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Knife pleats? HELP

Ocrafty1 | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi All,

I have a new bride to sew for and she wants a “godet” shaped piece with knife pleats added to her gown.  I am making a gown similar to this one…http://www.morilee.com/DressDetail.aspx?C=1&D=2180&P=2

The bride wants the inset in the train portion of the gown to be done in sunray pleats.  My question is should I cut this on the bias or straight of grain?  The pleats will fan out from the center top of the inset…starting out at 1/4 in. and widening to 1.5 in at the bottom, and will be mirrored from the center.  Also, should I use a lightweight fusible interfacing to stabalize the inset?  The gown is made of inexpensive polyester candelight colored satin, purchased at JoAnne Fabrics. The contrasting bands will be out of crepe backed satin, in a taupe color.

I’ve done pleats before, but not in an inset like this.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  

BTW: The wedding gown I did for the very large bride turned out wonderfully.  I’m still waiting for the bride to email me pix so I can post them for you to see. 


Edited 8/22/2008 12:15 pm ET by Ocrafty1


  1. sewelegant | | #1

    I cannot imagine pleats behaving properly on the bias, can you?  I might try a sample to see how it works.

  2. moira | | #2

    Last year I made a two-piece ensemble for a bride in heavy silver grey silk, and she wanted a pleated tier at the lower part of the skirt. But she was able to get a piece of the fabric pleated professionally which made my job a lot easier. Have you considered exploring this possibility?

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #4

      Thanks for the suggestions, but I don't have time to send this one out.  The wedding is Sept. 14.  I plan on making a tagboard "pattern" for my pleats and pressing each one individually.  Of course, I'm going to do it in muslin first...then use that piece for cutting my pattern on the satin.

      I'm still unsure as to whether I should use a lightweight fusible interfacing as a stabilizer, since this will be cut on the bias.  Any recommendations, anyone?????

      1. Ralphetta | | #7

        This sounds like a lovely dress and I hope you can work it out. If it doesn't work, you can always insert something more traditional. I know you said it's soon, but it might be worthwhile to actually inquire about the time it would take a professional to pleat it. You might be surprised at how quickly it could be done. I had sunburst pleating done with 54" fabric. It was done in 2 pieces and the side seams were about 50" long, it was huge. I had to complete the dress in a week, but I was able to find a local company to do the pleating. (Sorry, but they are no longer in business.)If someone else does the pleating, it won't take long at all for you to insert it. If you use an interfacing it might sharpen the pleats...but won't it add even more weight to the lower back? That could present additional problems. As another writer mentioned, hemming is a major challenge. Lingerie frequently uses sunburst pleating and instead of a hem they often use a very, very narrow lace edging over the raw edge, I think.

      2. Josefly | | #13

        I'm thinking about how difficult it is to press pleats into polyester fabric. It seems to me that a lightweight fusible interfacing might help in holding the pleats. But you might sacrifice a soft-folded edge look. I would definitely play with some of the fabric, since you say it is inexpensive. It also appears to me from the photo that there's a center seam in the unpleated part of the godet. Is that right? If so, that could simplify joining the pleated and un-pleated parts, and then joining them to the skirt. Good luck with it, and please let us know how it turns out. Are you using a contrast fabric for the pleats?

  3. User avater
    paddyscar | | #3

    Sun ray pleats are cut on the bias.  They are wedges of fabric that, like darts, go from nothing at the top edge becoming wider toward the hem; unlike 'knife pleats' where the depth of the pleat is uniform from to top bottom


    It might be difficult to create that look within such a short drape of fabric used in your picture, but might be easier to achieve by taking the inset up higher.


  4. JanF | | #5

    Oh dear - I wouldn't like to be you trying to hem the bias pleats which would be in the godet. The whole purpose of a godet is to softly flare out - if its pleated on the bias it will be h..l to do! Pleats added in (like the one in the picture)rely on the straight grain to lie flat. If time is of the essence -couldn't you persuade her that it would fall much more attractively with a godet? Ive seen one done that is the handkerchief insert - it would be longer at the CB point. Done by inserting a square of fabric where one corner of the square is at the top point of the opening/insertion place, and the size/sides of the square are equal to the length of the opening. Might be an alternative?
    I think the sunray pleats are done so that they allow skirts to "fit and flare" over the hips with just a little mark of the pleat showing, and then fall back into the pleat. I think they have to be permanently pressed too - but someone else might be more constructive for you than myself - I realise this is a little negative as a comment!

