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Sewing Precise Tucks and Pleats

July 18, 2013

I thought I was ready to dig into pants fitting after finishing my denim dress, but it turns out I needed a little break with some straightforward stitching. That break came in the form of a pin tucked blouse, Simplicity 2365.

I'm making mine out of a bright cotton voile, and I chopped the hemline to be a more traditional blouse rather than a tunic.

I knew from the beginning that the pin tucks might be a little challenging to get just right, so I went looking for a clever technique. I found it in Pattern Review's 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips (courtesy of my local library)! This technique was presented for making pleats, but it worked really well for my pin tucks, too. Please note: I tested this out on a swatch first to make sure I wouldn't damage my fabric. If you try this out, you should do the same. Here's what I did:

I took the markings from my pattern pieces…

…and traced them onto the matte side of freezer paper. I included anything that would help me line up the pieces perfectly. My freezer paper (which you can find at the grocery store) was translucent enough that I could see through to trace with a thin permanent marker.

Then I ironed the whole thing (regular heat, no steam) to the right side of my fabric. This is why I tried it out on a sample first–I wanted to make sure there was no chance of the wax leaving adhesive on my blouse.

Once it was completely adhered, I creased and pressed along the first of my tuck lines. It was really easy to make the line exact because the freezer paper can take a crease. I finished off with some pressure from my wooden clapper because I wanted to make sure the crease wasn't going anywhere between the ironing board and the sewing machine.

I then pealed back the freezer paper to reveal the crease and cut off the excess paper. If you wanted to reuse the piece, you could probably fold it back, but I wanted it out of my way. My pattern told me to stitch 1/8″ from the fold, so I used my edge stitching foot and adjusted the needle accordingly. I also put in a few pins to make sure nothing shifted and to mark the bottom of the tucks since these ones only go part way down the fronts.

Keep pressing in the tucks, pealing back the freezer paper, and stitching…

…until you've done them all! Give them a final press, and admire your handiwork. What do you think? Is this a technique you'd use, or is it too fussy for you? Of course, if you have any questions, just shout out in the comments.

I'm not sure if this blouse will be finished before the move–I'm French seaming everything so it's nice and tidy on the inside, which makes progress a little slow. I'll also be away from my sewing machine this weekend. I got a last minute opportunity to attend the Virginia Beach Lindy Exchange, so I'll be dancing on the beach! I've actually packed a bunch of me-made garments to dance in: my Beignet, Ginger, and ruffled skirts. Had I known sooner that I was going, I might have joined the Bombshell swimsuit sewalong. Maybe next time.



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