Coming up to the final stretch here! That is: getting that monster panel of a skirt onto the bodice, which means pleating about 175" of length, that the skirt edge now measures, (after reducing it) into the 26" that the corset waist measures.
The answer is cartridge pleating, this type of pleating, used mainly in costumes and period clothing reproduction today, serves several purposes. It reduces a very large length of cloth much more effectively than simply gathering and the construction causes the pleating to stand out and creates volume. Here, it will give a very pretty and controlled volume to the skirt and I can make full use of the uninterrupted panel of embroidery.
I do a little test and find out that the floral motif in the solid section of linen does not take to the pleating at all. I decide to pick it out. I discover that all these flower petals are incredibly, & beautifully, padded out with layers of under stitching in a cream colored cotton yarn. The embroidery covers this pad stitching perfectly and it is a lot of of work to pick out. But I can't pleat it properly otherwise. So I pick out all the petals that intersect the pleating area.
|The beautiful padding stitches- partially removed|
The pleats are formed with a running stitch, by eye, as evenly as possible and using super strong thread. Then stitched, all by hand, by catching just the top fold of each pleat to the bodice. My hand sewing is rusty - not much call for it in leather (best if there's none). Here's another test shot- kind of a straight cross view:
|At the bottom you can see the tabs that will lie under the skirt.|
|The silicora thread only comes in black and dead white, but the non-match won't be a problem|
|Inside showing final cartridge pleating|
|outside of cartridge pleating, my hand stitching sucks but it will not show( at all) when on- That's the beauty of this beast!|
|The front of the skirt has no pleats and is stitched to 'float' under the extended front of the corset|
|On a hangar, you don't get the effect of the pleats|
|I still need figure out what to replace that zipper pull ribbon with!|