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #6

      The bride has her heart set on those pleats.  If you look at the pix on that website, the trim at the bodice and around the inset also have pleats. I think I'll be OK, but I will mention to her that the pleats MAY NOT be perminent ...If I edge stitch each pleat it might work...but that's more work than I want to put into it for the price that I'm charging her.

      I'm going to cut it out tomorrow, and then play with the fabric & interfacing to see what will and won't work.  I'm sure I'll figure something out, but the advice from all the experts on this site sure helps when your brain freezes up. LOL


      1. JanF | | #8

        I looked at the close up of the dress picture this time - easy to see that they are just ordinary pleats. Mind u - I think I can understand why the glitzy decoration is on top - could be useful to disguise the one part that the pleats might just not be going to lie as flat as the designer would have hoped!! good luck with the dress _ I have to admit its quite an attractive design - makes the waist look good - not so sure that I like the colour of the bands myself - but what the heck - I'm also too old - and definitely too fat to wear such a lovely shape - oh I wish

        1. Ocrafty1 | | #9

          Hi Jan,

          My bride has chosen a candelight satin for the body of the gown and a med. taupe for the contrast.  The pleats that the pix show ARE regular pleats, but she wants the inset in the train to be sunray pleats.  The pix show no pleats in that inset. It is a very figure flattering style and shows off the waist nicely. She only wears a size 8, and looks MUCH younger than her 36 yrs.  I thought she was in her mid 20's when I first met her...she has an 18 yr.old son. 

          My concern has been doing the sunray pleats, as I've never done those before on a wedding gown.  I don't have time to send it out to be pleated, so I have to do it myself.  I worked in a bridal store several yrs. ago and we used a 1/4 in turned up hem.  I'm concerned that the pleats won't be permanent. I'm going to play with some extra fabric that I have before I attempt the gown inset.  If I can't get things perfect, I'll speak to the bride and try to talk her out of the pleats in that area.

          I'll keep you gals posted.


          Edited 8/26/2008 8:53 am ET by Ocrafty1

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            Have been thinking a lot about the fabric choice for the sunray pleats. Synthetics usually do not hold the sharp edges as well as the natural fibres do. Satin may also be much to heavy and bulky for that effect also. Perhaps you can talk her into an organza (or taffeta)inset instead? It (organza) pleats beautifully, holds the shape, is not too heavy and would be beautiful in a finely pleated effect like that. Some organza is quite opaque, and would be a nice offset to the satin. CathyEdited 8/26/2008 9:19 am ET by ThreadKoe

            Edited 8/26/2008 9:19 am ET by ThreadKoe

          2. Ocrafty1 | | #11

            This is a lightweight, inexpensive satin and will hold a sharp edge pretty well. I think I'll be OK.  Like I said, I'll play with some scraps that I have before I try her fabric.  She is working on a really tight budget, and can't afford to purchase more fabric.  I'm charging her very little to do this....another opportunity to get my name out there....but I've decided that this is the last time.  From now on, my charges go UP!  I really am doing this one for a song.  I'm gonna double (at least) my charges for custom sewing.  I'm pretty competive when it comes to alterations, but the market is wide open here for custom sewing.  No one within 50 miles does it anymore.  If they want my services, they're gonna pay me what I'm worth...or just go to the bridal shops and get what they can.


          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #12

            It must be one of the crisper satins then. Should work out fine then. What kind of pressing services does your local drycleaner have? If you have one that is good, it would be worthwhile to get into a good working relationship with one. Once you have your pleats figured out, see if they can do a really good professional pressing before you insert the godet. It may make all the difference, and save you a lot of time. Talk to them. You would be surprised at how little time and money it sometimes costs. They would also be interested in your referrals on altered gowns that need cleaning. Cathy

      2. dressed2atee | | #22

        Try underlining the pleated piece with silk organza

  5. User avater
    purduemom | | #14

    Deb, I know you don't have time to send the pleating out but Vogue fabric on Roosevelt Rd in Chicago offers pleating service - I discovered this when I was up there last weekend.  Thought you might want to file this is the 'for future reference' file. Have you considered pleating the fabric first, then fusing the pleated piece to a flat piece of interfacing to make the pleats more 'permanent'?  In my mind it seems reasonable because these pleats are purely ornamental, unlike pleats that need to be free for fitting purposes.  It would add a little more weight, but for no bigger than the godet section is, I can't imagine it would be that much.  Besides, this is the dress of her dreams - she shouldn't mind how heavy it is to wear - tee hee!! I am so very anxious to see the finished dress.  I can't believe it will be anything less than gorgeous!!!


