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Topic: How to make pleated/gathered dress  (Read 3268 times)
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« on: December 10, 2012 01:35:58 AM »

I've been dying to make a dress with these pleat/gather type things, but don't even know what to call them or how to make them. Any advice?

« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012 05:20:24 AM »

Hard to tell the fabric from the picture, could be a stretch or even a layered chiffon. I would reccommend easiest fabric would be just a medium weight 100%cotton or stretch jersey type. Depends if you want a night or day dress?

I have no idea what you'd call this style, but id say if youre not a patternmaker, then easiest way to make it would be draping on a stand/mannequin. It looks like it would have 5-7 pieces (front with no center seam, back 2 pieces, one piece yoke and a skirt with a front and 2 backs? - zip going down center) and fully lined (but the skirt wouldnt necessarily have to be).

Id make the bust & back pieces first, drape and pin gathers how you wish, and then cut your V neck and shape the back. Attach a middle waist-yoke piece to the waist and the bottom of your front/back, however wide you like and then finally your skirt, gathered at the waist connected to the yoke. Im guessing the zip is invisible at the Center Back?

Draw out your pieces how you imagine them and then get draping? x

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.

« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012 06:32:25 AM »

I can't be completely sure from the thumbnail, but this dress appears to have a gathered bodice, ruched belt and pleated skirt.

To replicate this look, start with a dress or top pattern that features a similar bodice. If the pattern does not have a fairly straight, slightly gathered skirt, find a pattern for a suitable skirt.

The easiest way to get the pleats is to use pre-pleated fabric. Like this http://www.dessy.com/accessories/fortuny-pleated-nu-georgette-fabric-by-the-half-yard/#.UMXnj6w70b0

A surprising, but slightly less expensive option, is to repurpose a set of pleated "Isis Wings" used in belly dance. They come in many shades of organza and lame http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=organza+wings+bellydance&_sacat=0&_from=R40  One set can be sewn together and cut down into a semi circle pleated skirt.

Or you might get lucky in a thrift shop, as I did. I found two olive green satin formal gowns with grease marks on the bodices and beautiful full pleated satin skirts, in pristine condition. I removed the skirts from the bodice, but then it became one of those projects that just falls to the side. Anyway...

Baste or stay stitch along the edges to hold the pleats in place as you work. Position the pattern pieces from the straight skirt with the pleats going up and down the skirt vertically.

The hard way is to make the pleats yourself. I find it time consuming and tedious.  It's expensive, too, you'll need three times as much fabric. Worst of all, the pleats may not be wash fast. You'll need a fabric that can hold the pleat crease made with an ordinary home iron and starch, or the pleat will wash out with every laundering. If that happens you'll need to repress them back in. You can sew the pleats in place by edge stitching alllll the way along each vertical fold, but that eats up a lot of time and thread. Silk fabric pleats nicely and will hold the pleats through dry cleaning, but the instant water touches the silk the creases will vanish.

Knife pleats, the kind usually used on clothing, are all the same size and face and fold in the same direction. Check Youtube and Google for tutorials on how to make knife pleats. Also, the bottom of the skirt in Simplicity 2172 steampunk costume is knife pleats, you could follow those instructions adapting the pattern for length. Basically, you mark the fabric, fold it, and press or stitch the pleats in place. Accordion pleats alternate directions of the fold. The bellydance Isis wings are accordion pleated, so the look is slightly different.

If I were going to duplicate this dress, I'd use a pair of the Isis wings, even tho the pleat would be different. My second choice would be the pre-pleated apparel fabric. I would avoid trying to make a pleated skirt like this from scratch, but that's just me.

If you want to try making your own pleats, I suggest finding a simple skirt pattern with a few knife pleats as a design element. Make up a sample to get a taste of pleat making. Experiment with different fabrics, and wash the test pieces the way to plan to launder the finished garment.
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012 11:41:18 AM »

I think I can do this, thank you both so much!
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