Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Pleats and Tucks Challenge


Challenge is definitely the appropriate word here. I’m not the most confident stitcher but I couldn’t find a historical knitting or crochet pattern that involved pleats. So a simple sewing project was needed, ideally involving some crochet, hence my chouce of an early 20th C boudoir cap.
One of my grandmothers used to talk about the lace crochet she did before she married, in the 19-teens. I love the crochet trimmed ladies nightwear of the era for anyway, so this is a step towards making one. I sewed it by hand which I found really enjoyable.

The inspiration for my hat came from various photos I found over on pinterest



The originals were made of silk but my budget and that of a working class girl of the era, probably wouldn’t have run that far so I chose to use cotton from a pillowcase.


I took 2 rectangles of fabric, joined them with a french seam into  a long strip and used a blind catch stitch to hem top and bottom.


I then deeply pleated the fabric but this was very much trial and error and took a few attempts to get it right and get the hat to fit. Once pleated I stitched down the pleats with 2 rows of back stitch.
I also crocheted an insertion for the crown of the hat and a lace trim using a period pattern book, downloaded from The Antique Pattern Library.



I learned a lot from the challenge and have identified a few areas I think I could do better:

1. Combining applying the lace and securing the pleats in place.

2. Using a metal or wooden ruler as opposed to a tape measure to make the pleats more even

3. Cutting a curved edge to the top of the hat to help with applying the crochet insertion.

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleating

Material:  An old cotton pillow case

Pattern: None for the sewing. Crochet : Lupton FM, People’s  Handbook Series: The Lady’s Fancy Work Manual http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/catalog.htm#AUTH_L

Year: 1905

Notions: thread, crochet cotton no 10, ribbon trim, plastic bead

How historically accurate is it? 60-70%. I couldn’t find a pattern for making the fabric part of the hat so improvised as best I could. The ribbon is synthetic and the bead plastic. The crochet patterns are of the period. I used HA stitching techniques and hand sewed. I think the fabric is 100% cotton but might be a blend. The thread is polyester.

Hours to complete: 6 – my first attempt at historical sewing so lots of pinning and repinning involved before sewing, plus I crocheted the lace

First Worn: Not yet

Total cost: all materials were from stash, probably around  £3

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