    1. Ralphetta | | #15

      I'm the one who mentioned weight. I was referring specifically to weight in that one small area, not weight of the total gown. If the insert is too heavy hanging from that single point the pleats might pull the dress in a distorted way and just drag down and not fan out delicately. I've had some problems like that with bows, etc. and was just mentioning that danger. You probably already know this, but I think the place that did my sunburst pleating sandwiched the fabric between 2 pieces of tagboard pleated in a sunburst and then pressed/steamed/heated/? It was like a mold. Was that the way you were going to do it? My fabric was jersey and it held the pleats for many years. I liked it so much I cut the evening dress up and made it into something streetlength years later.

      1. Ocrafty1 | | #17

        That's exactly how I intend to do the pleating....one pleat at a time.  I know it will take time, but it will look professional in the end.  I really appreciate all of the input from everyone....That's what's so nice about this site...we help each other by picking each others brains.  Sometimes, it just helps to have another similar opinion reenforce what we were thinking....if that makes sense.

        OK  I'm really going to sew now....will check back later tonite, if I get a chance....I've been trying to get to my sewing room since 9AM...LOL.



        1. Ralphetta | | #18

          I agree that it is really nice to kick things around. Sometimes you hear better ideas and sometimes hearing other ideas helps strengthen belief in your own. Either way, it helps.

        2. Ceeayche | | #19

          Just wanted to let you know, I had bias pleating on my bridal gown.  Not in a Godet, but as a wide portrait collar that tapered to a deep "vee" in the back. 

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #20

            Did you make your gown or purchase it.  I'd love to see pix..Can you post them?

            I'll check back later....gotta go work on that gown.  I only got to putting the boning in yesterday before the phone rang and I had to stop for the day. This is what is so hard about working from home.  Everyone thinks this is just a 'hobby' that I can work on when I don't have anything else to do...including and especially DH. :^(    If I were working outside of home, they wouldn't THINK of interrupting me for something trivial!  I get so frustrated sometimes!

            I start work on the satin today...


    2. Ocrafty1 | | #16

      Thanks for the info per Vogue...Definitely will file it away for future reference.  I'm not sure about what you mean by fusing the pleated fabric to a flat piece.  If I fuse it after pleating, the pleats won't open up as she walks down the aisle; it would just be ornamental and that isn't what she wants. 

      I'm getting ready to go up to my sewing room....if friends would quit phoning me...LOL... and play for a while.  DH has some places to stop after work today, so I get a little extra time for my sewing, before I have to fix dinner. Yeah!!! 

      I'm anxious to see how this comes out, as well.  I have to make a pattern...actually, just drape the fabric, to figure out how I want to do the "waistband."  It is sewn into the side seams in the photo, but I may want to make it all one piece, similar to a cumberbun....but then again, it would be able to shift up, and sewing it into the seam would prevent that......I guess playing with it will determine what I do.  

      I'm so anxious to get this done.  I have a VERY old dress form that I am going to TRY to configure to her measurements.  If I can get that accomplished, this dress will go together much faster!

      Well, off to my sewing room!!!!


  6. dressed2atee | | #21

    I don't think you need to cut on the bias...it hangs straight down. I'd play with some miniature mock ups first.

  7. Ocrafty1 | | #23

    I FINALLY got this wedding gown done today!!!! HURRAH!!!!

    I still have to do the final pressing, but I think it turned out really well...considering I have never done any pleating before.  I think it took me longer to figure out how to put this together than it did to actually do it. 

    I still have to do the matron of honor dress...I'll cut it out tomorrow and should have it ready for a fitting on Wed.  It is really a simple pattern and I've already fit the pattern to my client.  I'll be glad to have this done.  I'm gonna try to take pix tomorrow of the gown on my ancient dress form...not sure how they'll turn out. If they are any good at all I'll post them here...if they don't turn out...the bride is supposed to email me pix when she gets the wedding photos.

