First of all, I am basically lazy, so I don't always run a line of stitching at the top as I am doing here. The reason for the stitching on this is, it is for the bed skirt and I will be trying to make it as flat as possible to go under the quilt.
The first thing that I did was measure to see how long the skirt had to be. In this case it was 2 1/2" high by about 18" long(finished).The piece that you cut should be at least twice as long as the finished measurment. I usually like to make allowances for a little extra for side hems and other silly things that can go wrong.
Unfortunately, I am working with a fat quarter, so the length is on the short side. I am going to have to do two of them. I cut the fabric, on the grain, about 3" wide. This is going across the fabric. Not along the selvage. Then I turned under about an eighth of an inch hem with Aleene's fast grab.
In the first photo you can see that I have added two strips of grosgrain ribbon as decoration. This was also done with glue.
I then ran a double basting thread about 1/4 to 1/2" from the top. Leaving both ends free, I can pull from either end to get the gathering that I want.
Starting with a bottom pin on the left side of the pin board, I line the bottom of the fabric up with one of the lines on the graph paper. This will be my base line for all of the pleats. The pins are all pulled downwards at a pretty low angle to the board, outwards. Away from the edge. Once I have the first bottom pin in place, I also anchor the top with a pin stretching in the other direction. This is also at a slant away from the fabric.
Now....To form the pleats, stick a pin lightly into the fabric two lines to the right of your base pin and drag the fabric back to the middle line to form a pleat. It will look like an upside down U.
When it is where you want it, stick the pin into the board through the fabric.
What you are doing is taking two steps forward and one step back with every pin. Your fabric should be 1/2" in length between the pins, but the pins are 1/4" apart when you stick them in. This forms the U.
Alternate, first a bottom pin and then a top one. Don't gather the top of the fabric with the thread.
Just make the same pleats that you are doing at the bottom. On the top, stick the pins in above the thread and make sure that none of them splits the thread. That will stop the pleating action....Make sure that the bottom and the top of each pleat are the same. And do stretch the fabric just a bit with the top pin to increase tension.
If you do it right, it will look almost like you are using one of the rubber pleater thingies.
Just keep plugging away. Bottom pin. Top pin. Bottom pin. Top pin until you run out of your fabric. Then you can gently Pull the thread to get the gathers in. If you are having trouble getting it to gather, sometimes you can nudge the gathers with a pin to ease them into place.
Once you are satisfied with the way it looks, use PUMP hairspray. NO aerosol! It doesn't work, because too much of it floats away in the air.
I use unscented, extra hold, White Rain. You can experiment with different brands. Unscented still has a smell when it is still wet. It does disappear when dry.
You want to saturate the fabric pretty well. Then let it dry. I usually do it twice, sometimes even three times. It should be pretty stiff when finished. You don't want it fanning out when you remove the pins.
If you are in a great hurry, you can use a hair dryer to speed the process.
A couple of tips, while I am thinking of it. Please use 100% cotton, silk or linen. It must be a natural fabric to hold its shape. If you use any synthetics, expect to be a very unhappy pleater. That's just how it is.
If you don't know what the fabric is that you want to use, try the wrinkle test. Grab the material and crush it in your hand. If it is cotton or even mostly cotton it will hold the creases from just a second or two of crushing....Usually, if it has synthetic in it, it will do the "permanent press" thing....It will unwrinkle in a matter of seconds. Run the other way! It won't stay pleated if it doesn't stay wrinkled.
The other thing about using natural fabrics is the gluing. They will glue like a charm....Synthetics, you can keep adding glue until you are blue in the face...It will come unglued or start showing through the fabric. Most irritating.
One more thing, get yourself some ball headed quilting pins. They will save lots of sore fingers!
Now I have to go do the whole thing again. Remember? I need two. Please let me know if you try it. I would like to see how you do.
See you tomorrow.