for us now.

Sal said...

Wow, I had no idea you could self-pleat! I've got some knife-pleated skirts that I can't wait to haul out this fall ...

Gladys said...

Those are gorgeous. My mother had a knife pleated floor length evening skirt. It was gorgeous. I wish I still had it.

Elise said...

Hello, you have the most fabulously wonderful site here and I had to leave this comment for you ! Your posts are beautifully written, creative and original too, and you have interesting pictures.

It's all perfect !

Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes.... 'Happy September'....

Post a Comment