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.

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