Monday, June 30, 2014

Pretty Pleats at KSFM

Last week, I had the pleasure of taking a road trip to the Kent State Fashion Museum to view their Pretty Pleats exhibit. The exhibit featured historical to modern costume which represented the techniques and advances in pleating and pleat-making over a 300-year timeline. Historical dressmakers in particular know the practical and aesthetic value of pleating a garment and Heaven knows we do enough of it! The art of gathering-up fabric and manipulating it to create form, dimension, and shape is an essential technique in creating and understanding historical costume - this exhibit certainly expanded my own understanding and appreciation for pleating.

It is my pleasure to share with you several of the garments featured in the exhibit, and while we historical dressmakers are familiar with the pleating techniques used, each exemple vêtement is an excellent representation of its respective era, the techniques used for that period, and the overall beauty and shape achieved.

The Notorious en fourreau:

The elaborate gowns of 18th-century were not only adorned with pleated trims along the perimeters of the skirt, cuff, and neckline (a style borrowed in the 1870s), but the en fourreau hit the court's fashion scene, a technique used to accentuate - uninterrupted - the posterior curve of the feminine form from nape to hem...

The Hourglass:

From the 1830s emerged the hourglass silhouette, a shape that would dominate women's fashion until the late 1860s. The aesthetic was achieved in greater part by knife pleats in the front of the gown's skirt and cartridge pleats in the back...

Tuck Me In:

Tucks appeared in common use at the turn of the 19th-century when women's dresses took on an ease in wear and flow. As the century progressed, tucks became a popular aesthetic technique used in women's fashion, often as the main design feature creating flow lines and illusions in shape and structure...

Sheer Elegance:

Light and delicate pleats were first created with fluting irons, which needed heated and were directly applied to the fabric (please click here to read about Lauren's costuming experience with an antique fluting iron). But as delicate chiffons and organzas were introduced to women's fashion chemical techniques were used...

The Fortuny Pleat:

Spanish designer, Mariano Fortuny, is renown for his Delphos gown, a shift dress meant to accentuate the natural curves of the female body and constructed of finely pleated silk weighed down by glass beads sewn into the fabric. The Fortuny pleating technique, first developed in 1907, remains to this day a closely guarded industry secret...

For more photographs of the Pretty Pleats exhibit, please visit my Pinterest page. Blessings and happy sewing!

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