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The Box Pleat Experiments, Part One: Single and Double Garland Trim

As in other posts, I’m using the width of the ribbon as the unit of measure, so it scales up and down easily. I’m also alternating between paper and ribbon for clarity. 

The box pleating requires three times the finished length in ribbon to complete.

To prepare:

Mark the box pleats on the ribbon by drawing lines 1/2 ribbon width apart, and then one ribbon width apart. Alternate the pattern of 1/2 ribbon width, one ribbon width.

Next, fold and press the box pleats in place.

Box-pleated ribbon

Once the length of ribbon is pleated, machine-stitch down the middle of the strip. This holds the pleats in place for the variations.

Single and double garland trim:

I’m calling both of these garlands, more for the double garland than the single garland. You need the single to create the double.

Machine stitching down the middle of the strip holds the pleated ribbon in place.

On the paper model, I’ve marked the strip edge in green at the midpoints between the leading edges of the pleats.

With needle and thread, pick up the opposite points.

Stitch the edges of the ribbon at these points. This is what it looks like in the ribbon.

Repeat this operation with all sets of the points.

You can use an embroidery floss or other decorative thread to tie knots at each point.

The finished trim offers dimension.

Here’s a detail of the trim.

Double garland:

To create this trim you’ll need to make a length of single garland. As this is a double-sided trim and is somewhat round, you can use it like garland for the holidays.

We’ve started with a length of single garland.

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  1. BRosser | | #1

    Oh my... just lovely. You are a Master and a Gentleman. As the years go by, you exceed what you've done the year before again and again. Thanks for teaching and inspiring!

  2. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #2

    Senor King,

    Such clarity! You leave me with the inspiration sensation, never you mind the "cross-draping" anticipation.

    A fan full of creative elation!

  3. basilwood | | #3

    Love this trim. I can see it on a square neck on anything-from a tee shirt to a little black dress. It could also be a festive garland or a ruffle on a table cloth.
    thanks for the tute!

  4. User avater
    SewingSadie | | #4

    SewingSadie writes: LOVE the design of the garland!!! It reminds me of some of the smocking I've seen and done. Really lovely! Don't know where I'll use it yet, but I can guarantee I will find a place, or two, or three...........!!! Thank you, Dr. Kenneth :)

  5. smockerlady | | #5

    Hi Kenneth,

    As usual, a beautiful stylish idea from the Master!!

    I have noticed this year in the U.K. interesting shapes in trim on hemlines. Do you think it would look good ( or would it be ott; mind you I am ok with ott as long as its stylish)
    on the hemiline of a skirt or dress??

    Would love to hear your thoughts as you would come up with the perfect suggestions.

  6. msa4y | | #6

    The trim is beautiful, but it seems that the people at Threads who prepared and photographed the paper samples for the double garland made a significant mistake. They sewed the points together exactly opposite the first side, while the ribbon sample by Kenneth shows the alternate points sewn together on the second side.

  7. Rabia | | #7

    dear Mr. King (or is it Dr. King now?) I don't know what I would use this on, but I file it away just like i do all the projects you offer, knowing that it will come in handy someday! The local fabric store has heaps of ribbon hanks on sale, so I may try making some up just for the heck of it!

    Oh, and big congrats on your lifetime achievement award!

  8. [email protected] | | #8

    How lovely!! I plan to make jewelry with this as a base.

  9. User avater
    kennethdking | | #9

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Regarding Dr. vs. Mr: It's Mr. I'm not educated enough to claim the title of Doctor--that's an honor reserved for those who have done the hard work and study to earn that degree. But I'm flattered by those who used it. My students at F.I.T. call me "Professor", which I think is charming.

    To msa4y: No mistake. Making the sample in paper (I'm the one who did the samples and photos here) looks a little different than when you do it in fabric. Optical illusion, but the instructions are correct. When I photographed the sequence, I did the paper and ribbon side by side, to duplicate in ribbon what I did on paper.

    To Smockerlady: I think this would look well as a hem on a dress, or as an edge all around the perimeter of a large chiffon scarf or wrap. Especially if you use a wide ribbon (4-6" wide)--then it would read more like the fur border on the grey chiffon scarf that Marilyn Monroe was photographed in.

  10. User avater
    jennyebner | | #10

    Love the pleats and will use them soon. Thanks. It is settled. You are definitely one very talented designer.

  11. KMOK | | #11

    This would make an interesting "valance" for sheers in my tiny, feminine powder room

  12. User avater
    kennethdking | | #12

    Indeed it would! Stay tuned for the other part of this series, for more trim for your powder room!

  13. user-3029344 | | #13

    This trim is so pretty. I would like to use the single garland for trim on a suit (jacket and skirt) that I am planning to make. The double garland would be lovely on a Christmas tree. Thank you for sharing your talents! :-)

  14. Needlethimble | | #14

    Thank you SO much for sharing your knowledge and talents! I am a Civil War Medical Living History teacher that has had to make my own clothing. This trim idea would work perfectly for dress trim and for trimming hair nets used everyday to keep hair in place---this was looong before hairspray was around!!! Please keep the information coming now that I know where to find it.
    Mrs. Carol Ice-Foote
    Chief Matron, Dietary Kitchen, US Army Hospital
    2nd Division Field Hospital, Army of the West

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