Tuesday, August 16, 2011

knife pleats!

Today I bring you the making of this:

the making

Yes, it's yet another graph paper journal.  But pretty different, right?  This gift is for someone who prefers designs to be simple, with texture. I thought I might overwhelm her if I let my scraps talk me into another improv pieced journal, so I decided to do some experimenting with the guidance of Stitch Magic by Alison Reid.


inspired by Stitch Magic

This book is all about modern texture: pleats, pintucks, folding, smocking, etc.  It's something I've had on my wishlist forever, and I just got it the other week!  I figured that if I don't go ahead and try something from it right away, I may never have the guts or inspiration to do so, you know?  So the stars aligned for a fun little project.

knife pleats!

Here's the book's inspiration page for pleats.  Those little white knife pleats secured by red hand stitching looked plenty doable.  The instructions in Stitch Magic are definitely brief - just a paragraph or so to explain each pleat variation, but what it may lack in play-by-play steps, it makes up for in inspiring photographs and projects!

finger press + a million pins

To begin, I pieced together a large amount of solid green scraps.  I learned that pleats eat up lots of fabric, so I needed 3 times the amount of the desired finish fabric length.  Next, I added water soluble pencil marks as pleat guides, with 1" even spacing.  To make each knife pleat, I finger pressed/pinched along the length of each line, folded from the top of the fabric and added a million pins.  Really, a million!  I mean, pinning this took over an hour.  Using an iron could have been faster (or not), but I wanted a handmade, slightly irregular look, which I hope will appeal to my friend. 

hand stitching

The next morning I used pearl size 8 thread to hand stitch across at 1.5" intervals.  Again, I marked my stitch lines with pencil as a guide.  I know that my stitches aren't precisely straight.  It's hard, especially without being able to stretch the work in an embroidery frame.  The solid wall of pins prevented that!

I'm lovin the texture!

Don't you love the finished texture? I was almost in awe that something so different and unusual and unique is so incredibly simple, if time-consuming to make. If you like these knife pleats, don't be a bit intimidated. Just go for it! There are no tricks, I promise!

Pleated journal

inside

scrappy back

I think this is my favorite journal yet. I hope she loves it!

33 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! Your pleats are so lovely. I've always loved the look, but never tried them myself. How inspiring!

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  2. Oh my gosh! That is a TON of pins! I love the way it looks! I'm sure your friend will love it too!!!!!

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  3. If 'she' dares not to love it enough, I'll send you my address!

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  4. how perfect! and that book is totally going into my amazon cart, to be bought at some later date when I seem deserving!

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  5. This looks fab! Love the pleating potential!

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  6. Love that! I've been toying with the idea of making new pillows for my living room. Any thoughts on how this technique would work as a pillowcase or part of one?

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  7. it is beautiful! love the colors!

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  8. I love the texture...and the piecing is so subtle. I'm sure she'll adore it!

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  9. How very cool! And now there is another book I am going to have to check out from the library (and probably eventually buy). Love this journal cover!

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  10. Your friend will love it. It's beautiful!

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  11. I love it! My mum went on a tucks and texture workshop a while ago - I'm going to pick her brain!

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  12. There are several pleaters on the market (I like Clotilde best) - you just tuck your fabric and iron- removes the necessity for pins - and they come in a variety of pleat sizes - you did a fabulous job by hand!

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  13. That is very inspirational! Love it!

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  14. Love the colour, the texture, your hand stitching - everything about it. Beautiful!

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  15. Love it! The pleats, the fabric... your friend will love it, too!

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  16. This is my favorite, too! That color is perfection and I just love those pleats. It's so thoughtful of you to customize each one of these! I hope you get the chance to photograph them all stacked up -- how many more are you planning to make?

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  17. That journal is fab, I'm sure she'll love it, especially with all that work in it.

    I think I may *need* that book too...

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  18. What a wonderful job with the knife pleates. It's beautiful!
    I was wondering if you had a pattern for the journal cover?

    Thanks for sharing your talents with us.

    Debbie

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  19. I like your pleats! I remember Mama painstakingly making a little knife pleat skirt for me when I was little.

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  20. You went to alot of time and trouble to make the perfect gift. I am sure she will enjoy it.

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  21. Of course! I'm sorry that I forgot to link to it this time. It's Jennifer Paganelli's pattern: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projects-ideas/bags-pillows/covered-journals_1.html

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  22. Katie, I think it would be awesome as a pillow! If you want a really regular look, though, I would purchase a pleater tool. Just keep in mind that you'll need 3 times the fabric!

    Maureen, I tentatively plan on making 5 more, so I'm halfway there.

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  23. This is just gorgeous. I am heading to flickr to add it to my favorites so I remember to make it again. I love the pleats with the hand stitching.

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  24. Lovely. I once saw the most awesome tree skirt done with this and thought at the time...I can make that. Should have just bought it.

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  25. Lovely!! Nice present for your friend!

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  26. WOW that is awesome
    I've been eyeing off these pleat makers:
    http://www.punchwithjudy.com.au/shop/the_pleat-makers/
    at the last couple of craft shows. Now I've got something else I could do with it if I bought it ;)

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  27. Very pretty! At the risk of starting WW3 in the quilting community in the modern/traditional debate, it makes me laugh that everything old is new again. Pleats, pintucks, smocking are all heirloom techniques that women in the past painstakingly learned and practiced and now we love them all over again. I LOVE watching Martha's Sewing Room with Martha Pullen on PBS because she still uses and teaches these heirloom techniques and while I may usually sew up squares and rectangles, I appreciate the ability and effort that goes into such handwork.

    Great job, Rachel. Your friend should love it!!

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  28. Wow, those pleats are gorgeous! And of course it should have the slight irregularities.....that's how everyone will know it's hand-done! Who wants a machine-made looking thing!?! Ugh!

    And I love those colors you chose.....it's so calming and beautiful! Perfect inspiration for a journal!

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  29. Oh, Rachel, you're killing me with all of these amazing journals! I tried to reach into my computer screen and grab this one! That folded fabric detail is just perfect, and I'm so glad you recommended a book with those techniques-- I've been wanting to play around with texture but didn't know where to start!

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  30. Finally managed to see the pictures, absolutely beautiful. I have the book ,and will definitely go through it!

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  31. How adorable! What fun- such a great twist! (I also love the green)

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