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.


New Competitors Board

During my visit to London, I visited a store in Camden called Skinny Dip, Which is a London based fashion accessory brand, which have a range of stationary products. These products are all fun and good quality, made for a similar age range to who I am creating for. Young edgy women, most likely students. With this in mind, I decided to change my competitors boards because these all seem much more relevant to who I’m creating for and what I’m creating. These are all the brands I am competing against because they are all high quality made products with a slightly expensive price range, but not too expensive. For this modern young women.

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Visiting London Design Week 2017

My initial thought when visiting the Chelsea Harbour Showroom, was that it wasn’t what I expected at all. I assumed it would be something quite similar to New Designers that is held in the business centre in London. But I was pleasantly surprised with the layout of the place. It was an interesting building with lots of big spaces for each company to show case many of there collections and not only just the samples but actually create showpieces and examples to see how different samples would look in real spaces which I thought was very appropriate. Here are a few pictures I took during the day, I couldn’t get photos of everything I wanted to because some designers didn’t allow it, but I think this gives a good range of what I saw.

The major theme I saw threw out the show was this tropical rainforest feel, with animal prints, botanical illustrations  and lots of bright colours. This really shocked me because on WGSN I think one of the trends for 2018 is phyco tropical. However, this might be a different in trends between fashion and interior, because since going to China I have had very little focus on the idea of interiors. I also saw lots of geometric simple patterns in many different show rooms.

In terms of colour schemes, I saw many following this trend of the rainforest with bright greens and turquoise, contrasting this with either black of white. I also saw lots of rich orange and brown colour schemes which I thought made a warm alternative.

I was really inspired by there layouts and ways if presenting their work. In particular I was looking at how they showed colour ways, and mood boards. In many showrooms, they had an easel with lots of different fabrics of illustrations pinned up, creating a simple yet very effective mood board. This meant you could see the inspiration of all the different prints around this. It made the vision clear and fun to look at. Not only this though, was how they showed different colour ways, as this is something I have been thinking about with my upcoming deadline. Some companies had books full fabric samples of different sizes. The one main one would be at the very back in the correct scale with the colour ways trimmed smaller and smaller down one side of the page, and the other side would include a paper image of the whole print, so you could see what it looked like, depending on the scale. This aloud you to see all of the pattern as soon as you open the book, which was visually beautiful. I think there is an example in the images of Manuel Canovas. Another way I saw was having a large scale print hung up with the colour ways attached as small samples down one side of the large scale print. This was also visually nice to see. But I think I prefer the style of the book better because it allows you to include more.

I was able to get some samples from some two different companies. One of which has already arrived. Although we couldn’t take photos in the showroom, I am really pleased to see such fun and edgy prints in bold colours. It was the most similar thing I had seen to my work which made me question if my prints could work for interiors too, we’ll see. Also In this same showroom I saw a designer Kirkby Designs was doing a collection based on the Underground, Which I have to say is very inspirational and creative because I think the underground is full of inspiration. Although the prints are quite simple and basic I think you can easily see where the inspiration has come from and they really work in the space.


Cyber Dog Visit

Today we took a trip to London to look at the Chelsea Harbour Interior Design Show 2017. Because we were in London, I decided it was a really good time, and point in my design process to visit the store I am hypothetically working for in my brief. This store is called Cyber Dog and they are based online, but also in London, Camden. They also have stores in Brighton, Manchester and Ibiza, but I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting this store in London. Its Store Policy not to take photos, but I did ask and they said I can take photos, just not of the merchandise. Here are a few photos I took, just so you can get a vibe of how crazy and inspirational this store is to me and my design work. As soon as you walk in you are hit with futuristic aliens hung against the wall, UV lights and LED’s.

I think after seeing my store brand, I am going to continue to draw more patterns and interesting motifs, because it would seem I could go a lot further with these ideas.

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London Transport Museum

Today I visited the London Transport Museum to get a better understanding of the London Underground, as I have a particular interest in the process of creating such a huge part of London Life and why many are un used.

The first underground was built by 2,000 Navvies, by hand. There were no accurate plans to show the engineers what might lie underneath the ground. The work was risky, but despite many construction problems it was built to a very high standard. The first underground railway was designed to transport passengers arriving at London’s main station, into the city. An underground  line was built below the main road to the city would avoid most property demolition in comparison to building a railway at ground level. The metropolitan railway company was formed in 1854 to carry through the ground breaking project.


The railway reflected the class structure of Victorian society. On the main lines, metropolitan and district railways, passengers could choose from first class, second class or third class. This varied the level of comfort within each compartment.


IN 1913 the undergrounds publicity manager, Frank Pick, commissioned a typographer to design the company typeface. By 1917 the proportion of the roundel had been reworked to suit the new lettering. The solid red disk became a circle, and the new symbol was registered as a trademark. This is a drawing looking at the proportions.


This was one of the pieces of art work relating to the underground I saw, I thought it was really interesting and fun.

After looking around the whole museum, I was quite disappointed at how much information they had in regards to the unused tube stations. However, I did find many books with information regarding the unused tube stations and am planning a tour of Aldwych, which I have previously looked into. This unused tube station is in-between Holborn and Covent Garden. The branch opened in 1907, but due to low numbers of passengers the the station eventually closed in 1994. I hope to soon go on a tour of this unused station.


New Designers London 2016

While visiting the new designers event in London, I found some specific graduates thats work really inspired me. Due to there theme, processes and final pieces. Take a look:

This was my favourite new designer of the event. Her name is Shiona McMahon and she attended the University of Dundee. Instantly I was drawn to the rust dying, colours and textures. Before even seeing the screws I could see the patterns of rust dying. She said she has a passion for natural dying techniques. Her collection aims to show how versatile the processes can be and hopes to sell her work to commercial interior markets. I loved how beautiful and unique each piece was, especially with hand stitches.

Click here for more Information and Instagram Account.


This is another piece of work I particularly liked, by Rebakah Garthwaite who studied at the Birmingham City University. During the project she was inspired by ice and had a passion for embroidery and embellishment. I was drawn to the sketch book at colour palette most of all because of how the book was laid out to show all the pages, but also because the sketch book was used to demonstrate her though processes, and samples, which I hope to go back to during the second and third year of University.  Her final peices included over 10,000 beads which were hand stitched onto fabric. and different embroidery methods to show the transformation of ice. Although i’m not the biggest fan of embroidery, I was really impressed with this piece.

Click here for more Information and Instagram account.


I also collected many business cards throughout the day. When I go into third year, I assume I will also make business cards but looking at all the different types has given me lots to think about, including colour, textures, shapes, cut out shapes and hand made elements. Each card is different, but the ones that stood out to me were the ones that were hand made with there names printed on top, or thin clear plastic cards with shapes cut out. This idea would be good because it could make a keyring. However, Rachael Larsson, who used the plastic business cards was creating all her work out of plastic so it made so much sense. Obviously this day has given me an insight into what I will be doing in 2 years time, and I look forward to it. But with the time leading up to this point I hope to have looked into these things throughly.