Kampfrau (Trossfrau)

Skirt: the pleating

Sunday was for pleats (not all day.. but a good chunk of it).
I’m totally cheating.. and I’m ok with that. For pleating the skirt I’m going to use a cheater strip of gingam. I’m relatively certain -they- wouldn’t have done this.. but I’m fundamentally ok with the cheat.

I found a nice woven-in gingham with (mostly) even blocks. Each block is ~3/8 inch square. (1)
I cut off a ~4″ wide strip as long as my skirt fabric. Folded it in half. Ironed it and then attached this to the top of the skirt. (2)

Then I did “the math” and figure out how many pleats for the dress. 52 pleats which translates to 8 blocks per pleat.  Each pleat has two sides.. so my pleating stitches will be over 4 blocks each (see math below).

Then I flipped the cheater srtip so that I had a nice “finished edge” at the top of my skirt fabric (probably not necessary) and ran the gather threads. (3)

(1) Measuring the blocks
(2) Sewing on the cheater strip

(3) Running the gather threads

I pulled the gather strings tight to get my pleats. (4)
On my Cranach dress I attached the pleats directly to the dress. This meant that when I had to fiddle with the bodice I had to completely remove the pleats from the dress and then re-pleat the skirt and resew it. So to avoid that pain I’m gong to connect the pleats to a band of wool (the same as used in the outer fabric of the dress and then attach the band to the dress. The band is a 3″ wide strip of the wool with the edges folded inwards (5) and then sewn closed.

(4) Pretty Pleats all in a row

(5) The unsewn band

{NOTE: AFTER I took the pictures I realized that I had skipped 8 blocks on each of the gather stitches.. which ended up giving me ~25 pleats instead of 52 pleat. I have now unpleated that and repleated it skipping 4 block for each stitch. It just wouldn’t be a sewing project if I didn’t repeat at least one step in the process.}

Next to-do:
Attach skirt to band
Attach band to bodice
Trim skirt to length
Add guards. I want two guards. (2″ to hem, 5″ guard, 2″, 3″ guard).

The bottom of the bodice is about 45.5″ around.
I have 158.5″ of skirt.

I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 3/4″(3/8″+3/8″=6/8″). When this is attached to the bottom of the bodice I’ll need to add another 1/8″ to that to account for the bulk between the tops of each pleat. This give me a total of about 7/8″ for each pleat (6/8″+1/8″).

This gives me around 52 pleats (45.5 divided by 7/8″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.
Which means that each pleat needs to be around 3.04″ each (158.5 divided by 52).
Rounding this, I’ll be using 8 blocks in the gingam as my guide for each pleat. (each block is around 3/8. 3/8 x 8 = 3 which is as close as I can come in whole blocks to 3.04).  Each pleat has two sides which means I’ll be stitching over 4 block in my under/over pleating stitch (4+4=8).

It should leave me with ~2.5 inches left over. This will work for the french seam and for overlapping the skirt opening.


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