Friday, September 30, 2011

Just PLEAT it

Photographer Mark Shaw - Vanity Fair 1953

What is my obsession of the moment? PLEATS! There is nothing that screams FALL to me than a Vintage wool pleated skirt with boots and a great blazer & fitted T-shirt, turtleneck or cowl neck sweater.

Pleats have been a staple design element in fashion for centuries. Did you know there are 11 different types of pleats, each with a different technique and look?

Accordion pleats
are the most basic form of pleat, consisting of a series of permanent folds of equal width in alternating opposite directions. When pressed flat in one direction, accordion pleats become knife pleats. Accordion pleats are rarely used in dressmaking, but are used to make folding fans.

Box pleats are knife pleats back-to-back, and have a tendency to spring out from the waistline. They have the same 3:1 ratio as knife pleats, and may also be stacked to form stacked box pleats. These stacked box pleats create more fullness and have a 5:1 ratio. They also create a bulkier seam. Inverted box pleats have the "box" on the inside rather than the outside.

Cartridge pleats are used to gather a large amount of fabric into a small waistband or armscye without adding bulk to the seam. This type of pleating also allows the fabric of the skirt or sleeve to spring out from the seam. During the 15th and 16th centuries, this form of pleating was popular in the garments of men and women. Fabric is evenly gathered using two or more lengths of basting stitches, and the top of each pleat is whipstitched onto the waistband or armscye. Cartridge pleating was resurrected in the 1840s to attach the increasingly full bell-shaped skirts to the fashionable narrow waist. Alexander McQueens Final collection
Cartridge Pleat Gown

Fluted pleats or flutings are very small, rounded or pressed pleats used as trimmings.The name comes from their resemblance to a pan flute. Vintage gown (Fluted Pleat Trim) ((SOLD))

Fortuny pleats are crisp pleats set in silk fabrics by designer Mariano Fortuny in the early 20th century, using a secret pleat-setting process which is still not understood.
Mrs Condé Nast wearing one of the Fortuny tea gowns C. 1917

Honeycomb pleats are narrow, rolled pleats used as a foundation for smocking. Knife pleats are used for basic gathering purposes, and form a smooth line rather than springing away from the seam they have been gathered to. The pleats have a 3:1 ratio–three inches of fabric will create one inch of finished pleat. .
Knife pleats can be recognized by the way that they overlap in the seam.
Organ pleats are parallel rows of softly rounded pleats resembling the pipes of a pipe organ. Carl Köhler suggests that these are made by inserting one or more gores into a panel of fabric.
Plissé pleats are narrow pleats set by gathering fabric with stitches, wetting the fabric, and "setting" the pleats by allowing the wet fabric to dry under weight or tension. Linen chemises or smocks pleated with this technique have been found in the 10th century Viking graves in Birka.
Hermes Plisse Pleated Silk Scarf

Rolled pleats create tubular pleats which run the length of the fabric from top to bottom. A piece of the fabric to be pleated is pinched and then rolled until it is flat against the rest of the fabric, forming a tube. A variation on the rolled pleat is the stacked pleat, which is rolled similarly and requires at least five inches of fabric per finished pleat. Both types of pleating create a bulky seam.
Watteau pleats are one or two box pleats found at the back neckline of 18th century gowns and some late 19th century tea gowns in imitation of these. The term is not contemporary, but is used by costume historians in reference to these styles as portrayed in the paintings of Antoine Watteau.

1700's Marie Antoinette Costume with Watteau pleats

Vivienne Westwood "Watteau Gown" 1996
Pleats are in the back

Gianni Versace 1990's Pleated Mini's

* Thanks to Wikipedia & other online sources for the Pleat definitions*

Mark Shaw Vanity Fair 1953

So .... Can you JUST PLEAT IT?

Check out this cute cream 40's pleated & lace dress sz. M

Buy it HERE
From Victory Vintage Boutique - Model: Brande Wilkerson (Owner)



  1. I always learn so much from your blog! Aren't pleats amazing? I have seen the box pleats and never knew thats what they were called. I love your photos in the post too. Thanks so much for including my dress amongst these gorgeous pieces. Your a blessing!
    Brande W

  2. Wow, I never knew pleats had so many different names, thanks for the info. I'm sending this link to Couture Allure Vintage Fashion, she featured a dress with I believe would be those organ pleats, and wondering about the construction.

  3. Thanks Brandy & Victoria!! xo Please share my blog with all your fashionable and fabulous friends!!! xoxo

  4. You won't believe it, but I had already found your blog and had become a follower. It's fabulous and so full of great information. AND is that you ^ in your header? Such an amazing picture.


  5. Hi Lori, I'm so happy you found my blog on your own!! and YES! that photo is me ;) thank you for the compliment! Stay tuned for more from Evolution Revolution .. tell all your fabulous friends XOXOX