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Tips for pre-pleated fabric?

kbalinski | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’m considering purchasing some of this  (piece 6-2) pleated poly rayon blend, but I’ve never worked with a fabric like this before.  I think it would make a beautiful blouse, but there must be some special “treatment” to keep the pleats in place while cutting the pattern and keeping the size right.

Any info?


Edited 11/19/2008 1:38 pm ET by kbalinski


  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    I sewed a micro pleated skirt for my Mom with this type of fabric.  It had an elastic waistband so fitting was not an issue.  I have miles of leftovers left that I have not used because I could not figure out how to work with it either.  I thought about using tissue paper to stabilize it while cutting the pieces out, and staystitching.  That is about as far as I got.  Cathy

    1. KharminJ | | #2

      This thought balloon may get too complex as I write it, but it sounds good at the beginning... please bear with me...

      1) pre-pleated fabric, spread out straight and square on your work surface

      2) thin tissue paper - no wrinkles in it

      3) quilter's "spray-tack" ~ I know I've seen or read about this, but have no idea what it's actually called. It's intended to help keep quilt sandwiches in place while you work on them, but not a firm grip. Also leaves no residue on the piece you didn't spray.

      Annie ~ am I hallucinating?

      * Spray the tissue paper, NOT the fabric.

      * Float the tissue onto the pleated fabric; gently press it in place.

      * Proceed to layout and cut your pattern - maybe even trace it onto the tacked down tissue?

      Good luck with that beautiful fabric!


      1. Josefly | | #4

        You've come up with some good instructions for cutting the fabric out. I've hesitated to use pleated or crinkled fabric because I couldn't imagine how to sew it without pushing the pleats out with the presser foot, thus stretching the fabric. But maybe Wonder Tape, which is water soluble, is the answer. Exactly how to use it in this case I don't know - I suppose put it inside the seam allowance, just along the seam line, temporarily fusing two pieces that are to be stitched together. But then you can't separate those seam allowances until the Wonder Tape is rinsed out. It just sounds like a lot of trouble, but maybe it's worth it.

        There must be some industry techniques for working with this type of fabric.

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #5

          I sample stitched a few pieces.  Where I tried to press the pleating in place, it seemed to flatten them down in all directions, an effect I did not care for, but then I am really picky.  I have looked at RTW in similar fabrics, and they have the same thing happening.  Yet there must be a way to deal with it.  I had not tried a temporary spray.  That might work better as I could direct the pleating.  Cathy

          1. kbalinski | | #6

            I googled "Fabric Savvy, prepleated" and got this.

            Pages 10 & 11 of Sandra Betzina's second version.  Google Books lets you look at the whole thing, so I won't have to go buy it, but I will put it on my Christmas List!

            Thanks ladies! I think I will buy a couple yards to play with, the price won't break the bank and it will be a good educational experience!



          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #7

            Thank You Kristine!  That was Wonderful!  I have a pattern in mind already.  Wish I could get this computer to work properly......Cathy

          3. KharminJ | | #8

            Hi Kristine! That's interesting info - thanks for sharing it!

            I'm way behind reading the FabricsandNotions.com digests ~ Have you shared this link with the Evil Fabric Queen's many subjects over there? Might be others on the fence about this fabric, too. ;)


          4. Josefly | | #10

            Good link, thanks. There was a suggestion for sewing in the same direction as the pleats, but not for sewing across the pleats. Perhaps it's not as much a problem as I'm imagining, though.Please let us know when you try the fabric, how it works for you. We need tips!

          5. Josefly | | #9

            The spray might work, but I'm skeptical - the spray would hit only the top parts of the pleated fabric, and that might not be sufficient to keep the pleats in place as they move under the presser foot. The greatest problem, I would think, would be stitching seams perpendicular to the direction of the pleating/crinkling. Maybe hand-basting on both sides of the seam? I wonder if free-motion stitching, without a presser foot, would be possible, at least on seams that cross the direction of the pleating/crinkling. I have on occasion put invisible tape, regular "Scotch" tape, on a seamline and stitched through it. The tape pulls away fairly easily, with only minimal use of tweezers to get what few bits remain, but suppose it wouldn't work well on all fabrics.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            I sometimes overthink my projects, and I think this is one of them! :)  The spray would keep the fabric from shifting too much as I cut it out and move it around to mark my markings.  Then I could use the tape to lay the pleats in the direction I want before I staystitch, then seam them.   When I sewed it before I used the presser foot  and my fingers to spread the SA while sewing.  I think the widthwise seams I would treat like a knit and stabilize, due to the natural stretch of the pleats.  Come to think of it, I used a narrow zig zag stitch.  That way the stitches jumped the pleats a little, so they would fall freely.

