A Brief Tutorial On Cartridge Pleating
Next take some really strong thread (carpet or upholstery thread is best, but two lengths of button thread will work too), make sure it matches the fabric as it will remain in place after the skirt is finished, and run it in and out thru the measured marks. The width between your marks will determine how big your pleats will be. If you are using relatively thin fabric you will want to make your marks fairly close together, if you are using a thick fabric you will need to make them farther apart. Also the more fabric you are trying to attach to a smaller area, the wider apart you will need to make your marks. Unfortunately much of this will be determined thru trial and error (see my first Queen Elizabeth dress diary where I initially made the pleats the wrong size for the fabric) or by experience and learning to eyeball it. Slowly draw the fabric along the gathering thread to make regular pleats.
intervals on the finished waistband and the top edge of the skirt (before
pleating) put large headed pins to mark where the two pieces of fabric should
come together. I like to put pins at half, quarter, and eighths of the length
and then match them up during the gathering process. Remember to leave several
inches unpleated at the front of the skirt, especially if it's going to open in
the front. The 3 or 4 pleats closest to the front opening should be smaller than
the majority of the pleats too, this gives a smoother transition from flat front
to pleated sides and back
When it's all done, it looks like this. The side with the facing where the pleats protrude is worn on the inside. I know that sounds obvious, but I am trying to make this idiot proof, because I don't want people making idiot mistakes the way I did the first couple of times I tried this. It's easy once you know the secret........And in case you are wondering, yes, you do have to sew most of this by hand. If anyone figures out how to sew the skirt to the waistband by machine, please let me know! Actually, it's not bad to do the sewing by hand, once you have all the prep work done and the pleats pinned to the waistband, you can throw in your favorite costume drama in the DVD player and sit and sew. It's kinda relaxing. Don't remove the gathering thread, it will help the pleats hang properly.
what the skirt looked like before I got the big honkin' rhinestone buttons sewn
Now the bodice, under
sleeves, and skirt are finished, I just have to finish the hanging sleeves. I
love hanging sleeves. I will admit that putting hanging sleeves on a French
bodice was not typical of the period, but there are one or two portraits that
show it. That's good enough for me!
I lined the sleeve with
an antique gold dupioni silk so that there will be some texture and shine but no
additional pattern. There's a lot of pattern in the dress fabric and sleeves so
I didn't want it to be too much.
I sewed the hanging sleeves into the shoulder of the bodice by hand. It's the best way to get a smooth seam and a good hang.
Here's what the sleeve looked like before sewing it into the bodice. The top curve goes just in front of the round of the shoulder and the bottom part of the curve goes under the arm.
Here's a preview of what the two sleeves will look like together.
I took small gold
filigree beads and tipped the ribbons on the under sleeves. They are subtle but
give it a nice finished look without adding bulk.
Here's a close-up of
what the two sleeves look like when worn together.
Of course, this still leaves what I will wear on my head. If you will remember back at the start of this, one of the thing which seemed to confuse the public was the lack of crown. I am now the proud owner of a rhinestone tiara- who would have thought it? I will wear it with dressed hair and an antique gold tissue veil. Think I'll look sufficiently queenly?
And I know that you
were all worried that I was sewing this without appropriate feline supervision.
Not a problem. Isabeau was watching me every step of the way.
For anyone who has been
following along, you know that this page is caught in a time warp. I finished
this dress almost a year before this update was posted (9/13/05). Bad me.
Therefore I am able to present to you the dress in it's finished form pretty
A closer shot on the
stairway so you can see some of the details.
(To the tune of a famous Broadway show/movie- everybody sing....)
Don't cry for me Stronghold Castle.....
Here's an outdoor shot
with Katherine who plays Thomasina de Paris a woman who was actually in service
to Elizabeth as a jester. Katherine is a complete hoot as Thomasina and does a
great job of keeping everybody in stitches. It's so cool to have a Mini-Me!
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This page was last updated on 09/22/06.