    Our son lost his job today.  He worked in IT at a nearby hospital.  They let 54 people go today...cutbacks, due to the economy.  The hospital didn't give any hint that they were gonna let anyone go. At least he's still in school (Purdue @ Kokomo) and living at home, so he isn't going to starve, but it was quite a blow.  He's been there for nearly 3 yrs. and just got a nice raise.  I'm sure he'll find something soon, and classes just started for him, so at least he'll have time to study (LOL...like that's gonna happen) 

    Is anyone, besides me, THRILLED that football season is back?????  I've been going through withdrawal and was in ecstasy this weekend.  I'm actually watching now (giggle...  ;^) 

    Better get to bed so I can start sewing bright and early tomorrow....gotta get this wedding done so the gals can pick up their gowns on Wed. or Thurs.  We're supposed to leave for another bike trip Fri. morning, and I want to clean up my sewing room before we leave.  Its a disaster!!!!


    1. rodezzy | | #24

      The dress sounds beautiful and I can't wait to see it.  You are such a great seamtress.  I guess that's the word.  They had a thread going about the words used for people that sew.  So, I hope this one is acceptable. 

      Sorry to hear about your son's misfortune.  It's going on everywhere.  I'm holding on with a strand of hope that nothing happens here.  I'm getting ready also.

      Sorry I don't do sports, but if you're happy, I'm happy for you.  Let the games begin.

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #25

      It sounds like you are well pleased with the dress. I am so glad. Even if the pics are not the greatest, post anyways, we simply cannot wait, us impatient sorts!
      Our bike trip to Kingston was really good. The family behaved so it was really nice. Saw our girl's new appartment. They did well. All newly refurbished. They will not let me get involved in finding furniture and decorating :( but I will get over it. At a stopover in Elgin, DH figured a stop in an antique store was safe, as we had the bikes. NOT! I ended up with a Featherlight on the back of my bike all the rest of the way to Kingston.
      I am sure your son will find something else soon to bring the $$ for his schooling and beer money in. They always do. At least he has experience under his belt now that he did not have before. Cathy

      1. Ocrafty1 | | #26

        OK.  Here are pix of the wedding gown. Please don't pay attention to the horrible mess in the room. I didn't have time to do much cleaning up...just wanted to get a couple of pix on here to let you gals know that I really DID get this one done. I really like how the pleating came out, especially since I've never done ANY pleating before. I still have to do the pressing, but the bride is coming tomorrow to pick it up.   The big orange thing hanging in the background is the matron of honor's dress.  I'll have it done by tomorrow, too.

        Isabel is suppose to come tomorrow and try it on one last time...I'll try to get better pix then.

        Keep in mind that I haven't pressed it well, and it is on an ancient dress form that doesn't let the gown hang as nicely as it really does.



        Edited 9/9/2008 7:01 pm ET by Ocrafty1

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #27

          OOOOH Pretty! It turned out really well. The pleating is exquisite, and I love the lace on the front, such a nice touch. Well done. Cathy

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #28

            Thank you!!! It took me 7 hrs. just to do the sunray pleating.  It was the first time I'd done it and I'm pretty proud of it.  The bride saw one side of the pleating, but not in the gown.  I can't wait for her to see herself in the gown tomorrow.  I'm hoping to get a couple of pix of her in it...if I do I'll post them tomorrow evening. 

            Do you gals think it looks like the gown at this site?  She wanted this gown, but wanted pleats in the center of the train.  I think I did OK. She wanted the lace instead of the crystals. I like the crystals better.  http://www.morilee.com/DressDetail.aspx?C=1&D=2180&P=4

            Can you believe I'm only charging her $300 to make this.  I really need the publicity and she has access to a lot of people who could use my services.  Keep your fingers crossed...if this doesn't get me some new clients, I may give up on my sewing business.......and just do it for FUN again.

            DebHad to edit...forgot to put the link....Swiss cheese brain....LOL

            Edited 9/9/2008 10:54 pm ET by Ocrafty1

            Edited 9/9/2008 10:56 pm ET by Ocrafty1

          2. JanF | | #30

            I think this looks brilliant!
            I also like the way the back inset falls and am I correct in assuming you pleated the fabric to insert on the bias first? I must look closer - where the seam is - did you sew over the pleated fabric(white)with the white fabric lying in a pleat or open and flat?
            Does this make sense when you read it I wonder??
            Just wondering how it keeps the pleat effect!
            This will surely get you some more commissions - well done to you!

