I hope this tutorial was easy to understand. It's kind of hard remembering put in steps when I do this on automatic pilot. If any has any questions at all, email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer you. I love reading comments from everyone. Happy stitching, Jan
Friday, January 7, 2011
Pleating a Bonnet
A few girls in my smocking chat group (Learning to Smock) have requested some instructions on pleating a bonnet to use in the class I'm doing in about a month. I will try to give detailed, but simple instructions so any who have never smocked before can feel like I am sitting right there next to them. So here we go girls:
1. Cut a piece 9" X 40" of whatever fabric you want to use for your bonnet. I used imperial batiste. If you want to use 100% cotton, go right ahead. I just like to use a fabric that has very little wrinkling. I used a rotary cutter, a 6" x 24" acrylic ruler and a self-healing mat to cut my piece. If you have never used a rotary cutter before, practice cutting a few skinny strips of fabric like muslin, just to get the hang of using a rotary cutter. When using a rotary cutter, you must use a self-healing mat. Otherwise you will definately ruin the surface you are cutting on. Also on a safety note, when using the cutter; please keep the guard on until right before you make your cut. Right you make your cut, replace the guard. The blade is a razor blade. Let's not have any trips to the emergency room. That kind of puts a crink in your plans.
2. Next fold the piece in half so that it measures 9" x 20". Take a wash out blue marker and measure up 1 1/4" from the bottom edge with your ruler and mark a line; pictured below. To get a close-up view, click on the pictures.
3. Next roll the piece on a dowel.
We will be using 7 half spaces on the pleater. Five spaces are for the smocking and two spaces are for the holding rows. Use long enough pieces of thread so you can spread out the piece to hem the ruffle or add lace. Thread your pleater with a color of hand quilting thread. Since I love to do mainly pastel fabrics, I have black or navy hand-quilting thread loaded into my needles. Lots of people will use orange thread, but I hate the color orange with a passion. Anyway, use whatever color you would like to, just make sure it has enough of a contrast to your fabric. Sorry the next pic is so yuck of a color.
Match the blue line up with the needle on the right. As the pleater needles fill up, gently pull the fabric off the needles. The heavier the fabric, the sooner you will need to empty the needles.
4. After you've pleated your piece, measure up 1 1/8" from raw edge and unpick the pleater threads. As you can see I use a steel crochet hook to do my unpicking. It makes the unpicking part really easy.
5. Tie your pleater threads on one end in groups of 2 or 3. Tie the threads on the other end all together. This is just so you can next work on the hemming part of your bonnet.
6. You can do your hems a variety if ways (by hand, serged or folded over twice and machine stitched). I chose to do some serge and fold over, then machine stitch and some to fold over twice and machine stitch. For heirloom bonnets, always do hems by hand, it looks better. I used about a 1/8" - 1/4" folds. I pressed the folds before sewing. Pressing makes a HUGE difference in your finished project. I always use a short stitch length on my sewing machine, usually 2.0.
7. Hem three sides. The side opposite the pleater threads will be the casing for the back tie. I folded up 1/4" and then again at 3/4". I used a seam gauge for this part. Stitch very close to the edge of the fold.
8. Now it's time to pull up the pleater threads to measure 8". Notice I have pinned the bonnet to my ironing board on both sides. The side with the pleater threads all tied together in a lump is the side you want to pull up. I've also stuck a pin thru my tape measure to my board, this makes it easier to see when to stop pulling up the pleater threads. The pleats are all squished up on one end. That's ok, you will even them out in a minute. I also used a straight pin to get my knots on the end of my pleater threads very close to the end of the last pleat. You can tie your threads to the back of you want. It does keep them out of your way. But I just like having them on the front. There's no right or wrong way. However is best for you, it is YOUR bonnet after all.
9. Ok, now move the pleat across your threads and even them out. You can now starch the pleats or use a couple bursts of steam on the pleats. If you starch, let it dry over night. With steaming, let it cool completely then take the pins out and you are now ready to start smocking.