Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pinking and Pleating

Recently I thought it would be a cute idea to make a tablecloth, but make it look like a petticoat. I love love love petticoats with ruffles on the bottom so I thought I would take some inspiration from the 18th century and whip one up using fun fabric.

Ruffles are not the way to go by the way -- for me, at least. I don't know... gathering and gathering... and gathering and gathering... it makes me want to pull out my hair! There is just something about ruffles that I can't seem to embrace, though I love the way they look. So I did a little research and decided on pleats rather than gathers, and I am loving this idea even more!

I took inspiration from this painting below: Music Party by Louis Roland Trinquesse, 1774. The lady in white wears a petticoat with a wide, box-pleated ruffle. It has loosely spaced pleats that are sewn down with one row of stitches, unlike the pleated trim on her gown that is sewn down on both sides.

Music Party by Louis Roland Trinquesse, 1774

The gown below, from the Kyoto Costume Institute, has a similar hem. You can see it better in the second picture. The hem is also pinked.

Robe a la Francaise, c.1765
Kyoto Costume Institute 
AC5317 86-8-5AE

So here is what I've got so far: I pinked the fabric using a rotary pinking tool I bought from a taxidermy supply of all places, then I secured my pleats with pins, pinned the whole thing to a round circle of fabric, which will become the tablecloth, and started stitching everything together. 

By the way, I know you usually only see scalloped pinking within a scalloped border, but I did see this engraving that shows pointy pinking on a scallop did exist... See "A."

via Fuschia's 18th Century Dress

It's coming along great. Soon enough I will have a super cute tablecloth for spring time and I will have also practiced my pleating for my next gown that comes along. Yay!


  1. Do you know what the taxidermy tool's called? The scalloped pinking chisel seems to be very rare and expensive, so I'd love to know how to get one for a more normal price!

    1. Here's the link! Hope this helps.