Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pleating a French Hood Frill

As mentioned, here's my blog post about making the frill for a French hood. (the way I do it, anyhow.)

I use the uncrinkled metallic silk organza and a smocking pleater.

Start with a ripped strip of fabric about four inches wide that runs the width of the fabric (mine are about 45")
Fold them in half and pin them to the ironing table. Press a hard crease in the fold.
Here I've got several strips on my table. I  try to always do these things in batches.

Take the pressed strip to the sewing machine and stitch the two raw edges together, making sure that the layers don't slip at all. Grain must be really straight for the smocking pleater to do a good job.

Press the stitched strip flat again, making sure there are NO bubbles or twists in the grain.
Use pinking shears to trim the nasty, stringy edge off neatly. You can't have the stray loose threads tangling up in the pleater. If there is even one loose thread, it Will gum up the works.

Trim off the selvedge. It's bulkier than the rest of the fabric, and the pleater, as mentioned, is picky.

Here's a pressed, stitched, pinked, trimmed strip, ready to go into the pleater.

Now thread the pleater with invisible thread, making sure that the tails of the thread are at least 20" long, and tied all twelve ends together. I use six needles, just from trial and error.
 Four was definitely too few.

The trimmed, cut edge goes into the pleater, with the folded edge just barely past the far right needle. If it's too far to the right, the frill will have a ruffle/buckle in it. Too close to the needle and you run the risk of missing the fabric with that needle entirely.

As the handle (that I apparently do not show in ANY of these shots) on the right side of the pleater is turned slowly, the fabric feeds into the gears and is folded and forced onto the needles at regular intervals.

Edited to add photo of the whole smocking pleater:

And just cause they are cool, the curved, specialty needles they require:

Here's a video. You can thank my son who was enlisted to hold the camera,
 as this really takes two hands.
It's not gorgeous, but it shows you how it happens.

Plus - WOO! I uploaded a video!

 As the pleats feed onto the needles, you gently pull them off the edge and onto the thread tails. If they scrunch up too tightly, the needles break, and the whole thing is a wash.

I tend to then serge the pinked edge of the finished frill, just to make sure none of those loose threads ever get back in my way.

Next time - shaping the frill with steam!

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