Pintucks are evil

It’s true.  Idle hands are the devils work, and seamstresses with too much time on their hand invent time-wasting sewing techniques like pintucks.  Ergo, pintucks are evil.

In other news, having determined that pintucks are evil, my house has turned into a den of iniquity.

I’ve been pintucking for three days straight.

I’m wearing a path in the carpet between the ironing board and my sewing machine.

My life goes: iron a crease.  Trot to the sewing machine, fabric in hand.  Sew a tiny stitch just in from the crease.  Trot back to the ironing board.  Press the resulting pintuck.  Flip the fabric and carefully measure and iron a new crease. Repeat ad nauseum.

To make it even worse, the pintucks in the two back panels of Emily’s skirt are curved.  You heard that right folks, curved pintucks.  It’s the ninth circle of hell, and let me tell you, those curves are really treacherous.  Dante just forgot to tell you that Satan is wearing a dress with three neckholes and curved pintucks all over it.

OK.  That was my whinge of the day.  Tomorrow I’ll tell you what the pintucks have taught me about the seamstress who made Emily’s dress, and about the look of the dress itself.


  1. but they look so preeetttty!

    I know what you mean, though. If I have too-much-time, I end up piping, like, everything. Although nowadays it’s more like I just do nothing at all until ONEWEEKBEFORE. We all do that, right? 🙂

    Pics, pls, I know your pintucks are going to be gorgeous!

  2. Noelle says

    Why don;t you just use a pintucking foot on your sewing machine? They work wonders and you can skip all that crazy ironing. curves are a breeze.

    • Laura says

      This. I have a pintuck foot from a 1923 White Rotary that works with snap-on style Griest feet – you have to get the kind that press the pleat in, not the silly plain modern foot with the groove in it – and it goes *so* much faster.

  3. hahahahaa this post cracked me up 😀 Between the “den of iniquity” and what Dante forgot to tell us… brilliant! I can’t even imagine how you would achieve said curved pintucks, so I look forward to seeing the results.

  4. Oh dear, I’m sorry! I thought sewing four little girl dresses in two days was bad. At least none of them have pintucks! I’m sure they will be beautiful, though.

    • It does, but they aren’t proper pintucks, and they aren’t historical, so I’m going to keep sucking it up!

  5. I guess that’s why it’s rare to see adult garments that use alot of pintucks especially a whole dress with pintucks. Pintucks are cool but tedious to work. Im still getting over my shark’s teeth (it’s a pintuck that’s been slashed & folded into triangles) Empire dress.

  6. At least you know it’ll look TO DIE FOR when you’re finished with them….Aaaannnnddddd there’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you’ve sewn the very last one.

  7. Dear Dreamstress,

    The Willcox and Gibbs chain stitch sewing machine (mine is dated 1911) had a Tuck Marker that made tucks much simpler to do, and other makes of machine may have had them as well.

    Mine functions this way: you set your first tuck by hand, but attach the marker attachment to the machine. As you sew, the needlebar leans on a marker, a flat-bottomed piece of metal that presses a crease further along in the fabric, at the distance you set with a thumbscrew.

    After you have run the first seam, you then fold the fabric on that crease the marker made and sew the proper distance, and tra la, your tuck. Meanwhile, your marker has marked the third tuck for you. Rinse and repeat :}

    Mine works beautifully, a century later. I think it was a popular attachment since tucks were so common in the period.

    Very best,

    Natalie in KY

    • I went and had a look, what a clever little beastie! I wonder if more modern machines have tucking feet like these.

    • Me again – the tucker foot I saw online seemed to mark the next tuck to the right of the sewing. Is this normal? It just seemed to me that if it were on the right, the tuck you are sewing would be left of the needle, and so the bulk of the fabric would all be squooshied up in the mechine, not laid out nice and flat on the left?

  8. So are you going to call it “The Dress from Hell”?

  9. Sewer says

    Good for you for doing it by hand. 🙂 Lotta work.

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