Monday, May 15, 2017

Pleating Frustration!

I haven't smocked anything for ages. I love smocking, but I have been busy working on other projects, mostly embroidery, but I had a trip coming up that involved flying. So, with two hours to hang around at airports and a six hour flight in both directions, coupled with down time while I was away and attending two days of business meetings (just listening to reports and more reports) I decided that I needed some handwork and smocking it was going to be.

So, as I have two little girls in my 'family' and they are cousins, I thought I would make them a Mary De each. I have plenty of fabric in my stash and so went off and found two pieces which would make cute dresses. As the fabrics were good quality  cottons, I tore the lengths I needed for the pleated fronts to get them on the straight grain. Then I threaded up my Read pleater with 10 needles and thread and began pleating.
The problem fabric
The fabrics went through the pleater beautifully, one after the other. Before I took the thread off the needles, and removed the pleated fabrics, I decided to wanted to pleat a piece of plain white broadcloth for a insert. I mean, I might want to do some picture smocking too at some point. It was as I moved the first pleated skirt front along the 'washing line' of pleater threads to make room to pleat something else, I noticed that this first fabric I had pleated looked a little odd.There was a definite width-way pattern that had not shown up on the un-pleated fabric and it formed lines on the pleated fabric.
Start of the re-pleating

The difference from the first pleating thread towards the end of the pleating.
So, I hear you say, that isn't a problem. It is still smockable, after all we pleat checks and stripes all the time and smock them. It isn't a problem if the pattern is in line with the pleating threads, in other words, on grain, but this pattern was not. I had followed the torn edge of my straight grain of fabric and the pleating was beautifully straight (even if I say so myself), but the pattern it 'found' in the fabric was not! I just knew that if I smocked that pleated fabric it would look really strange even to the un-trained eye!

Pleated following the pattern rather than the grainline
So I cut it off the pleating thread line, pressed it and re-pleated it following a repeat on the pattern rather than the straight grain of the fabric. The photos show the results. I will now have to adjust the bottom edge when I come to hem the dress.

Now the pattern is straight and doesn't offend the eye!
I have never had this happen before and find it very frustrating. The fabric design was clearly very much off grain when it was printed.  Oh well! Lesson learned. Another time I will have to pleat a sample piece of my patterned fabric just to make sure I don't have the same problem.

1 comment:

  1. As a business owner (Pink Hollybush Designs) who purchases fabric, sadly, more prints are off grain than on grain. I am pleasantly surprised when they are on grain!