Plissé and crushed look

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  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
  • J00024 Plissé and crushed look
Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949) probably was the most famous pleating artist. At the beginning of the last century his finely pleated silk-satin-dresses were quite a sensation internationally. "Delphos dress" was the term for silk robes which flowed over the contours of the body like liquid silver. The cut was reminiscent of ancient Greek garments: straight and slender with a plain neckline, worn with a pointed tunic on top. The originals can still be marvelled at in the famous Palazzo Fortuny in Venice.

Pleated silk fabrics are of exceptional appeal: depending on the colouring, the surface, and the pleating of the material, an impressive play of light and shadow arises.
Small wrinkles, deep creases, evenly accurate pleats, or sharp pleats contrasting softer ones... this creates a fantastic diversity of artistic expressions.

Pleating of silk fabrics

Silk is thermoplastic, meaning if it is folded into pleats, pressed, tautened, and finally treated with moist heat, the fabric will maintain the pleats quite permanently.
Light to medium-weight fabrics which are woven smoothly are suited best for pleating: pongee silks, twill, sarsenet, and satin. These show the pleats very expressively and maintain them well.
Other qualities can also be changed intriguingly through pleating: silk velvet, Crêpe fabrics, wool and cotton fabrics for example. But the pleats may be softer and less stable, depending on the quality.
The classic pleating scarf is made from a light Pongee (05 to 08) and is folded into fine pleats lengthwise. But you should also try experimenting with diagonally folded pleats which make a short scarf that caressingly drapes drapes around the neck like a collar. Diagonal pleats create a scarf with narrow ends which flow out finely pointed.

This is how the pleats are folded into the silk

The painted or dyed fabric is moistened before pleating. This makes the silk more manageable and removes the static electricity. Now the fabric is folded into the desired pleats and treated with moist heat. This is done in a large pot or in a microwave.
When folding diagonal pleats, the moistened side is laid on a table and folded like an accordion, or evenly laid together in pleats. Hold the narrow end of the folded silk together with a clamp, twist the moistened fabric into a tight rope and tie this end tightly with a warp yarn. Now loosen the clamp and tie this end together as well.
Folding lengthwise pleats is best done with two people: you hold the fabric at the opposing narrow ends and start folding it in zigzags from one edge on to the other. Hold the fabric tautly so the pleats continue evenly from one narrow edge on to the next.
The result will be especially nice if the pleats have about a fingers breadth.
Now twist the folded silk strand which has been tied on both ends, as if you were wringing it out. To provide for permanency of the pleats the tension of the creases is of utmost importance! Therefore you should tie the ends tightly enough to prevent the pleats from loosening.
During the second step the silk has to be twisted into a rope as fast as possible: the more tightly the more expressive and permanent the pattern of pleats will be.

This is how the pleats are stabilised

To make the silk remain permanently pleated moist heat is needed.
In a cooking pot: wrap the twisted silk strand around a "pleating core". For example one could use a large flower pot, a large brick, a piece of heat resistant plastic tube, or something of the kind. Wrap the silk strand around the pleating core with its entire length to maintain the tension on the creases in the silk. Now the strand is tied tightly.

Place the silk in a large pot with water. The strand has to boil for at least 20 minutes for the silk to be permanently pleated.
Other procedures: Steam can also be used for pleating, but the dry heat of an oven will not be sufficient.
The use of a microwave is ideal for pleating single scarves and smaller pieces of light silk. But be careful to insert the silk into the microwave only when it's moist - otherwise it will burn. Also mind that an overheated plate may cause burns in the silk.
Smaller scarves are pleated by heating with 600W for four minutes. If this should not be sufficient, insert the scarf into the microwave for another two minutes after letting it cool off first. These instructions are only guidelines. You should always start with a few trials, since each fabric and each microwave will react differently.
Finish: The fabric should only be unfolded after having dried completely.

The pleating result will be especially impressive if the silk can dry and cool completely as a strand and under tension. When drying the silk will contract a little and thereby intensify the pleating effect in the fabric.
If you should desire softer pleats just pull the silk into shape while it is still steaming a little, and let it cool off.

Maintenance and storage

Pleated silk is best stored as a twisted strand to prevent the creases from loosening when hanging.
If the silk needs to be washed it is best done by hand with a silk detergent. For letting it dry you should first twist the thoroughly rinsed scarf into a strand while it is still moist.

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