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My background within the fashion industry to date has largely been focused on marketing, promotion and trend forecasting. The return to design was inspired by my last freelance role where I worked collating research of print designs and trends and I eagerly wanted to get back to working with textiles.

Keeping up to date and re-learning my skills through the use of YouTube tutorials and sewing projects via ‘StitchlessTV’ was where I came across established pleaters ‘Ciment Pleating’.  Having seen what they do and learning how extensive the design of a pleat can be, I was ecstatic when they came in for a talk/seminar at my university.

We were introduced to a lovely gentleman ‘Mat’ who explained that the ‘Ciment Pleating’ business was a 3rd generation family run business set up in 1925.  They are ‘the number 1’ pleaters within the UK, and it’s not hard to see why- their work and craftsmanship is exquisite, their clients range from Lady Gaga to Her Royal Highness the Queen.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II

HRH Queen Elizabeth II Source

Lady Gaga in the 'Living dress' designed by Alexander McQueen made out of shower curtains. Source.

Lady Gaga in the ‘Living dress’ designed by Alexander McQueen made out of shower curtains. Source.

He went on to explain the two basic pleats ‘flat/knife pleat’ and the ‘Accordion’ pleat. It was extremely intriguing to discover that over 350 different pleats were based on those two simple patterns. Their widespread range of pleats showed me that you can really transform a cheap fabric and create a texture that makes it look divine and it was also good to know that ‘the cheaper the fabric, the better it pleats’- Polyester haul here I come!

Selection of the pleating samples.

Selection of the pleating samples.

Getting the opportunity to integrate with third years is great because I can learn from them in order to be successful in my progression-thinking ahead to my final collection, I know I definitely want to incorporate pleating into my designs and I can already see a plush butter soft leather coat with honeycomb pleating walking down the catwalk .It’s a technical business that requires a great deal of math in order to know the right amount of fabric you need. The pleating process in essence shrinks your fabric- so baring that in mind in regards to the final size of your made up garment is imperative. The thought of spending £60 a meter and ruining it by not having the right amount doesn’t bare thinking about.

Ciment Pleating

I walked away (with a load of pleated swatches) and knowing that lamb and cow skin leather of a medium thickness pleats surprisingly well, suede is a dream pleater too and when it comes to pleating and the aftercare, the best way to go is using fabrics that are either 100% polyester or with a minimum content of 40%.

My favourite Pleat pattern 'The Honeycomb.

My favourite Pleat pattern ‘The Honeycomb.

Below is a quick video demo of the process of pleating that Mat and his team does in order to create fabulous pleats. 

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