            I think the link made a good point with pattern choices also.  Simple garments with not too many details are probably the best choices here!  I would even forget anything with darts!  Can't imagine trying to sew darts in this! 

          7. Josefly | | #12

            We apparently think alike: as I was submitting my last message in this thread, I thought, "I'm over-thinking this" and I do tend to do that with things I have no experience with, then end up not trying anything. Some recent success with sewing knits after so many years of thinking myself out of it, has affirmed the idea that nothing beats actually getting my hands into the job.

          8. kbalinski | | #13

            Thank you ladies, I really appreciate all your deep thinking on this! Yes, I bit the bullet and ordered a couple yards to play with.  The nice thing about the co-op is that I have about a month until I'll get this, so I have time to research and prepare.  I will look through my patterns and see if I have a "basic" blouse that will let the fabric print and texture do all the talking.  Best case scenario: I get a gorgeous blouse and learn something new.  Worst case scenario: I learn from my mistakes.  Win-Win, right?

          9. Josefly | | #14

            That's the right way to think!By the way, I just went to your blog, and I think your copper jersey dress looks great, and the bolero, too. Hope you enjoyed wearing it at the wedding.

            Edited 11/21/2008 8:43 pm ET by Josefly

          10. kbalinski | | #15

            Thanks Josefly! My silk jersey dress will do double duty again at the holiday parties, so I'm really happy with the outcome!  What better way to enjoy a Christmas party that in a silk jersey dress (stretchy = enjoying all the delicious party food!)


          11. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #16

            I love your copper knit dress, too. Such a swirly sexy dress with the added comfort you mentioned. A real keeper. Recently on some daytime talk show that was going on in the back ground of my daily routine, I recall seeing a fashion maven showing a black or brown leather jacket worn with a similar dress in a different color. Her point was that you have a basic party dress you've worn several times so you can update it with a trendy leather jacket -- and she specifically mentioned $79.00 leather jackets from J.C. Penney -- and a little jewelry for that bling, bling. As soon as I saw your dress, my mind went to a brown leather jacket, maybe just touching the waist. At any rate, as usual, you did a fabulous job on your dress. I love looking at your blog and seeing your latest project. Thanks for all the inspiration you bring to us.

          12. MaryinColorado | | #17

            Brings to mind that old song about leather and lace.  I always loved wearing opposites togeather like that.  Mary

          13. Sancin | | #18

            When I have shortened pieces with fabric like this I have used a fine zig zag stitch. I didn't have any trouble feeding it through the regular foot and didn't use any stabilizer. I wonder if you have difficulty is a walking foot is the answer.

          14. cafms | | #19


            The blouse in the back - not the tank- is made with the prepleated fabric.  I saw it year before last in the fashion show at the Sewing Expo in Washington.  Peggy Sagar had the fabric for sale then as well. 


          15. kbalinski | | #20

            Thanks so much for sharing this pattern! I've never worked with "Silhouettes" before and would've never come across it on my own.  I do most of my shopping at JoAnn's (McCalls & Vogue are going on sale today through Wed for $1.99 and $3.99) or use my Burda World of Fashion subscription.  I'm planning on visiting a very nice fabric store that carries a wider selection of upscale fabrics and a broader range of patterns, so I'll check out the Silhouettes line in person then!

            I love this discussion board...


  2. KharminJ | | #3

    Hi Kristine ~ This came to me as I was writing the previous post ~ Do they make Fusible Water Soluble Stabilizer? If so, you could use that on the wrong side, then proceed. It should make a slinky, slidey fabric easier to work with, too.Kharmin

  3. Teaf5 | | #21

    A shot in the dark, but perhaps the same techniques as crinkled fabric would work?  That is, launder and press the pleats/crinkles out, construct the garment about a size larger than usual, then re-launder and twist to dry and re-set the crinkles?  I've done this with cotton, so perhaps a poly/rayon would work the same way.

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