February’s challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly 2016 (due by the end of Feb) is Tucks & Pleats: make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration.
Tucks and pleats have been used for shaping and decoration almost as long as clothing has been around. This 5,000 year old tunic is one of the (if not the) oldest extant garments, and the pleating of the sleeves is used to give it shape and interest:
My first reasonable historical costume was a 16th century working class Flemish outfit, for which I learned to do roll-pleats, in imitation of the deliciously round, full pleats shown in paintings like Breugal’s Wedding Dance. According to my research at the time, we still don’t have any evidence that rolled pleats were used in 16th century Flanders, but they certainly do give the look.
The large cartwheel tuck of turn-of-the-17th century fashion is something that I am still not brave enough to tackle. It both fascinates and revolts me – but if I could replicate Arabella’s spiderweb embellished skirt, I’d definitely attempt it!
You cannot possibly have a discussion of pleats and tucks without a robe a la francaise – I am more than a little obsessed with the so called ‘Watteau’ pleating (which may be why I have a finished francaise, two half-started ones, a finished pet-en-l’aire, and fabric for three more… 😉 )
The 18th century did exceptional pleating in so many ways, like the trim on this hat:
Just look at the phenomenal pleat work on the back of this evening robe:
Continuing on my quest to include this in as many Rate the Dress inspiration posts as possible, the beautifully tucked paisley petticoat:
This dress wasn’t the most popular when I posted it as a Rate the Dress, but I still think that the way the shaping is achieved almost entirely through the use of tucks throughout the torso is amazing.
The loose pleating on the right fashion sketch inspired my tea gown:
And, of course there is Emily’s heavily pintucked dress with pleated ruffle:
To finish, pleats for men and women in the back of their jackets: