18th Century

Re-pleating the pet

After deciding that the original linen lining of my 1780s pet-en-l’aire simply wasn’t going to do, I unpicked all my back pleating, put on a soft unbleached cotton lining, and started again.

The new unbleached cotton lining

Luckily the pleats from my first pleating were still pressed in, so it made the re-doing process much easier, and the soft cotton was much more amenable and cooperative than the linen I first tried to use was.

The re-pleated pet

I’m very happy with the re-do, even if my stitching isn’t absolutely even and perfect.  The silk is very, very tightly woven, hard to stitch through, and shows every stitch that has ever been put in it.  My new stitches are literally exactly the same as my old stitches.

Little itsy-bitsy stitches

With the pleats all hand-sewn in, I bound the top of the pet with a strip of the silk.  I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to fold the binding over, so I cut my binding rather wide, and then of course it was too wide, and isn’t as neat as I would like.

The top binding to cover the raw edges at the centre back

The interior of the pet, with the top binding folded over and sewn down

Because the silk is so dense and hard to sew through, I didn’t stitch the pleats all the way down to the bodice support.  Instead they are just stitched to all the layers of themselves (does that make sense?).

The interior of the pet, with the layers of pleats stitched to each other

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I think the pet would lay a little smoother and be less ‘poofy’ in back if I had stitched them all the way through.  But a pet is supposed to be poofy, right?

Interior stitching through the pet layers

Mrs C said that tea gowns, especially ones with an over-robe effect, remind her of the joke about mullet’s being ‘business in front, party in the back’, but the same is true of pets!

Party pleats!

Stitched down central pleats


  1. Looking back at the pictures you posted of a pet I totally agree, they should look ‘poofy’ The fabric you have used is perfect too, very beautiful

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