Get Threads magazine!

Subscribe Renew Give a Gift

I want expert
sewing tips, fabric
reviews, and more.
Renew subscription
Give a Gift

In the Current Issue
Magazine Extras
Digital Issues
Magazine Index
Advertiser Marketplace
Contact the Staff
Author Guidelines
Buy Back Issues
Buy Special Issues
Buy Magazine Slipcases

Threads eLetter

From the pages of Threads Magazine

A New Way to Pleat Drama into Your Garments

Create innovative texture using fabric, fusible interfacing, string, and a large cardboard tube

by Patricia Congleton

A simple pleating process can produce innovative texture using string, fusible interfacing, a cardboard builder's tube (available from building supply stores), and, of course, fabric to be pleated, as described in Patricia Congleton's article "A New Way to Pleat Fabric" in the October/November issue of Threads. In a nutshell, her process involves making a fabric tube and pulling it face down over the cardboard tube, wrapping the fabric with string, sliding the fabric over the string wraps to pleat it, and fusing the back of the fabric with interfacing to lock in the pleated texture.

Almost any lightweight fabric can be pleated
Because pleating adds body and bulk to the fabric, the best results are produced by starting with a lightweight fabric. Whether a print, solid, knit, sheer, lace, or vintage fabric, if it's lightweight, it will probably pleat well.
lightweight lightweight

Pleated fabric works best in selected areas of a garment
Because of the pleated fabric's bulk, the author incorporates it into only selected sections of a garment, as in the detail photo below left, which combines stenciled linen and various unpleated fabrics. She begins by dividing up the pattern piece and determining which fabric goes where, as in the photo below right.

garment pattern

Combining pleated and unpleated fabrics produces unusual effects
This process lends itself to endless variation, starting with combining pleated and unpleated fabrics. But changing the depth of the pleats as well as the angle at which the pleated fabric is pieced also adds character and drama to the results.

Patricia Congleton teaches and designs her remarkable garments in Diamond Bar, Calif.

Mannequin photos: Sloan Howard; all other photos: David Page Coffin

From Threads #97, pp. 48-53
Purchase back issues