          3. Ocrafty1 | | #34

            I pleated the fabric on the bias first, then sewed the 2  cream pleated pieces together.  The taupe pieces were pleated, then I fused knit interfacing to the back to hold those pleats in place.  That gave a solid backing for that section.  I had to open the back seam about 5 in. to sew the taupe "point" into the back of the gown.  I sewed the top part of the cream pleats into that center back seam as well.  I sewed the cream pleated section directly to the back of the gown, and then cut away the center back section that didn't need to be there. I had basted the top and bottom of the cream pleats together...it made it much easier to handle. 

             I guess I sort of cheated when I attached the rest of the taupe pleated section.  I couldn't figure out how to sew it on without having the stitching show...so I used Wonderunder and some Fuse a Seam to attach it to the gown, over the pleated section.  It worked really well, but I was afraid that I'd melt the fabric...It was crepe backed satin.



          4. JanF | | #36

            Sounds as if you are a true design technologist! My students are expected in their course, to find solutions to problems as and when! You'd have done well!
            Isn't it a relief when everything fits and the item goes off your hands to be worn - everytime I do it I think - is this worth it? I may teach the subject - but i still worry that things aren't going to fit/look ok - or that they just might trun around and plain hate it!!

          5. Ocrafty1 | | #38

            Thanks Jan,                                                                    

            It means a lot coming from someone with lots of experience like you! I've never had any formal training...just learned from trial and error. Threads and this site has helped a lot in the last 6 mos.  I learned my basics in 4-H back in the dark ages, when they expected quality workmanship. But alterations and sewing for clients utilize different techniques; some of them are so different from what I learned yrs. ago.

            Where do you teach? College? HS? Community?  I've been contacted by a local quilt store about teaching beginning sewing classes, but even though I have an Elem. Ed. degree, I have no clue about teaching sewing.  They've asked that I come up with a project that would appeal to a jr. hi/hs group, but I don't have a clue where I should start, or how much to charge.  It might be a fun thing to do for an after school activity.... and I've done lots with youth (4-H, BB/BS)... I guess I'm a little intimidated by the thought of actually teaching.  Any suggestions?


          6. JanF | | #42

            Hi - you should go for it!
            I teach pupils aged between 11 and 18yrs.My courses are, at exam level, organised by the examining board - but lower down the school - apart from making sure that I cover the so-called "National Curriculum Design Orders" which cover certain key skills - how I deliver the course is very much up to me.
            I like to link my stuff to ethnic craft skills, so yr. 7's doing a fabric container - after studying a little about Sashiko Japanese designs and adapting the skill to incorporate the use of the sewing machine - that's how i introduce using a machine!
            Yrs 8 + 9 are on a rolling programme so both doing same topic at the moment - but with a greater degree of design work expected at yr 9(13 - 14yrs)Ive based the idea on making a book cover - but as if its a design kit - they do all the planning etc/research about craft kits and then their final design = prototype.
            I change what I do every year cos although the groups are always new - I think if I do the same thing every year(I know some teachers who do this)boredom for me and it will show in my lessons.
            Yrs 10+11 do exam stuff - have loads to cover in syllabus but can design and make - within reason anything either fashion or interior design based.
            I like it and gives me a chance to encourage diversity for the pupils - but of course secret to teaching our subject is knowing and preparing for all kinds of abilities in 1 class. I think you could easily do a class - secret is always being 1 lesson ahead with the preparation - know what to do before they ask you. If u work out what they are to make - you're streets ahead at the start. Go for it - another string to your bow as they say! Let me know if I can help at all - and how you get on. Enthusiasm for the subject is what counts I think!

          7. rodezzy | | #32

            Oh yes, it does.  Wow, when the site pictures came up, I was like WOW, just like it. 

          8. Ocrafty1 | | #35

            The bride and her matron of honor came and picked up their gowns.  I worked my rear off today trying to finish the orange gown. Just cut it out yesterday... Hooraayy!!!!  They're DONE AND OUT OF HERE!!!!!

