Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh Pintuck.

For my senior collection, I have designed a dress that I would like to make of silk chiffon. However, I would also like for it to include panels of pintucks in several areas. In looking for pointers on how to do this, I came across this little entry. Although I will probably end up hand sewing my tedious tucks, I may have to try this technique on a more stable fabric just for fun. Enjoy, and by the way, clicking on the title will link you up to the original source for this.

Pintucks are tiny folds sewn into the fabric to add texture and decoration. There are usually several placed together in vertical rows, like on the bodice of a top or dress.

If the pintucks run from one seam to another, there is no need to tie them off. But if the pintucks end in the middle of the fabric, it is necessary [normally] to pull the threads to the wrong side of the fabric, and hand tie them to secure.

This technique is for pintucks that end in the middle of the fabric. You will be sewing along a fold in the fabric, 1/8 inch [or a little more] from the fold, using a regular machine needle.

Get ready to 'think outside the box' when it comes to threading your machine. Each pintuck is sewn with a single thread from your bobbin. Remove the top spool of thread.

With the bobbin in your machine, pull thread from your bobbin. Pull enough out that it is about a foot longer than the length of your pintuck. Put this thread through the needle, threading it the opposite direction [a needle threader really helps do this]. Keeping using this thread to completely thread the machine...the machine will be threaded as usual, you're just starting at the needle and working backwards. Just lay the extra thread on top of your machine. The thread should go directly from the bobbin to your needle, no slack. You're ready to sew the first pintuck.

You start the pintuck where you want the finished end to be [in the middle of your folded bodice, not at the raw edge]. Sew along the edge of the fold, until the pintuck ends at the edge of the fabric. Cut thread and remove bodice from machine. Remove any leftover thread from the top of the machine. Voila, the pintuck is finished, and no thread tails to tie off.

To do the next pintuck, pull thread from bobbin again, and rethread machine as before.


hannah said...

oh damn, this is cool! I can't wait to try it, it does seem logical. Let us know when you do a tester.

Emily said...

very interesting! I've never thought to rethread the machine differently before. I think I might be to scared to eff it up.

by the way, the title link just linked back to the post, not the source.

Anonymous said...

This is the "haute couture way". I actually learned this in high shcool (!) with a nun as a teacher (was in a convent-don't be sorry for me, I enjoyed it... lol).

She said it was the perfect way to do darts (from the end point first - with the bobbin thread trick).

I wouldn't have thought of that for pintucks. COOL

hannah said...

Did you learn any other tricks from the nuns?

hannah said...

oops, that sounded way dirtier than i meant it to

Carly said...

You only need to do this fancy rethreading trick if the tucks will be super visible and you're really into a challenge. It takes forever to rethread your machine for each tuck and if you miss calculate and don't have enough thread you spend a bunch of time picking it out only to have to re-thread and re-sew. If the ends of the tucks can't be hidden in a seam you can always pull the threads to the back side and tie off.
My best advice about pin tucks is to take some fabric fold and iron along a single thread line, i.e. with the grain. Edge stitch along that fold. Preferably with an 1/16th edge guide. Baring in mind that if you have any edge guide you can adjust the needle placement to change the width. Move over what ever spacing you want between your tucks and repeat. Do this until your fabric has as many tucks as you want. Then cut your pattern out with this fabric. This will save you an amazing about of time trying to calculate the width of the take up.
I can't wait to see this dress you must post. What ever happened to your dolman dress by the way?

Jessie said...

Ultimately, I am researching the best and most painless ways to sew chiffon. I have some experience, but it's been awhile. I don't plan to use this technique for what I'll be sewing, but found it interesting nonetheless. That's not true, I may employ it when I sew in my darts (which is only four instances). Otherwise, I plan to do what Carly is talking about, and do an entire area and then cut my pieces out after that. I've been told by several people that simply sewing a line of stitching using a double needle works very well on chiffon. It enables you to do very detailed, precise work without having to press folds into the fabric. After stitching, the threads can then be pulled taught, causing the tucks to raise up. I'll let you know how it goes. I will try it with and without tissue paper, and may even experiment with some liquid stabilizer.

Right now I am in the patterning phase, and will actually be sewing the dress after the new year. I'm just trying to plan for the types of fabrics I will be using so that I'm not setting myself up for impossible tasks.

As for the dolman dress, what I finished for myself came out very well. I only finished the bodice portion, when I realized that it fits into my collection perfectly. So I have (temporarily) deserted all efforts at finishing the dress for myself and am now drafting it for a size eight dress form. As the quarter wraps up, I will have finished muslin prototypes of all of these things, and will post them for all to see.

Sonia Levesque said...

@ hannah

Posted as Anonymous before... wasn't logged in, Sorry!
So..., tricks from the nuns? he he he

Well, they were teaching the "long way" to do everything... Like doing "points tailleurs" - don't know the word in English, sorry- which are basically threaded marks to pinpoint per example darts, end of stitches, pocket placement and the likes.
Long to do for something a pin or a non-permanent marker or chalk can do. But they looked neat.

Also, mainly tricks about cutting to match stripes and tartans. How to use ironing aids like rolls and hams (are those the words? lol).

I'm tired and my French is dominating tonight... Anyway, I had a blast at that school (20 years ago!) and will remember Soeur Thérèse and her lessons for ever.

Liron said...

Question for Carly

What you said is really interesting. I have noticed that if I make a pattern (of a dress, bodice and skirt) and I make a few pleats and sew them (after checking the pattern is correct) the bodice becomes too narrow for the skirt. Do you think the pleats will diminish the fabric's stretchiness (I am talking about sweatshirt fabric).
I have checked the pattern and it's good...

Anonymous said...

I'm not Carly... But I'm compelled to write some kind of an answer to Liron, if I may.

You HAVE to change your pattern to accomodate pintucks, or yes, the piece will become too small (one quarter of an inch at a time...). Small but important changes.

I think it will interfere with the stretch of the fabric, like you suspect. You'll have to do some tests I suppose.

And am I understanding right that you want to do pintucks in sweatshirt fabric? I hope not... much too thick for good effect. But I could get you wrong. Sorry if I do! ;-)

Carly said...

Sorry liron for not answering faster. It's been a crazy week. If I understand you right you are making a dress out of sweatshirt material. It is a bodice and skirt sewn together at the waist. You are adding decorative pleats to the bodice section prior to sewing the two together and when you do they no longer fit together accurately. Do I have this right? If this is the case I would say that there are one of two issues going on. The first possibility is that the decorative pleats do indeed affect the stretch. This means that the fabric of the bodice and the skirt are still the same size but as you're sewing, the unpleated side is stretching more. If this is the case I recommend putting the unpleated side on the bottom (next to the feed dogs) while sewing and sew it a section at a time, lining up your side seams, CFs, and CBs. The other possibility is that the fabric is thick enough that when you sew a pleat and press it to one side you are loosing an 1/8" in the "bend". If this case you can make your pattern wider according to how much is needed to make those bends. Or you can make your decorative pleats in the fabric prior to cutting out your pattern piece. This is the method I was advocating for pin tucks earlier in the comments.
This last case is a classic example of why we have to make patterns according to what the fabric is doing instead of what seems right on paper. Assuming of course you have isolated any operator errors.

Liron said...

Thanks Carly and Anonymous.
Thanks for you reply. My pattern drafting teacher was insisting my pattern was wrong and it's right. I had a feeling that some fabrics will need different handling with the pleats, so thanks for the reassurance.
And to anonymous- the pleats turned out great on the sweatshirt fabric:)
But I was ,like you, hesitant at first.

Carly said...

Hey Liron send me a picture I would love to see what it looks like.