Pleating Work Placement

During this week spent at Ciment Pleating, in London, I have learnt so many new and interesting things, which will inspire me for years to come. When I arrived I had very little knowledge of the process of how to pleat, but over time I have learnt all the different methods and processes of many of the pleats they create at Ciment Pleating. This is one of the only pleating company’s left in the UK which makes me very sad because it is a beautiful art form.

The pleating process consists of two patterns made out of card or paper. The fabric is then placed in between the paper and pushed slowly together to create the pattern. It is then either tied up or rolled up depending on the chosen pattern and left in a steamer for approximately 28 minutes. After this has been completed it is then left to cool down. This cooling process is the most important because this will make the fabric stay In the shape of the pattern. Once cooled down completely the paper is then separated from the fabric and the pleat is complete.

The first pleats I learnt about was the straight pleat which is the most basic of pleats, sometimes known as a knife pleat. This consist of one being longer then the other allowing the fabric to sit flat. The next one I looked at was the accordion pleat which means the pleat has 2 sides and both be the same length. This one doesn’t sit flat or face one direction.

The majority of the time spent at Ciment Pleating I have been helping Gary create Sunray pleats which I think is one of my favourite. This is similar to an accordion pleat but is cut in a semi circle. It starts of very small and gets bigger the closer to the hem. This pleat would mostly be used for skirts.

Because I have been very focused on geometrics recently, when it came to pleating some of my own fabric. I wanted to be very creative and try some of these fancy pleats. Firstly, I tested out the chevron pleat using some of my plastics. This is a repeating triangle pattern which is really fun to play with especially using thick fabrics like my plastic. I’ve also had the chance to play around with the star pleat, basket weave pleat, herringbone pleat and tree bark pleat. So I not got lots and lots of samples to take back with me to play around with.

Considerations when thinking about pleating fabrics how big do you need the final piece of fabric because some of my samples are now much smaller then they were originally because some patterns half the size when completed. Also some of my patterns are upside down, like I really liked the back size of the basket weave because it looked really industrial so I turned my fabric around to make it different.

I’m so thankful that I have had the opportunity to complete this work placement and I must thank Irene, head of fashion at CSAD for getting me in contact with Ciment Pleating. I has really inspired me to consider creating my own fabric to pleat and create a garment with, or even just into fashion with these interesting fabrics I have been working with and create fashion garments out of them, because they would be interesting and edgy with these sorts of geometric shapes and textures.

A girl who works at Ciment Pleating called Jo, recently completed a course at De Montford university which is called Contour fashion, which teaches is a fashion course specialising in lingerie, body wear, swimwear, nightwear, corsetry, menswear and sportswear. I think something like this sounds super interesting as a whole. I am really starting to consider weather I would be able to study fashion after my textile degree.

Experience at BIFT

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Studying at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology for three months has been an amazing experience. We experienced many challenges along the way, however, I feel we have grown to overcome this as a group (Alice, Rosie and I) and have gone on to learn many new and interesting things which I don’t think I would have got the chance to learn if I continued to study textiles. This time here at BIFT has really opened my eyes to differences between education in China compared to education at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and has made me very thankful.

Before travelling, I assumed all my classes would be taught in English. However, to my surprise very few teachers spoke any English at all. So this was a major challenge to understand my teachers. I was lucky enough to have many students help me to translate, which I think has benefited them as well, as I can see an improvement in there English since first starting at BIFT. The teaching style at BIFT I have struggled with as I feel it is very old fashioned and not very creative. It seems most classes are taught from text books, which doesn’t appeal to me. I prefer a more creative environment to work in, which has made me realise how much freedom we receive at Cardiff Met to be our own person and support from the teachers to try new things.

Nevertheless, I think I have learnt many fashion skills during my time here at BIFT. I have learnt how to draw the human body, which I am very pleased with as before I was very uninterested in drawing. I think this is a huge accomplishment as before I thought the body was very complicated to draw but this is now become an interest of mine, looking at the shapes of the human body. I have also learnt how to draw many different clothing patterns, and how to construct two types of skirts using an industrial sewing machine. I think this is a huge accomplishment in such a short space of time, I’m very pleased I stuck with my garment construction class, as I was really struggling with the language barrier from my teacher because she spoke no English, however, I overcome this with the help of my friends and have tried becoming more creative with the choices of fabrics. I really struggled using an industrial sewing machine at first because I had never seen anything like it, and it took time to practice becoming steady but now I have learnt I don’t mind these machines at all.

The university its self has many new and exciting thing happening each week, including exhibitions, textiles, fashion and jewellery based. Sports events, shows and markets. This has been a fantastic resource for inspiration and buying equipment and fabrics. The university also has its own Ethnic costume museum which although opening times have been a struggle to get to, what’s inside I have found to very inspirational specifically looking at patterns and marks.

This school is a complete contrast to Cardiff met, I feel as if they have very few resources like computers, printers and Wi-Fi. But saying this, my education here has been an experience in its self and I am so thankful for my teachers and in particular Richard, from the Erasmus office who has helped us meet people and I am pleased to have a whole new friendship group here at BIFT, which will make it a very emotional experience to leave.Ex

Creative and Cultural Experience

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Before travelling to china to study, I was very uncertain about the possibility of studying fashion because I was unware of the creative possibilities which I could create because it was such a short exchange. However, this last month has really changed my mind to the potential, exciting outcomes I could achieve with the right foundations. I have really struggled finding the right balance between textiles and fashion, without resources to complete textile techniques and the knowledge to create fashion pieces. But recently have found new inspiration from many different fashion designers, who are using unusual fabrics of surface pattern methods which has made me think more out of the box.  Although I feel my skills are limited I have become more confident in drawing, especially the human body which I think is a huge accomplishment for me as before I was really uninterested in drawing. And with these drawings I have become more experimental with shapes and future potential ideas for more fashion garments. The garments I have made are all very similar but I have tried to use fabrics that are slightly more interesting and challenging to work with, and used different designs and templates to create more variety in my work.

My experiences in China have been much more then just attending university, I feel so lucky to have been able to sight see and travel while I have been here. I have been inspired at many of the sights I have seen, because of the cultural aspects that I have never seen before. In particular, the ancient history of the traditional Chinese buildings, and the decorative artwork and colours found everywhere, in particular at the Summer Palace. But I have also been inspired by the artwork of Buddhism, I have seen, when visiting temples. I would love to find out more about this religion when I return home as I think it sounds like a beautiful religion with lovely attributes. However, to my surprise I have also been very inspired by the modern architecture, in particular the geometric shapes and interesting designs. I think this will be a huge influence in my work when I return home to continue this project, as I want to attempt to resemble these surface patterns in my work threw the art of pleating, which I am excited about as I have arranged work experience during the Easter holidays to explore this medium with a company based in London.

One major part of this trip has been acting as an ambassador for Cardiff Met which has allowed us to travel to different parts of China, and visit university’s and speak about our experiences. Each time we have met a new member of the Cardiff Met China office and had a very different experiences. While being here, I have realised how lucky I am to attend a University offering me exciting opportunity’s like this one, and what a great city Cardiff is.

I am so pleased that I chose to take this opportunity. I have gained many so many valuable lessons and feel I have grown as a person. I have made contacts with lots of different people from different backgrounds and I think I will return home appreciating life a lot more.