            They both loved their gowns.  The bride cried.  I had to tease her and tell her she couldn't cry on the gown 'til she paid me for it. LOL.  I can't wait to see the wedding pix.  When I get them I'll post them.  It fit her like a glove. I am sooooo glad to have them done. 

            I'm not gonna sew anything til next week....it will probably take me that long to find my sewing room under all the mess that is in there. (giggle)  I do OK sewing, but I am really messy when I do it.  I can never seem to hit the trash can when I try to put threads and trimmings there. I know that thing moves by itself.  The threads and trimmings seem to multiply exponentially and end up all over the carpet.  I have a 'wand' to pick up the pins, but I need to get a long-handled paint roller and cover it with double sided tape to get all the little stuff.  Oh, well...I'm not messing with that tonight....or tomorrow...or....Gonna go grab a wine cooler.

            Thanks for all the encouragement, ideas, and compliments!  I don't think I could have done this one without all of you gals!!!!!  Hugs for all!!!!!!


          9. rodezzy | | #37

            AWEEEEEEEEEEEE.  That's a lovely ending to a most wonderful job.  Yea, you deserve a wine cooler.  Get some much needed rest.

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #33

            Yes, the original idea is definitely there, so she will be pleased. The sunray pleating worked out perfectly. She will be over the wall excited. The lace is stunning. I think it worked out better than the picture. You were very generous to sew it for so little. Just thought. Make up a release form asking permission to use the dress photos for promotional purposes. You can always ask to borrow it back later to photograph again. Make sure you use the dress prominently in your "Brag Book" and put pictures up in your studio as well for other brides to see. Cathy

        2. Gloriasews | | #29

          You did an excellent job with those pesky pleats!  No one would ever guess it was your first time.  You're not a pleat virgin anymore :)   The dress is lovely.  Now we're all excited about seeing it on the bride.  You've got every right to be proud of yourself!


        3. rodezzy | | #31

          Oh how beautiful......I love that color combination of chocolate and cream.  ooooo coffee and cream.  giggle.  Lovely.

        4. User avater
          VKStitcher | | #39

          Oh, this gown is absolutely gorgeous!  I actually like it better than the one in the picture.  One would never know that this is your first time doing pleats--they really make the dress.  The bride will love it!  And will refer all her friends to her talented dressmaker.  :-)

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #40

            Thanks Vickie!

            I am really proud of how it turned out....especially the pleats.  I agree with you and think the pleats really make the train. The original had covered buttons that went all the way from the neckline to the middle of the train.  Thankfully, the bride couldn't find buttons that matched the color of the satin, and didn't want to pay me more to cover them (although she got it cheap enough that she could have!) I really tried to get out of doing the pleats...the fabric that the gown is made from has too much polyester in it to hold the pleats.  I went to the local JoAnne and found fabric that worked and was so close in color that the bride couldn't tell the difference.  She still balked at me purchasing more fabric, but she wanted the pleats (actually had her fiance call me and discuss it over the phone....she's originally from Spain and although she speaks English very well, doesn't understand EVERY word. I finally convinced him that I had to get different fabric if she wanted the pleats....and she would have to reimburse me for that fabric.) I was really upset that she was balking about paying for extra fabric when she was getting such a good deal from me. 

            People just don't have any appreciation of how much THINKING, planning, and work goes into making something like this. Its very irritating!  That's another reason I've decided to really "up" my charges for custom work.  I'm going to charge at least 4 times what I charged her for the next one!  If they don't want to pay it....they can just go to a bridal shop and pay them.....and not get the custom work that they want.


          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #41

            A guy goes to have custom work on his car and he knows it is going to cost. And he does not care. It is custom.Why people go to a seamstress/tailor/sewist for the same type of custom work and expect it to be CHEAPER? Maybe we need to post pictures of custom vehicles in our workrooms to get the point across???? Cathy

          3. KharminJ | | #46

            ...Why people go to a seamstress/tailor/sewist for the same type of custom work and expect it to be CHEAPER? Maybe we need to post pictures of custom vehicles in our workrooms to get the point across????...That is an Excellent idea! I also read a forum about my car, and the things people do - and the money they gleefully spend - on their cars is just astounding!I wonder Why? the difference in attitude - ?Kharmin

