Wednesday, July 6, 2011

6 July 1957 “Pleats, Fashion, & Sewing”

voguesummerpleats Summertime fashion and pleats seem to go hand in hand. This fresh Summer dress is enhanced with accordion pleats above and below the waits. The simple sloped shoulder sleeve would be easy to sew with a two piece dress pattern, though the pleats would be rather hard. One could find such pre-pleated material perhaps.

I have not talked about sewing in awhile. I have been sewing, but merely have not had the time to discuss it, with the preparations for our home for sale and so on. I thought I would share what I am currently working on today.

Picture 122 I think I shared this fabric purchase with you before. It had a very sixties graphic print, but the color and sensibility I felt was very late 50’s early 60’s. Therefore I wanted to make it into a summer dress that would carry over well into possibly Winter dressing with darker hose and a maybe a boucle jacket of navy with pink or green braid trim.

I felt the fabric would be too overpowering for the entire dress and therefore bought a basic cotton in the same Navy as the backing of the patterned fabric. I could have done so with either the pink or the green, but then I felt  it limited its wear-ability to only Summer time. And, as the maker of my own clothing, I like to get as much wear out of my clothing as possible.

navydotdress1You can see here it is in its final stages of construction. I made a simple seamed two piece bodice. The skirt fabric now is pinned in pleats. I am trying to decide if I want pleats or gathers. I rather like the pleated look. (Excuse the background, it is my second story barn studio space, that is why you see plywood under my old Oriental rug).

I like pleats. I like sewing them and find that they can be more flattering than gathering on a ‘fuller figured’ gal; more forgiving if you will.

 dior53I like the look of these large pleats of this Dior from 1953. Though this is a heavier material, most likely a mohair or wool, so I am not sure if fewer but bolder pleats will work for a simple cotton Summer afternoon dress. I will re-pin it today in this style and see if I like it. Having a dress form makes such dress making choices much easier. I had made my own form back in 56, but a friend recently gave me her form she was no longer using. I was very happy to have it, believe me.

triplepleat Pleats can be as complicated as these triple inverted pleats (to give the skirt added fullness) or a simple knife pleat where the fabric is simply folded and stitched, as seen in this Vogue Pattern.voguepleats

bluepleateddress This is a good example of a 50’s dress pleated simply.

The easier knife pleats are not as difficult as one would think and I simply pin the ends of the skirt to the sipper and then the opposite side seam and that allows me to know how much equal amounts of fabric I have to work with. I only have two yards to work with her, but that is enough to have a few varieties before I decide. I will share the finished dress, of course.

I have included a list of Pleat terms and a free downloadable 50’s dress pattern in today’s Vintage Daily News.

I hope all of you are intrigued enough to either get back to your sewing machine or possibly give it a try for the first time. You will be happy to see that making your own clothing is not as complicated as one might think, so give it a try.

Happy Sewing and Happy Homemaking.

There is a Vintage News today click link or go HERE.


  1. I like the soft pleats on the blue dress. I have found ironing in the pleats much more of a pain in the neck than sewing them. I once made a kilt, and it was a lot of work ironing in the pleats (the plaid fabric helped, though, as you could align the pleats with the cross-strips of the plaid).

  2. Ahhh it's so nice to be back and visit you again and I lurve the new banner design too! My old computer crashed so I've been gone from bloggyland for a bit until the new one just arrived. Whew, you don't realize how much you use it until you don't have it ~ ha ha
    I am SO ready to sew up a retro apron!

  3. Your dress is going to be darling! If I may, I think simple pleats are a better choice as to avoid competing with the pattern of the skirt. The fabric is just beautiful and doesn't need much to show it off. I'm a bit jealous, I must admit!

    Sarah H

  4. janeen-welcome back. I know what you mean about the computer. For the most part, since my 1950's life began, I have become somewhat a luddite, but I use the computer every day for my posts/research/writing. Though, when that is done (as it is often a few hours each morning) I am done with the computer for the rest of the day. Especially in the Summer with the garden and chickens and the beach and far too many outside things. Though, come Winter, that can be a different story. I am glad you have your computer back and again welcome back!
    Sarah-I quite agree. In fact I pinned it with a gather and rather liked that as well, but I think the simply pleat shows off the pattern and as a casual pleat, I call it, it doesn't really merit needing actual ironed pleats to the hem, it just serves to give the skirt a 'lift' but more flattering than a continuous gather.

  5. Thanks for the welcome back greeting! And your right, I have to say that I did find other things to do during times I previously would have been on the computer. In the evenings I caught up on my magazines - a simple luxury that I will continue to make time for!

    Have a lovely weekend!

  6. P.S. Blogger is having issues with me trying to stay signed in but I found out it only happens with people who use a different blog format than Blogger (like Wordpress, etc) so that is why I signed in differently.


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