Sunday, September 7, 2008

How to make pleats on an irish dance dress

I have many people emailing me with questions on irish dance dress construction. I try to explain as much as I can, to help to eradicate the myth that these dresses are somehow 'easy' or quick to make... :-) Sometimes I get a question that keeps coming up again and again and from now on I will try to answer these through my blog.

So, many people ask me about the pleated fringe on the hemlines of the 'swoop' or wrap dresses.

Question #1: "where can I buy pleated fabric or fringe to attach to my dress? "

Answer - Only a few specialized fabric stores will carry pre-pleated fabric. It is expensive, almost never can be found in the right fabric/color/width and did I mention it was expensive?

Question#2: "Ok, so I cannot find/buy pre-pleated fabric. / It is too expensive for my budget. / It is not the right size/shape/fabric........ What do all those dressmakers do?

Answer - They pleat it themselves - You have several options for this :

1. Some specialists in drycleaning might also offer a pleating service. In this case you find this specialist, give them the fabric and have it pleated.

2. (Buy a pleater board and) pleat your own fabric

3. Make your own pleater board and pleat your own fabric.

Question#3: "I think I want to make my own pleated do I do this?"

Answer - Either you buy the perfect pleater from Clothilde and follow the instructions, or you download this pdf explaining roughly how to make your own board.
Of course, you can always just pleat the fabric "freehand", going one pleat at a time, pressing each time you make a fold.

Run out of fabric? Just pleat a second piece and join the fabric in the inner folds of the pleat. It will be invisible from the right side of the dress.

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