            Edited 9/12/2008 11:07 am ET by KharminJ

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #47

            Horse people can be just as bad. I once had a customer purchase $350. worth of premium wool for a horse blanket and trim for her horse. Her daughter had her prom coming up and balked at $50. worth of material. Makes you wonder where the priorities lay....Cathy

          5. rodezzy | | #44

            And that's why I don't sew for people, they think that since you are working from home, or a novice, or I don't really know what makes them think that you are not worth designer prices; You go through the same process and are designers.  You are just not in the spot light with fashion shows and all the hullaballoo!  But you do the same work when you sew for people.  You have to listen to their ideas and turn them into reality.  You have to make hard core decisions about how to pull it off.  There's hours of planning, measuring, cutting, searching out the proper designs to put it together, notions, brain storming, and down right hard work!  Especially in special occasion sewing.  I wouldn't do it to save my neck (except for my grands-two girls).

            Good for you, get what you are worth.  

          6. User avater
            VKStitcher | | #49

            "People just don't have any appreciation of how much THINKING, planning, and work goes into making something like this."

            How right you are!  People often forget that "custom" anything is going to cost more, because it is one-of-a-kind.  Thinking and planning are crucial to a successful project, and your preparation time should be included in your pricing.

            I work for a custom homebuilder, and I see a lot of similarities between sewing and construction.  You start with an idea, you pay someone to design and draw the plan (pattern), you take lots of measurements, you select materials (fabric, trims, etc.), you construct the project (sew), you often make changes along the way that require re-designing, re-measuring, and re-building, and there are lots of finishing details before the project is complete.  The price of the house reflects all that goes into it (plus a profit!), so your pricing should as well.  Best of luck to you as your business grows.  :-)

          7. Ocrafty1 | | #51

            Too funny...DH has been a union carpenter for the last 20 yrs.,(although for the last 2 yrs. he's had a cushy job as a carpenter at Delphi...yr. round inside work) so I know a lot about construction...more than I want to...LOL  It made perfect sense to me.  He's been telling me for ages that I should charge like they do for their work. 

            There was another post here about horse people....LOL we had horses for several yrs.; we rescued a thoroughbred mare and spent more $$ one her medical for 2 yrs. than we did on me....I actually put off having surgery so that we could take her to Purdue to have surgery done.  Horse people can be a little wierd, but so can dog people and cat people (giggle.)

            Thanks for all the encouragement!


          8. sewelegant | | #52

            I was browsing the threads this morning and came upon this one again and was interested because I did read the beginning post and could not envision pleats on the bias (However, I never make pleats for some reason or other).  The picture you posted of the finished dress makes me have a wonderful opinion of your "craftiness".  I have been sewing "all my life" and have made some wonderful garments, but would never attempt copying a dress like you have - for someone else!  It gives me a new appreciation for a good dressmaker and you definitely need to be compensated accordingly!  It reminds me of the time we knew of a wonderful carpenter who redid our kitchen.  He was in high demand and charged by the hour which alarmed us somewhat in the beginning, but when you could close the front door with the touch of a finger and the kitchen cabintry looked like fine furniture and fit into all the nooks and crannies of an old house, it was well worth the final cost.

          9. Ocrafty1 | | #54

            Thanks for the complement!  Its funny, for many years I have encouraged DH to charge what he is worth when he does custom carpentry.  I actually got angry with him a couple of times for doing the jobs for so little...He put so much time and effort into the work and I wanted him to get paid for what it was worth!  I've been doing the same with my custom sewing.  I guess I just lacked the confidence to charge for the work that I've been doing.  I think, between all the comments on this thread, and actually seeing the pix of the gown that I posted, I've realized that I am good enough to charge higher prices.  I think for a long time I had it in my head that I was "just a home sewer, trying to make some extra $$," 'cause I never had any formal training. Thanks to all of you gals, I'm beginning to believe that I'm worth the bigger bucks.


        5. dressed2atee | | #43

          Very nice, I know the bride will love this gown.  I just recently purchased a pleater board from Clothide and it works really good.  You push the fabric in these grooves and press it with a damp cloth.  It give instructions for using a vinegar solution to permanently set the pleats.  I'm doing some bridesmaids tops that call for pleating and rouching and so far it's working out great.



        6. Josefly | | #45

          You've done a beautiful job. Those pleats fall beautifully. No wonder the bride cried!

        7. rsolish | | #53

          beautiful!!! i love the way the pleats came out.i'm sure the bride will be delighted and for such a good price she better bring you more customers.

