Let me start by saying that this skirt was NOT pleated by us! A client brought it to us as a sample of a garment pleated overseas. This demonstrates extremely poor quality pleating and we were surprised that our client did not recognize this. I therefore thought it would be good to blog about how to recognize poor pleating.
The curling that occurs at the side seems is the first problem with this skirt. When you look at each side you can see the pleats twisting towards the front of the garment. The second problem is that the pleating is almost completely pulled open at the waistband. Not only is that aesthetically unattractive but it contributes to the curling of the pleating at the hem of the skirt. Since this is a bias skirt, extra attention must be given to the grain-line of the fabric. Also, the longer the skirt, the more prominent the curling will be. Another aspect that affects the quality of the pleating is the characteristics of the fabric being used. This skirt is chiffon which is the least forgiving type of fabric, especially if the chiffon is very elastic. Fabrics that are rigid like taffetas are less likely to create that curling effect.
Now that we have pointed out these problems, the next question is how did this skirt get to look so bad? There are three issues here: it was cut incorrectly, pleated incorrectly and stitched incorrectly. So how do you prevent this from happening? The easy answer is you should send us your fabric and we will pleat it correctly for you. We will inform you of all of the considerations you will need to think about in regard to the type of pleating you need. If you still prefer to do it yourself, then I have good news for you. In future posts I will address the proper cutting of pleated bias skirts and the proper stitching of pleating as well. As far as the proper pleating techniques… sorry, but I can’t give away the family secrets. I’m sure you understand!
Below is another example of poor quality pleating. This picture was taken in a major name brand store. Notice how the pleats are curving around the hem. This is a short skirt and shows poor workmanship. It’s an example of a major off grain. Also notice right below the waistband…again the pleats are almost pulled open. Someone needs to replace that pleater!