        8. SAAM | | #55

          What beautiful work! You should be proud. I'm amazed you got so much done in such a short amount of time. You must definitely charge more for your skill and your time. I'm sure you spent a good bit of time talking to the fiancé because your bride didn't want to pay for the extra fabric. I've often thought an "aggravation fee" would be appropriate for those people who won't let you get on with your work.Sherry

        9. Ceeayche | | #56

          It's BREATHtaking! Bravo!  Not one shred of the angst you had!  A triumph.

          1. KharminJ | | #57

            Lookee what I just found! - a source for the pleater boards you-all were talking about, oh, last month!



            Wildly Wonderful Wearables is listed on the Threads links page, but with no hint that this nugget is in there. They're a bit pricey, but if sharp pleats are something one would do more often if it was easier, these may be just the ticket!Bright Autumn Blessings! Kharmin

        10. sewslow67 | | #58

          Wow!  I just got around to reading more posts on this thread and saw your pictures; absolutely beautiful!!   Thanks so much for the photos.  (Which reminds me, I need to get some photos taken also and share a few projects too.)

          Now then, I would also like to know about that red fabric in the background.  It looks like "my kind" of red, i.e. tomato red.  Could you tell me what kind of fabric it is etc?  I'd love to find some like it.  Thanks.

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #59

            Thank you for the complement!  I'm really proud of that gown.

            Per the "red" fabric in the background....It isn't red; its a burnt orange, polyester satin from JoAnne Fabrics.   The client wanted me to use the reverse side of the fabric, as she is a large lady and didn't want every little figure flaw to show; and she didn't want to be too "bright."  She wanted the bride to be the one everyone noticed.  Hope this helps.


          2. sewslow67 | | #60

            You are so welcome; and if I did that gown, I would be proud too.  However, I was just making an honest observation ...and wishing I had your kind of talent. 

            I've never done that kind of pleating before (on satin or silk).  I made a lot of reversible, sewn-down pleated skirts over the years, using Pendleton wool (I copied their RTW from the stores that I couldn't afford), and loved doing that.  But wool is much easier to sew with and a lot more forgiving.

            Anyway, absolutely exquisite job.  If you have any tips, please do share them with us.  Thanks.

          3. Ocrafty1 | | #61

            LOL   You think that satins and silks are difficult to work with....I'm terrified of working with wool.  I learned to sew in    4-H many, many years ago.  I've just kept playing with it.  When my daughters were in HS, I couldn't afford to buy their gowns for dances...and they wanted something different than what the other girls were gonna wear.  Then their girlfriends wanted me to make theirs.  I made 14 gowns in 4 yrs, just for them and their friends; one of them in 16 hrs., from cut out to finish.  I also made cumberbuns and bow ties for all of their dates...the colors had to match, of course.  I've never needed to make anything from wool...so no practice.



          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #62

            You should really try something, just for the experience. Maybe not a fully tailored something, but something simple like a skirt. You will love it. Cathy

  8. User avater
    ghis | | #48

    Hi Ocrafty1
    To my knowledge (Which is not to great) I can not imagine a pleat starting at a quarter inch going to one inch and a half because somewhere you will be on the bias which will probably distort the pleats.
    I made some pleats for my daughter`s wedding dress but they were at the
    bust area.I first made all the pleats;which took 9 1/4 yard by 18 inches,the pleats where 1/4 inch wide and I sowed each one under each pleat and then I put the pattern on and the result was fantastic.
    Anyway I wish you good luck and lots of patience.Oh! by the way, to stablelyse the chiffon georgette I use the starch,EASY ON double starch
    for extra crisp cottons and linens and it made the material just stiff
    enough and easy to iron,maybe this can help you

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #50

      I did cut the fabric for the pleats on the bias. It was the only way it would work, and I think it worked wonderfully (look at the pix I posted earlier....#27)  I was afraid to use starch on the satin....afraid it would stain it, and I didn't want to have to wash it.  I just used a lot of steam, and a board to hit it with, then hold it down 'til it cooled.  The wedding is tomorrow, and I can hardly wait 'til Mon, to call the matron of honor and see how it went.  It is raining here now, and is suppose to rain all day Sun.  The wedding is going to be outside, under a tent, if it rains.....


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